Did you know that stretching and flexibility can actually aid in muscle building and weight loss? It’s true. Stretching is just as important to your workout program as cardio and weight training. You actually need flexibility to grow stronger.
As a matter of fact, building muscle mass will help your body burn fat and calories, by increasing your resting metabolic rate. This will lead to more weight loss, and at a quicker pace. Studies show that becoming more flexible can boost strength gains by as much as fifty percent!1
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research examined the strength and flexibility gains after isolated or simultaneous strength and flexibility training after 16 weeks. At the end of this 16-week period, strength had increased significantly in all participants. Their take away? “Strength training may contribute to the development and maintenance of flexibility even without the inclusion of additional stretching, but strength and flexibility can be prescribed together to get optimal improvements in flexibility.”1
Exercisers will need to lift weights three times a week in order to see these results, and in addition, stretching must be included just twice a week to see those amazing gains.
If you are still wondering how flexibility can help you to lose body fat, it’s simple. Flexibility goes hand in hand with calorie burning. It helps to create muscle, resulting in a lean body. When you lift weights you will increase muscle mass and this will raise your metabolism, which of course burns fat even while you are at rest. And this is where flexibility comes into play. Flexibility will increase your ability to build muscle. When you body has more flexible muscles, it help you to lift more and then your muscles will recover faster. This, in turn, make your body’s muscles work much more effectively.
It’s as simple as this: when you stretch the muscle, it grows and becomes longer. When you lift weights, the muscles get bigger. Your muscles can only get so big because they are a set size, lengthwise but when you add flexibility training into your workout, you are giving the muscles room to lengthen. This is what allows them to get bigger when you lift weights. Bigger, longer muscles equal a larger fat burn.
Muscle growth and the subsequent fat and weight loss happens only when you stretch the muscles. Exercisers should always remember to stretch warm muscles, not cold ones. This means that the muscles should be pumped up with blood before you begin to stretch, which will allow them to stretch out longer. This will also keep you from injuring yourself during your workout. Think of the muscle as a rubber band. If you freeze a rubber band and then try to stretch it, it will pop. Stretching a cold muscle might not actually pop it, but it can injure that muscle. Make sure to warm up a bit and then begin your stretching or yoga.
Yoga is also excellent for flexibility. Yoga uses your body weight to strengthen your muscles. This gives you a total body workout. Do yoga or stretching along with cardio and strength training and you will see the weight loss.
1) Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2011 – Volume 25 – Issue 5 – pp 1333-1338
Melissa is an experienced freelance writer and fitness professional from Tampa, Florida. She has experience working as a personal trainer, nutrition specialist and group fitness instructor. She wrote this article on behalf of Xplosiv Supplements.