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Monday, November 28, 2011

WHY YOUR STRETCHES MAY BE HURTING YOU!
Yup.  There are actually stretches that don't work!
part 2 of 2

For a long time my staff and I have been teaching and lecturing the masses on more efficient methods of stretching. The problem is once you've done something a certain way you may find it hard to try a new something! In leadership we say 'you don't know you don't know it'. Remember when a stretch was suppose hurt? We were told and some are still being told that if you 'feel'  it then its working. Well the paradoxical question is what if you DON'T feel it? Then it must not be working.  Wrong!

The nerves that supply the muscle and tendon are designed to transmit volley of impulses that occur  within milliseconds. This is happening even as you read this. Those impulse increase in amplitude and speed when you engage in athletic endeavors. When a muscle is tight and the wrong stretch is applied those impulses will increase and can make the muscle even tighter! This is seen quite often in the classic 'butterfly', straight leg for the hamstring, and 'hanging' the heel off a step thinking this is a good way to stretch the calf(a great way to predispose you to Achilles tendinitis!)

So now I am really going to confuse you. There is much debate on static(holding) and dynamic(motion without holding) and which reduces injury better. Well neither reduces injuries better than the other, BUT dynamic is less offensive to the muscle and connective tissue. Also one other key advantage to dynamic stretching is it stimulates the nerve impulses in a functional way i.e. with normal joint ranges and planes of motion which the body is designed for. Basically, there is no need to get the muscle to exceed its normal length. It needs to simply work more efficiently. The best example of this is how hamstring injuries are mistreated. There are many 'limber'  runners with hamstring injuries because it gets treated as a 'tightness' so the thought is 'well it tears because its tight so I will stretch it more so it won't happen again'. But it does happen again. It happens because it is not a tightness issue but a timing nerve impulse issue. So if you can get the muscles to 'fire' at the right time in relationship to when the other muscles around it are firing, you can significantly reduce your chance of injury.

Next month we will release RETURN TO EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE which is a compilation of stretching techniques that are designed to improve mobility, muscle timing, stability and  replace and update your current stretching regiment. Stay tuned when I will provide video demonstrations of these very effective techniques!

'You can't hit a target you can't see, and you cannot see a target you do not have'
Zig Ziglar

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