Why You Stretch and Don’t Gain Flexibility
People tell us all the time that they stretch regularly, often every day, and wonder why they never see improvement in their flexibility. Many try to address this by going for an assisted stretch, but still nothing. No results. No gains.
To understand this is to answer one important question: Would you expect to build muscle if you sat still?
No. Of course not. If you sit still in a position, nothing will happen in the realm of building muscle. In fact, you can expect the opposite. As obvious as this is - that in order to strengthen and tone our bodies, we must move our muscles - this concept is lost when it comes to flexibility training. It's kind of crazy actually. You can't expect to become more flexible by simply assuming a position and holding it anymore than you could expect to get stronger by doing the same thing.
So why not apply what we know about strength training to flexibility training? After all, to build strength in a muscle we know the muscles must work. The same holds true when you stretch them. They must move. They must work. Think of it this way: when you strengthen, you contract/shorten the muscle. It follows then that for optimal conditioning and performance you need to balance that out by extending/lengthening your muscles. It’s a vital yin-yang relationship that is chronically out of sync.
So, if you find yourself striking a pose to stretch and holding it, don’t. Pick a spot where it feels tight and try to move. For example, if it’s your hamstrings or calves, try straightening your knees. If it’s your quad or hip flexor, try pulling in your belly muscles. Just remember, something has to move. If it’s moving, it’s working!
You may also enjoy reading, Our Assessment Guided Workouts.
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