What’s with stretching?

Woman in Beige Dress Stretching Her Hands

There are a few schools of thought relative to extending. 1 school says”why,” and my college says because it helps alleviate joint pain, back pain, reduce muscle soreness, reduce stress, aid in workout recovery, loosen tight muscles, improve posture, increase performance, improve range of motion in joints, and maybe help your social life. Got me?

You don’t need an hour each day, but you should stretch everyday. That doesn’t mean a full blown hot yoga regimen. It means a couple of brief, effective stretches for; muscles that you know are tight, muscles connected with those you know are tight, your calves, hamstrings and heart. I include the latter because; if your calves are tight, that contracture can cascade up through your hamstrings and into your low back. (A virtual show of hands here, who among you has some back pain?) Your core muscles are always in use, and are inclined to some tightness somewhere. It’s an excellent idea to maintain the core muscles flexible if for no other reason than eliminating some probable causes of back pain.

To better understand how a muscle functions, examine the basic physiology of stretching. (Use the links for further clarification.) By way of example, an three inch muscle can be effectively stretched to 4.5 inches. The stretching of a muscle fiber originates in the sarcomere, the tiniest unit of contractile property in a muscle. As a muscle contracts, down in these sarcomeres, the area of involving the thick and thin myofilaments (miniature protein threads) increases. This is the reason a muscle looks larger when you”flex” it. It’s kind of like a balloon; stretch it, it becomes longer and thinner. Once you’re able to get all these fibers lengthening collectively, you have an effectively stretched muscle. There’s a realignment of those muscle fibers when you stretch them. They are reset in a way, similar to how a chiropractor resets, or realigns your backbone.

Before I discuss the”how to,” I need to mention my two cardinal principles:

1. Relax into and through your own moves. You have to think about allowing a muscle to stretch, not forcing the stretch.

2. Never bounce during stretching. When you bounce during stretching you’re tripping the stretch reflex. Your muscle recognizes the”abnormal” lengthening and tries to protect itself by contracting, nullifying your effort at a stretch.

The first step to stretching a muscle is to find the muscle to be stretched. Easier said than done. I have listed a few sources below for reference so you can get a visual of skeletal muscles and what their responsibilities are in terms of joint motion. A short cut to learning the anatomy is to analyze which way a muscle moves when you’re working it, say, doing a push up. You need to stretch your torso, and during a push up your arms move toward you. Stretching a muscle occurs when you move that relaxed muscle beyond its resting length from the opposite direction it moves when it’s working (bearing weight.) With that in mind you now know this to stretch the torso you move the arms away from it.

Then find the area of zero tension, maximum relaxation of the muscle. The muscle has to be unloaded, meaning, it’s NOT bearing any weight. Very inefficient in that the muscle he thinks he’s stretching is actually bearing some of his own body weight. He may feel a stretch , and might be stretching the muscle marginally, but there are other ways a lot more effective and less likely to cause an injury. One of the reason some folks don’t stretch is because they have gotten hurt during stretching.

Step three is to find the muscle’s resting length. Isometric significance static contraction – no motion. When you get out of bed in the morning and raise both arms into a letter Y and down to a letter T, you are sort of reaching resting length in your chest and biceps. If you really”force” that movement, you are stretching those muscles. But you’re stretching them beyond their resting length. To reach a muscle’s resting length, gently trigger the muscle on its opposite side. For example, if you want to reach resting length on your chest, gently pull your shoulders back.

Let that muscle move. You must relax during this stage and allow the muscle to stretch. A relaxed muscle will lengthen, it is just up to you to fight the urge to force it to elongate. At the point when you feel you’re going to experience pain, slowly back off of the stretch.

You never need to feel pain while stretching. As you become more flexible your”threshold” and your selection of motion will increase. You’ll be able to stretch farther without reaching the point of pain.

As you become more comfortable with these steps you will stretch more efficiently, and achieve more moves in less time.

Keys to successful stretching:

As soon as you allow the muscle to lengthen, the stretch is finished. Release and stretch again.
Your muscles have no concept of time, the a stretch doesn’t have to be held for quite a long time. If you do the procedure properly, a muscle can be efficiently stretched in 2-4 minutes.

You want to feel the stretch over the full length of the muscle, not on the joint. By way of example, when you stretch your hamstrings that you want to feel the stretch in the whole back of your thigh, not in back of your knee. Do not force the stretch, allow the stretch, gradually.