A few weeks ago Karen Simpson ran a session for club members on stretching and flexibility. Everyone who attended, learned a lot from the session, and used it as a chance to examine their flexibility and how it relates to their running performance and impacts on injury.
Karen has kindly provided the worksheet from the session which can be seen below. These are general notes on why and how to stretch.
Another session for club members with Karen has been proposed, details will appear on the ERC website when it is arranged.
If you would like to get in touch with Karen to arrange a sports therapy session her details can be found below:
- Helps to prevent muscle aches, pains and cramping.
- Reduces the possibility of muscular soreness/fatigue over the next day(s), known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
- Decreases the possibility of causing a muscle injury.
- Increases the muscles efficiency/effectiveness of movement (improving your overall flexibility, speed, stamina, and form).
- Increases the possibility of lengthening stride.
- Good for relaxation.
Reasons Not to Stretch?
- When you have a lack of joint stability (e.g. because of a recent sprain or fracture).
- If you have infection or inflammation in or around the structures being stretched.
- During an acute injury.
- If you have any diseases that affect the condition of the tissue targeted to be stretched or taking drugs (like anticoagulants) that alter vascular structure.
- Excessive pain or other negative reaction to stretching.
How to Stretch:
Static stretching is best for increasing static or passive flexibility (without movement). For most, static stretching involves a “holding” position however, “holding” prevents clients making progress because the rigid holding position requires effort and is counter-productive for a relaxation response. Furthermore, often clients “hold” their breath while holding, therefore increasing tension in the muscles. So try to release body tension, undulate the stretch (like a wave) with each slow breath to get maximal tissue elongation.
Stretch Basics for Static Stretching:
You should you stretch before hitting the road? TRUE/FALSE
FALSE: If you feel you must stretch before a run always warm up by having a jog for 5 or 10 minutes before doing so. Only stretch when muscles are warm with blood flowing through them.
You are most receptive to the benefits of stretching immediately after your run? TRUE/FALSE
TRUE: As part of your warm down process stretch gently and slowly. Do not wait until later after you are fatigued and cold.
Should stretching be A) painful or B) uncomfortable?
NEITHER: You should take the muscle to its full range of movement and feel minimal discomfort not pain. If you feel more sore after stretching you have stretched too intensively.
Synchronising your breathing with your stretching movement helps to relax the muscle? TRUE/FALSE
TRUE: The rhythmical action of inhaling and exhaling revs up or calms down your nervous system and heart rate, slowing your breathing down promotes relaxation.
You should hold and control the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds? TRUE/FALSE
FALSE: You should not put an arbitrary time constraint on the stretch. Instead of counting, synchronise breathing with movement. An individuals muscles and tissues have their own biological time clock for responding.
You should bounce when stretching to progress your stretch further? TRUE/FALSE
FALSE: A sudden quick stretch activates a reflex, which causes a sudden contraction or spasm in the muscle, which is counter-productive.
You should adjust stretching to your goals as a runner?
TRUE: Modify your frequency, intensity and duration of stretching to accomplish individual goal for your stretching programme.