Do you really need to lengthen?

When we think of mobility work we will normally think about stretching. You may do it as part of your post training routine, but have you ever thought about the true purpose of what you are doing?

 

Stretching in it’s purest form is used to lengthen muscles. 

 

Which is great if that’s what you are after, but do you really want or need to lengthen your muscles. 

 

During training tiny micro tears happen (it’s totally normal so nothing to be scared of) and then knit back together by formation of scar tissue with the aim of becoming stronger next time. However of course this scar tissue can make the muscle slightly shorter or stiffer over time.

 

Post training stretching is done to relax muscles and to maintain their current length. So we’re kind of ironing out that post training scar tissue and making it nice and smooth.

 

How far you take your stretching depends on the flexibility requirements of your sport. Of course a gymnast or a dancer may need to increase their muscle length to participate in their sport, however a cyclist or a runner does not need extreme levels of flexibility. The only exception maybe if a muscle is already shortened and causing an injury/pain problem.

 

So, what to do in your post training stretch? 

 

Well that is personal to you as to what needs relaxing, releasing etc. And how you go about it also depends on what you feel has the most benefit for you. 

 

Regular static stretching is fine, you could maybe use a strap or a band to help you relax in certain positions.

 

You could use a roller or some physio balls.

 

Or you could do some Yoga specific to the needs of your sport.

 

Check out the Facebook page for some ideas on how you can implement this into your routine.

 

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