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Why Stretch?

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More about Stretching
Stretching Exercises


Stretching?

There are many arguments floating around at present concerning whether we should pre stretch post stretch or not stretch at all.

To start with let’s explain what the principle behind stretching is:

It is well known that when you do stretch it is more effective when you are warmed up (10-15 mins easy level) This will increase blood flow and allow the muscle to become more pliable, increases synovial fluid to the joints increases oxygen exchange within the muscle.

Pre exercise

The theory of stretching pre exercise is to prepare them for the work ahead, and allow them to work at their optimum length so as to develop the most power as they work. The argument is that pre stretches affect the dynamics of the muscle and affect the contraction speed. Our response is that you ensure that you are fully warmed up and have mobilised all the joints and muscle groups about to be used thoroughly before the session takes place.

The most effective way to do this is to do a series of dynamic stretches to put all your muscles and joints through the range of motion that they are going to do in the session.

Post exercise

Stretching post exercise while still warm will bring them back to their optimum length, (as you work the muscle during exercise they are being repeatedly contracted and they tend to stay short after the workout unless you stretch them again.) Post exercise stretching can be incorporated into the cool down. These are imperative to ensure that you maintain muscle length and reduce the chance of increased pressure on either the insertion or origin of the muscle in future training.

How to Stretch Correctly
(Post Exercise)



It doesn’t have to hurt

Stretching has to be comfortable to have any effect; if it hurts you will tense up and contract the muscle group that you are trying to stretch. For a post stretch to be effective take the stretch slowly to the point or “barrier” where you start to feel some resistance, relax and hold and after 10-30 secs try to increase the stretch very slightly while staying relaxed. This is the point where you can start to improve your “range of motion”

Conclusion

Our views are that warming up through dynamic stretches / mobilisations are key to pre exercise whether it is sprinting (hamstring and quadriceps) or lifting weights (shoulder rotation and trunk flexion etc.) These should be held for up to 5 secs max (ideally a continual movement) before moving on to the next muscle group.

In the cool down and post stretch phase, the length of time is paramount (most people do not hold the stretch for a long enough period of time) ideally 30-60 secs lower body and trunk 15-30 secs upper body.

We are firm believers in quality not quantity at My Kit Bag and if time is short post exercise (as it always is?!!) concentrate on maybe only a few of the stretches to ensure they are completed correctly and with full attention. Micro tears and scar tissue can build up over a period of time and will not be noticed immediately but in months to come and you wonder why yours calves have become tight and have lost some of their mobility and the Achilles is tender (at this point if you could go back in time and introduce a minute of good stretches to prevent this occurring you would.)

Post Exercise Stretching helps prevent future injuries.

   
 
   
 
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