Welcome to part two of my stretching blog. To bring you up to speed on what we touched on with last blog, I am not a big believer in static stretching, I left the last blog with the following conclusion:
“At this point, the research that I have covered suggests that static stretching is a waste of time when it comes to reduction of injury. This concerns me as static stretching is the most common form of stretching that is performed by general publich of gym-goers and exercise enthusiast’s. Stay tuned for part 2 of the stretching series to learn more about they types of stretching that can be advantageous.”
If you would like a refresh on what I touched on last blog and definitions on the types of stretching visit this link.
So what are the most effective methods of stretching?
Rather than bore you with the intracacies of research, I am going to provide a link which has been very helpful in my research persuit and if you are interested in forming your own opinion, I would encourage you to visit. “What Does Sports Science Research Have to Say About Warming Up?” is a mass collaboration of journal articles that illustrate both positives and negatives of stretching, warming up, activation drills myofascial release and much more. I will remind you that while no journal article is perfect, when examined properly we can take a lot from good, independent research journals.
In summing up the research, it is clear that overall there is a slight lean towards myofascial release or trigger pointing, warming up, prehab or activation drills, and dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretching as the best way to increase functional range of motion.
As I said in the first part of this blog, I am not a fence sitter and my stance on which side of the fence I stand is clear and outlined below…
In my opinion, the best way to increase functional range of motion is through a variety of methods where no one method is more dominant than the others. When used in conjuction with each other they provide us with greater ranges of motion, reduction in injury prevalence and enhanced performance.
- The protocols include:
Myofascial release or trigger pointing – Myofascial Release is an effective hands-on therapy which can directly change and improve health of the fascia. The purpose of Myofascial Release is to break down scar tissue, trick the Golgi tendon and subsequently relax the muscle increasing range of motion. Myofascial Release technique is applied directly on the body and uses slow and sometimes deep pressure to restore the proper health of the fascia. This method reduces muscle spasms, improves joint movement, decreases muscle and fascial tension, increases blood flow and neural activation of that particular area treated and reduces chronic recurring injuries.
- The warm up – the warm up is where you perofrm submaximal exercise preferably non weight bearing in order increase body temperature to a condition at which it safely responds to nerve signals for quick and efficient action.
- Prehab or activation drills – these are exercises that considered rehab or preventative exercises that ‘turn on’ specific muscles that have laid dormant during normal everyday activities. These exercises may include glute drills, core activiation, lower trapezius and rotator cuff muscles just to name a few. These can be numerous depending on the problem area the person may have.
- Dynamic, Ballistic and PNF stretching are all stretching protocols mentioned and explained in Part 1 of this blog.
The majority of evidence, I believe, support my views and it is widely accepted that the protocols listed above are best served before exercise in order to increased functional range of motion and therefore underpinning more strength at the end of the range of motion equating to reduction in injury.
I will leave you with this parting comment, which I think is brilliant… STRONG THINGS DON’T BREAK. There is no truer idea. We should all be working to be as strong as possible in order to counteract injury.
Check research here at this link