When should I stretch ?
In the first 24-72 hours of injury the best treatment is R.I.C.E.R. (rest, ice, compression, elevation, and referral). At this stage, stretching is not advised. It’s best to rest the injured area and apply ice for 10 minutes of every hour until the swelling goes down.
Head to the emergency department if you think you may have a bone fracture or to your health physician for further investigation.
After the initial 72 hours, with clearance from your health physician, you can start some rehabilitation techniques over the next 10-24 days.
Over the period of 2 to 5 weeks you should aim to regain your flexibility, strength, power, muscular endurance, balance and co-ordination.
Long term, once you have recovered from your injury, it’s time to regain fitness, strengthen the injured area and improve flexibility.
When we talk about injury, this doesn’t always mean a serious injury. It could be anything from also waking up with a stiff neck or straining a muscle while picking something up to tearing a muscle during sport or exercise.
What types of stretches are there?
Static stretching is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. It is composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position (before the point of discomfort) and hold that position for 30 seconds.
Passive stretching is a form of static stretching in which an external force exerts upon the limb to move it into the new position. This is in contrast to active stretching. Passive stretching resistance is normally achieved through the force of gravity on the limb or on the body weighing down on it.
Active stretching eliminates force and its adverse effects from stretching procedures. Active stretching stimulates and prepares muscles for use during exercise. … Agonist refers to actively contracting muscle or muscles while their opposing muscles are termed antagonists.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a more advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching is a very effective for rehabilitation.
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static-passive stretching ability.
When should i use these stretches?
Static and passive stretching should be used in the early days after injuring.
PNF stretching can be used in the later weeks as the muscles are beginning to regain their strength. This type of stretch is often performed with a physical therapist.
Dynamic and active stretches should only be used when the muscles are healed and are strengthening. They should never be forced and always a controlled action.
What techniques do i use to stretch?
- Focus on the muscles that are sore;
- Ease into the stretch, do not over stretch or force the muscle into position or into pain;
- Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds;
- Breathe! Oxygen helps the muscle release;
- Stretch both sides. The other side is likely to be carrying the work of the sore muscle.
In the coming weeks I will be adding some fact sheets on stretching routines for each of the major muscles groups, such as the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings, lower back, neck and shoulders, rotator cuff, and forearms.