Muscle stretching is an essential part of injury prevention – especially if you exercise very regularly. Stretching is fairly simple, but there are some basic mistakes that almost everyone seems to make! Make these 3 corrections to make your muscle stretching routine extra effective.
1. STRETCH ONE SIDE AT A TIME
No body is 100% symmetrical, so no 2 muscles – even the same muscle on opposite sides – have exactly equal muscle tone. 1 side with be stronger (and therefore tighter) than the other.
If you stretch both sides at once, you risk over-stretching your weaker side, and under-stretching your tighter side. For best results, stretch one side at a time.
2. STRETCH BOTH SIDES
Every muscle contraction has an equal and opposite contraction – that's how you don't fall over every time you kick a football. Bodies might not be exactly symmetrical, but if one limb is tight, the opposite limb is almost certainly tight also.
When you're stretching, always do the same stretch on both sides of your body to prevent cross-over injuries.
3. AVOID PASSIVE STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE
Passive stretching will temporarily lower muscle strength – that's not a good thing if you're trying to beat a PB without injuring yourself!
Stick to active stretching before exercise, or no stretching before exercise. Not sure of the difference between active & passive stretching? Check out this video:
For more information on stretching, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark