The development of joint flexibility helps any athlete stay in good shape and avoid injuries. Learn how to raise your achievements with an exhaustive guide to stretching!
Author: John Paul Catanzaro
As in the case of road traffic, stretching exercises are subject to their own set of rules. Strictly adhere to these rules, and you will reach your destination safely, confidently and in great shape. Neglect them, and you will only have to blame yourself. Before you 17 the most important rules concerning, including what should be avoided when it comes to stretching.
Perform static stretching exercises to maintain and increase flexibility, but do this after strength training, and not in front of it. Just a couple of static exercises at the end of the training session will relieve muscle soreness, and the next day you do not have to move with the gracefulness of the Tin Woodman.
Stretch the overextended muscles during strength training of your beloved / strong body part. For example, if your pectoral muscles are in perfect order, and the calf muscles are tense – the usual thing is to stretch the gastrocnemius muscles between the approaches to the bench press. To truly increase flexibility through stretching, you must perform it often. This is the only way to increase the effectiveness of stretching without turning it into an unpleasant duty.
Use traction to increase the amplitude of motion and reduce the risk of compression or infringement of the joints. In the gym for these purposes, you can use an expander fixed to a stationary object, for example, on a crossbar or power frame. Hold the expander in your hand during stretch exercises for the upper body, or attach it to the foot or ankle for numerous stretch options for the lower body.
Pay attention to stretching, if you have problems with posture or the position of certain parts of the body. Over time, muscles shorten, and this helps fix the wrong position. To the similar problems is a constantly repeated motor activity with a limited amplitude of motion (without the maximum possible amplitude). For example:
- Wearing shoes with high heels leads to a shortening of the gastrocnemius muscles, because the muscles are constantly in a state of almost complete reduction.
Stretch the muscles and ligaments of the spine between approaches to compression exercises, such as sit-ups or bench presses. It happens that people lose 20-40 mm growth after weight training! Vis on the crossbar will help to solve the problem with decompression of the spine.
Study your body for overstrained muscles, and then work on the problem area with a stretch. Always stretch the tension muscles in the first place, because they can limit your ability to perform exercises with the maximum amplitude of motion. (Note: this is the case when dynamic stretching is performed before the main workout.) During warm-up, use standard movements to search for stressed areas. When you find them, use the appropriate stretching techniques to fix the problem.
Prefer preference stretching with a closed kinetic chain, and not open. Most people stretch the muscles of the back of the thigh, throwing their feet on the bench, and leaning in the direction of the toes. This is an example of an open-chain stretch. Studies have shown that stretching with a closed kinetic chain leads to an increase in flexibility at 5 degrees. Any type of stretch that is accompanied by pressure on the soles or palms (this closes the chain) more activates the powerful stretch reflex. Tilting to the feet in standing position and stretching sitting is, in fact, completely different processes for your nervous system.
Perform smooth movements to restore. For example, popular exercises "stretching cat" and "camel", which are performed on the hands and knees, are useful for neural structures of the spine (allowing the nerves to move, they create free space for them). If you suffer from spinal pain, 5-6 cycles such a stretch before training will give a positive result.
Stretch the surrounding muscle groups to increase the amplitude of motion. Take for example the iliac-tibial tract (PBT) – a dense fibrous formation from the connective tissue that passes over the outer surface of the thigh and is very poorly stretchable. To successfully solve the problem, you need to work on the muscles that are on either side of the PBT, in particular, the quadriceps and the muscles of the posterior surface. Exercises with a foam roller will be very handy.
Do not remain in the position of strong stretching for longer than 15 seconds due to the risk of developing muscle hypoxia. The lack of oxygen in the muscles develops against a background of considerable effort or tension. This can stimulate the development of connective tissue, which in turn reduces strength and flexibility. It is better to use different angles of impact for short stretches in static stretching than to hold one corner for a long time. In general, take as a rule: the more intense the stretching, the shorter the exposure time.
Do not ignore the strength training exercises that contribute to passive stretching. These movements lead to the development of flexibility and help you train with the maximum amplitude. Here is a list of the best options for body parts:
You can not stretch when you wake up, especially if you have problems with your back. Let it be at least one hour after awakening. While you are sleeping, your spine becomes filled with fluid, and the risk of injury increases if you stretch out immediately after sleep.
You can not contract the muscle immediately after the stretching exercise, because that you negate all your efforts. For example, you grab the bar in the power frame with one hand, bending your knees, sagging down as far as possible and achieving excellent stretching of the broadest muscles. But if you pull yourself up by the muscles that you just stretched, the process loses its meaning. Use your legs to get out of the stretch position.
You can not use the static stretching of the muscles that you are going to train. This strategy leads to muscle relaxation, and experiments show that this reduces strength and power. In addition, static stretching before physical exertion increases the risk of injuries, and does not warn them. Although exceptions to stiff muscles are possible, in most cases you should perform a static stretch after the motor activity or exercise.
Do not hold your breath, as this increases muscle tension. Instead, you should relax by extending the phase of exhalation, rather than inhaling. Keep in mind that increasing the respiratory rate (hyperventilation) has an exciting effect. This can help before a heavy approach to deadlift, but not during stretching!
You can not believe the myth that strength training deprives you of flexibility! John Grimek, weightlifter and world champion in bodybuilding in the 30 and 40-ies of the last century, performed a back flip and sat on the twine during his pose program. Tom Platz, the world bodybuilding champion in the 1970, 1980, also demonstrated the wonders of flexibility, despite the fact that he had perhaps the most powerful legs in the world of bodybuilding. Platz performed full deep squats and was known for being able not only to touch his toes, but also to kiss his own knees! That's how supple his muscles were, so do not believe the rumors!
Strength training increases flexibility if you proportionally develop agonists and antagonists and train with the maximum amplitude of motion. In fact, full-amplitude exercises increase both passive and active mobility. At least the average flexibility is enjoyed by such athletes as javelin throwers, weightlifters, gymnasts and wrestlers, which disproves the theory of overdeveloped musculature.
Moreover, weightlifters can often crouch deeper than other athletes, destroying the myth that strength training and huge muscles reduce flexibility! Many studies confirm the correctness of these words.
You can not stretch if you are already too mobile! This is really contraindicated. If you want to relax, take a warm bath or listen to classical music. There is an inverse relationship between flexibility and stability. It's one thing to be numb, but the other extreme can lead to looseness of the joints, and this is not good. Each joint needs an optimal – not the maximum – static and dynamic flexibility.
For everything you can find time and place, and stretching is not an exception. If you stick to these fundamental rules, you will get the maximum effect from each stretching exercise!