Samira Mustafayeva, master of sports in rhythmic gymnastics, world championship medalist, owner of the SM Stretching network of stretching studios, talks about why stretching has no age restrictions and how to breathe correctly during training.
1. Anyone can try
There are no age restrictions for stretching: you can practice at any age, regardless of the level of training. Of course, the younger the person, the more elastic his muscles and the more active the stretching process takes place. Accordingly, the desired result can be achieved faster.
The motto of the network of studios "SM Stretching" and my personal one: "Everything is stretchable!" People are trying to find a secret way to gain flexibility as a gymnast with 15 years of experience, but it doesn't exist! This result can only be achieved through hard work. Our clients' results are the best proof of this.
2. Train regularly if you want to achieve results
A simple rule for all those who want to achieve a specific result not only in muscle stretching is to build a clear training system and follow it. After a long rest, the muscles have to "remember" the whole process and perform exercises practically from scratch. Therefore, regularity is an important rule of stretching.
3. Trainings twice a week - the optimal schedule for beginners
If you are just starting to exercise, then it is quite enough to attend workouts twice a week so that the muscles can recover. So training will be much more effective and safer for your body. For the same reason, it is best not to do any stretching exercises at home between workouts. After some time, you can add another day.
4. Do not rush to sit on the twine
The time it takes to sit on the twine is calculated individually. "How fast will I do the splits?" - this is the most frequent request from those who visit the network of studios "SM Stretching". There are many more positives to stretching though! Plus, you will notice changes in yourself after just a few workouts.
I never try to gloss over reality. It is not always possible to put any person on a twine in five sessions, and this is absolutely normal. We are all very different, and the rate of progress in training varies greatly. The process of stretching the muscles of the legs is slow, smooth, and in trying to speed it up, girls make a mistake and endanger their health. Don't overdo it with enthusiasm and be patient!
5. The pain should be pleasant, not cutting
Always listen to yourself and your body. If during training you feel severe discomfort, then it is better to take a short break and figure out what caused this. If you continue to feel pain for a long time after exercising, see your doctor immediately. I talked about contraindications to training here.
6. Choose only proven online courses for workouts at home
When it is not possible to visit the studio, people try to find another way out of the situation. The alternative in this case is online lessons. It would seem that you buy a rug, an expander, pillows and "bricks", put on a cool sports uniform, turn on the video - that's all! But this requires no less attention than choosing a studio.
Often people watch incomprehensible videos on YouTube, so they don't get the desired result, and even hurt themselves. Sometimes a person cannot even repeat this or that movement. And all this turns into a pointless waste of time.
After receiving many requests from clients and people supporting our “Everything is extensible” movement from different cities of Russia, we launched online courses. Now anyone, anywhere in the world, has the opportunity to train with me. The program is worked out to the smallest detail, extremely understandable and easy to learn - and this is the most important thing. If you have any questions, you can just write to your curator in the chat. He will prompt, explain and motivate. Because the result of one particular person is our goal as well.
7. Use sports equipment for training
If you decide to practice at home, you will need for training: two yoga blocks ("bricks"), two pillows and a medium-tension tubular expander. All of this can be purchased in online or offline Decathlon or Sportmaster stores. If you do not have this opportunity, then yoga blocks can be replaced with books, pillows with thick towels, and a tubular expander with a regular belt.
8. Warm Up Your Muscles Before Exercise
Before you start stretching, you need to warm up your muscles. Warming up, starting with joint exercises and ending with pumping the whole body, takes about 15 minutes. A good aerobic activity prepares the muscles for subsequent exercise, makes them softer and more elastic, and reduces pain. It is not recommended to stretch not on heated muscles, as this often leads to serious injuries.
9. Breathe Correctly During Training
One of the important rules of stretching is to breathe correctly: all stretching exercises should be done on exhalation, relax and feel pain (but pleasant!).
10. Be more attentive to yourself
If you combine stretching with exercises in the gym, then you will get the perfect figure. However, when you visit the gym, it is much more difficult to stretch because the muscles are clogged. But this is not a ban. It is very important to stretch every time you work out. To achieve results, it is advisable to adhere to such a schedule: strength training twice a week, stretching three times.
Many people ask if it is possible to lose weight by doing stretching. The answer is yes! But, as is the case with any other sport, you need to combine these activities with proper nutrition. It is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and wellness. It is also worthwhile to understand that it is better not to build big illusions: most likely, you will not be able to lose weight much, because stretching is aimed precisely at tightening the muscles, developing their flexibility. I talked about skin care before and after workouts here.