28 Apr Why Your Stretching Could Be Wrong
Stretching is more and more taken into consideration by sports enthusiasts but still a highly underestimated routine. The right stretching routine can get more out of your muscles, but the wrong stretching can literally take you down.
As runners, flexible muscles (and joints) will withstand a wider ROM (range of motion), allowing you to push the limits, and get more out of your workout. On the other side, a tight muscle is a ticket for a quick ride to injuries.
“If you stretch correctly and regularly, you will find that every movement you make becomes easier.”
Are you including stretching as part of your routine? If so, are you doing it the right way..?
Passive static stretching, mostly done runners right before a run before any warm up, is not the way to do it, in other words, this is the wrong way of stretching.
Holding that leg up to 45-60 seconds before warming up can actually be damaging to your muscle tissue and tendons.
Studies have found restrictive blood supply and lactic acid build up as a consequence of passive static stretching.
Other studies such as the Journal Of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that active stretching provides performance enhancement while static stretching might hinder workout performance and nervous system activation.
On this context, before any workout it is highly recommended to engage in active stretching. As mentioned before, this type of stretching is proven to actually improve your performance by better priming your muscles for the action.
How active stretching should be done:
- Make sure to slightly warm up before proceeding to stretch. You can do 2-3 sets x 15 reps each of squats. This will quickly activate your muscles and blood flow. You can also do a quick jog for about 4-5 minutes and then do a set or two of squats (15 reps each)
- Once your muscles are primed and feeling the warm up you can start your stretching routine
- Begin progressively, meaning don’t do full stretching from the beginning but rather engage the muscle progressively
- You can do around 10 sets of stretching on the muscle with a progressive mechanic, meaning, start at around 15% of intensity in your first stretch and progress up to 75% of intensity with the last stretch
- DO NOT exceed 8-10 seconds in stretching position for each stretch you do
Stretching your muscles in static mode could be counter productive, and can end up damaging your tissue instead of helping your flexibility. Before any workout make sure your muscles and blood flow have been activated. Make progressive stretching and do not exceed more than 8-10 seconds for each stretch you make.