How You Can Injure Yourself from Stretching the Wrong Way

A runner sitting a rubbing a sore calf muscle

Stretching can make you feel good. It relaxes tight and stiff muscles, and it can get rid of aches from tired muscles. However, it’s easier than you might think to hurt yourself stretching.

Not Warming Up

Get out of bed in the morning and start stretching, and you have a recipe for disaster. Your muscles are cold and stiff. Forcing them to move past their normal range of motion can cause your muscles to strain or tear. Warm up your muscles before trying to stretch.

Being Too Warmed Up

The other end of the spectrum is having your muscles too warm. You can easily extend your muscles beyond where they should go. The result? A torn or pulled muscle. It also happens when you are too forceful with your stretching.

Stretching Too Long

Another way you can injure yourself by stretching is when you hold the stretch for too long. You stretch out the muscle group in a leg, back or arm. You go as far as you can, and it feels good. You continue to hold even when it stops feeling quite so good and may even start to be painful. You hold it for 60 seconds or longer before you let go. You may have irritated the muscle, surrounding tissue or ligaments and joints in the area.

Even though stretching seems quite simple and is good for you, it’s possible to do it wrong and get hurt. To avoid this problem, follow the above guidelines and make sure you know how to perform a stretch correctly. Have a therapist or personal trainer show you how to do the stretch and what to watch for so you don’t injure yourself.