If you are one of those people who say I am just not flexible, I am too old and there is no point in stretching it does no good, I am doomed to get hamstring injuries. You are really the guys I am writing this for.
While it is true that some people are naturally more flexible than others (Men have 15% on average more body tension than women) this is not the end of the story. We can all become more flexible at any age.
I have written this blog to talk through the types of stretching and recovery methods to gain the flexibility and full range of motion needed in an active body. Good range of motion is needed for the suspension systems of the body to function properly and prevent joint problems and painful spasms or knots.
Please be mindful of over stretching if you injure yourself you are actually making things more difficult you will have to stop and may heal with shorter muscles . When stretching as an adult you have to factor in enough healing time to be successful but do not leave things too long or you will heal stiffer. Consistency is the key.
Static stretching is where you get into the most extended position you can anf hold it. If you breath through the stretch the muscle slowly releases you will get the great results.
Here at Tekne we use yoga asanas (poses) mixed with some gymnastics partner stretching to get the optimum result .
It is said that strong stretching can affect strength performance in the short term.
I think this may have some validity but my thinking is that training sessions should be clearly categorised. One lesson more strength based and another more flexibility based, another more skills or alignment work.
Static stretching needs to be done when the body is very warm and is best tackled in the correct sequence in order to release some parts of the anatomy to stretch the correct muscles. These sequences can act almost like magic, at our retreats you will learn by stretching and unlocking one part of the body you will be able to be more flexible in another.
Poor technique can course posture and joint problems. It also gives low strength performance, this is why we are so strict on technique here at Tekne. If you are training with misalignment regularly it won’t be long before your body lets you know.
Passive or Assisted stretching
This is where you extend beyond what your body can do on its own and you are applying force to get there. This is a useful tool but you really need to know what you are doing pushing your body in the wrong axis may result in injury. If you are working with a partner you must communicate to where you are feeling your maximum stretch is. On finishing your passive stretch always release very slowly allowing the muscle to slowly return to a relaxed state.
PNF (proprioceptive muscular facilitation)
This seen as the most effective form of training.
Once you have got as far into splits (or extension) as you can you contract the muscles. With splits imagine you are cutting into the floor with your legs as a pair of scissors, hold for ten seconds and release. Once you release you should find you are deeper into splits hold this phase for 30 sec. Repeat this process 3 times and you will find you are at you max. This process can be applied in all the static stretching poses.
This is when you are using a swing or accelerated move to expand the range of motion. Swinging the leg to the side front or back for example. Ballistics stretching is more advanced and must be carried out strictly as if you swing in the wrong axis you may cause ligament damage.
This is where you use abduction (limbs pulled away from the body) or holding a shape like standing splits or straddle leaver (Elevated L sit)
Once you have the flexibility then you need the control to use it. At Tekne Retreats Ibiza we have a lesson called intelligent movement using rolls and gymnastics progressions to finely hone motor skills. This gives you great confidence. These fun activities really are great fun but give you so much physical confidence.
- Cold press: take a towel dip it in iced water and wrap it round the area you have been stretching.
- Cold bath: Put several bags of ice into a bath dip for 5 minutes
- BALLS and Rollers
Make a plan.
“Rome was not build in a day”!
Add a stretching routine to your work out schedule. The secret to long lasting flexibility is consistent stretching. Follow a sequence that is relevant to the muscles you are going to work.
Keep hydrated stay away from coffee and high salt foods. If you have joint pain try glucosamine phosphate. Do not be tempted to use pain killers to tear the muscle you need to listen to your muscles. Why not contact Des at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about any problems or goals you might have.
Remember little and often and don’t over stretch and make sure you are warmed up.