Monday, April 5, 2010

When Stretching is Too Easy

Question: In the grand scheme of things, why don't people stretch more?
Claudio T.
-Santa Marco, Venezuela

Answer: I can answer this easily. Because stretching can hurt. Not hurt in a painful way, but hurt in a discomfort way. And many people do not like to be uncomfortable. 90% of gym goers perform stretches that they don't really need. I call them the easy ones like this:
Figure 1.
Rather than performing a variation of the stretch with more bang for your buck, and more long term benefits like this:

Figure 2.

Most will choose the "easier" version.

Most will perform stretches that they can easily perform. The reasoning behind static stretching is to make the muscle more flexible so that it can reach it full range of motion potential. Those that stretch in the "easy zone" are never expanding the ROM of a targeted muscle and therefore, are really not doing anything pertinent to the overall flexibility of the muscle and surrounding joints. To mask this problem, most instructors have their clients perform stretches in a "pain free" or a comforatble zone. They use tools that support limited ROM and compensations.

Trust me, when I speak of pain...I am not recommending that you excessively stretch a muscle to compromise the joint. There are some stretches that may take care of that for you like this one:


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