Body Stretching Exercise
Stretching exercises encourage the lengthening of your muscles and their associated tendons to assist in normalizing your muscle length and tension ratio. Muscles shorten during exercise, from general postural habits, aging and disuse. If you only use a small amount of your muscle length range, your muscle will adapt over time and shorten to that length, under the “use it or lose it” premise, that your body naturally attunes itself to.
By lengthening your muscles via stretching, you encourage flexibility and your ability to have a full array of motion about your joints. It is the warm-up and the use of a dynamic stretching program that prepares you for the sport that appears to have the most beneficial effects.
It is essential to stretch your muscles only when they are warm, as cold muscles are more likely to tear. The stretches that you perform vary depending on whether you are preparing for exercise, recuperating from exercise, or restoring from injury. Here are some general stretching guidelines.
Stretching Exercise Styles:
Static stretching is considered the safest method of stretching. A static stretch should be held for 20 to 30 seconds at a point where you can feel the stretch but do not experience any discomfort. If you feel discomfort, ease back on the stretch. Do not bounce when holding the stretch.
Dynamic or Ballistic Stretching
Ballistic stretching as stretches performed at speed and prescribed by your sports physiotherapist or elite sports coach. They are often used as a part of your warm-up for sport or training.
Dynamic stretches involve muscle movements that move a joint through the full range of movement that will be required in your chosen sport or activity.
For example, if your chosen activity requires sudden bursts of power, such as jumping or sudden acceleration, then specific ballistic stretches under the direction of your physiotherapist or coach may be advised as a part of your warm-up.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF stretching involves a component of the stretch muscle contraction and further stretch. This process is usually repeated several times and uses a trick on the muscle spindle reflex to help elongate your muscles. The technique of PNF stretching was first developed as a muscle therapy but is now used by athletes as a means of enhancing flexibility. PNF stretching is often used by physiotherapists. More information can be sought by seeking their advice in your situation. Stretching can be used as a corrective, preventative and recovery strategy. More specific stretching advice can be sought from your physiotherapist.
For your specific muscle length assessment and prescription of the best stretches for you, please contact us right away.