Stretching – Technique Tuesday
This weeks post is a little bit different. Rather then teaching a specific drill to gain a specific skill, we are instead going to talk about stretching. It is important to note that the opinions here do not replace the medical advice of a doctor and should be followed with caution.
Static vs Dynamic Stretching
Over the years, the opinion on what type of stretching is best for performance has changed. We used to spend time at the start of each practice going through a static stretching routine where we would hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds before moving to the next body part. Now, we do very little static stretching during practice and instead spend time at the start of each practice going through a number of dynamic, full body movements to warm-up the muscles and take our joints through the full range of motion. Research, as well as our observation has shown that this leads to less injury and a much better way to get our athletes ready to perform.
We encourage our athletes to save the static stretching for after practices or on days when they are not participating in a specific practice.
Stretching Sore Muscles
Despite the common thought that you should ‘stretch’ sore muscles, the opposite is a much better idea. When our muscles are sore, they are in a damaged state and need time to recover. By stretching, we are actually damaging the muscles further and not allowing them time to heal. Instead, doing a general full body warm-up will often take away some of the soreness and get an athlete ready to perform.
- In order to increase ‘flexibility’ and strength, you would the contract-relax method. In order to do this, you are going to stretch as far as you can without pain. Holding that position, you are going to contact your muscles in the opposite direction of the stretch for 10 seconds making sure to not let any movement occur (isometric contraction) and then relax. This will help develop a strong stable joint rather then a loose floppy one. you can repeat this cycle numerous times.
- After your practices, lessons, or workouts is the best time to work on flexibility.
- Be careful stretching sore muscles. Instead, do some more general movement to warm-up your muscles.
- Use dynamic stretches during your warm-ups instead of static stretches.
Check out this great article that covers these topics in more depth!
Hopefully this information is valuable to you! As always, if you want more information on how you can work on your flexibility, check out our class schedule today by clicking here!