If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if they should stretch a certain muscle…I’d have a lot of pennies. Stretching is what most people think they should do anytime they have a tight muscle, maybe as a warm up before exercising, or even to address their pain.
I’ve read a lot of research articles on stretching, and I’ll make it easy for you and give you the TLDR on the top THREE things you should know:
1) The tightness you feel does not always mean you should stretch. If your muscles aren’t as strong as they should be, they could be overly stretched and give you a sensation of being tight. Stretching may feel like it helps temporarily, but if the tightness keep on coming back, what you actually need is to get stronger, not stretch more.
2) If you actually are limited in your muscle mobility, you should stretch for 30-60 seconds. And use heat beforehand, such as after a hot shower. This helps improve circulation and allow muscles to relax and really maximizes the stretch.
3) Don’t do static stretches before a sporting event or competition that requires power or “springy-ness” of your muscles. Your muscles often function better when they’re not overly stretched out because it allows the muscle to utilize its elastic properties for energy efficiency and force production. Rather, do dynamic stretches to prep your body.
If you want to know more about stretching or want to know how I can help you with the chronic tension or tightness you feel, reach out to me through my website www.renewsportsrehab.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you keep stretching or should you be strengthening? Don’t guess, get assessed.