Is stretching going to help me tone-up?

Yes, stretching can help you tone-up assuming you follow your stretches with strengthening exercises. When a muscle is stretched (and held for 30 seconds) two basic things happen in that muscle. One is the muscle starts to relax and the second is the muscle increases in length (elongates). This will result in greater joint range of motion and improve movement quality. If you're able to effectively move in greater ranges of motion and improve movement quality, your exercise routine will become more efficient and effective. As an added benefit, stretching tight muscles will help "wake" other muscles on the opposite side of the joint. For example stetching tight hip flexors (muscles on the front of your hip) will actually wake up your glutes (the nervous system can send stronger signals to your butt muscles). So if you're the type of person who sits for extended periods of time, stretching your hip flexors prior to peforming strengthening exercises for your glutes (such as a ball bridge) will give you more bang for your buck. This can translate to a firmer rear-end!

Joel Merritt
In and of itself, stretching will not necessarily help you tone up.  However, stretching along with resistance training will help you tone up more than resistance training alone.  Stretching helps to improve the muscle range of motion so that you can not only do more complete work through the entire muscle, but also greatly decrease the risk of injury to yourself. Injury is the fastest way to sabotage your results, so stretching is an essential part of any toning goal.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.