stretching refers to how far a muscle can be passively stretched
around a joint, e.g. furthest distance you can move when trying
to touch your toes.
type of stretching routine serves to lengthen the resting muscle
lengths and so restore ideal posture to the body. This greatly reduces
the chance of injury and contributes greatly in rehabilitation and
stretching routine should be performed 3/ 4 times a week or more
if you are very stiff at present. There are three main types of
static stretching techniques aimed at increasing the muscle length.
These work by either mechanically lengthening the muscle or by getting
the central nervous system to allow increases in muscle length.
muscle to stretch is a difficult question. In general stretching
all muscles can be beneficial but the focus must be to find the
tight ones and relax them. This is because it is the tight muscles
that will cause injury. Tightness is a relative issue rather than
absolute, for example, being able to touch your toes cannot be said
to be a good or bad sign of flexibility unless it is compared to
the flexibility of the opposing muscle groups. Differences from
side to side of the body are also significant factors in injury,
for example, having the left hamstring tighter than the right.
find out which muscles are tight complete some stretch tests. Then
focus on the muscles that are tight on your body. Frequently re-test
for changes in flexibility and focus for your stretching campaign.
stretching should be done after an exercise session or later in
the day. E.g. before bed time. Do not do static stretching if you
have not done your active stretching routine at some point during
that day as your body is not loosened enough to make any progress.
Pain inhibits stretching, do not ever feel pain when stretching,
you have gone too far if you do.
• Do not try and push the stretches, e.g. I have seen people
try to break their backs in an attempt to touch their toes. Just
be patient and use the techniques described.
• Do not be too concerned with how long to hold each stretch,
gauge it by how the muscle releases tension. Remember also something
is better than nothing
three types of stretching routine are called basic hold, hold relax,
Take the stretch to the point of tightness and hold for between
20 – 30 seconds.
Take to the comfortable point of tightness and hold.
• Continue holding until the muscles relax (20 – 60
• Now take a deep breath in and out and move the stretch onto
the next point of tightness.
• Repeat as necessary.
Take to the comfortable point of tightness.
• Now contract the muscle being stretched as hard as possible
for 5 – 10 seconds.
• Relax, wait 3 seconds and take to the next comfortable point
• Repeat by contracting the muscle once again for 5 -10 seconds.
• Do up to 5 contractions then change the stretch before repeating
need to discove which muscles are tight and in need of stretching.
The easiest way to do this is by using some simple stretch tests.
Alternatively stretch the whole body and see which muscles feel
choose any stretch that targets your tight muscles. There are hundreds
of different stretches but as long as your tight muscle is being
stretched without hurting anywhere else on the body then do not
worry about the merits of two similar exercises.
Perform 3 or 4 times per week after a workout or while at home.
• Do not force any stretch, just let the body take you to
a comfortable point of tightness.
• Use the hold relax or hold contract on muscles deemed particularly
• Be particularly vigilant about over stretching the muscles
during a hold contract.
• Do not allow a partner to push/stretch your muscles, they
do not know how tight your muscles are or how hard to push!
stretching is one component of fitness along with active
flexibility in the four areas
of exercise. These are covered along with nutrition and the
mental elements of healthy living and weight loss on my