5 major stretching mistakes and how to fix them

These common stretching mistakes could be getting in the way of your fitness goals or even leave you with an injury.

So limber up ladies, it’s so worth it.

1. You forget to warm-up
Even gym bunnies lump stretching and warming up as one and the same. They’re not. Before you bend and flex, you should raise your body temperature with blood-pumping moves, or your muscles will be more likely to tear. A few minutes of jumping jacks or a slow jog will get you ready to stretch.

2. You rush it
You’re running late for your spinning class, or you only have 20 minutes before you have to get back to work. It’s no excuse to speed through your stretching. You want to hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and hit at least five key areas: your quads, lower back, hamstrings, shoulders, and calves.

3. You try to push through pain
The phrase “no pain, no gain” is stuck in your head, and that’s not good for your body. Stretching is supposed to trigger a gentle pull or pressure, but if it hurts, that’s not normal, and you should stop.

4. You skip it post-workout
After working up a sweat, you want to do a few minutes of static bending and limbering to reduce post-gym muscle soreness. It helps your body recover and restores your range of motion, so you don’t feel stiff like a robot for the rest of the day.

5. You only stretch on gym days
You’ll be able to bend more overall and boost your workouts if you get in the habit of limbering up daily.