Why it is important to Diversify Stretching Routines
There is a need to educate fitness participants on the importance of diversifying stretching routines.
We always emphasize on cross-training, cardiovascular and resistance conditioning but flexibility is an afterthought on many training schedules. While on high impact classes, rigorous weight training or participating in schedules that sometimes exceed 12 hours per week, a flexibility routine becomes paramount in your schedules.
Many facilities provide some kind of flexibility-oriented programs but most options are limited. Yoga is becoming popular in Kenya and participants are enjoying various degrees of flexibility while practicing it. However, yoga improves (ROM) range of motion and some aspects of flexibility, variety in this aspect of fitness would lead to greater gains.
Today’s workouts are dominated by high-intensity and physically challenging movements. The rise of this programs has led to more injuries. I would recommend more effective regimen that includes stretching to help minimize damages from overuse. On the other end of spectrum, sedentary people may be dealing with muscle dysfunction and atrophy (Reabsorption and breakdown of tissue) along with limited range of motion in some areas of the body. A varied stretching routine may help with their difficulties because regardless of fitness level, flexibility is very vital.
Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascial restriction contributes greatly to mobility limitation, so a comprehensive program that includes a variety of stretching techniques should be part of any fitness regimen.
There are many different stretching options to chose from, and the right program depends on genetic makeup, personal preferences, injury history, age, gender, body weight, body type and activity level.
You should note that not all techniques are right for everyone, and some stretches are contraindicated for people with specific injuries; however mixing and matching leads to the best results.
Her are some of the most popular choices.
- Ballistic stretching uses a fast bounce to push the body beyond its normal ROM. This might be beneficial to certain athletes; it can also increase the risk of injury for average fitness enthusiasts.
- Dynamic stretching employs active movements through full ROM to stretch and prepare muscle and joint for activity, it increases blood and oxygen to soft tissues.
- Active isolated stretching involves extending a muscle, holding in that position for 2 seconds and return to start position.
- Passive stretching using a stretching devise or assistance to relax through the stretch while continuing to maintain pressure as the muscle lengthens.
- Reciprocal inhibition involves stretching a muscle and then actively contracting the opposing muscle group. In this you relax the muscle you are trying to stretch and rely on the opposing muscle to initiate stretch.
- Static stretching requires holding a stretch in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, somewhere 15 to 90 seconds.
- Isometric static stretching involves no movement. The technique is based on tensing the muscles that are being stretched.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is more of advanced flexibility that consists of a passive stretch then a muscular force or contraction, and finally a second deeper passive release.