"I just need to stretch it." How many times have you said this when something didn't feel right? How many times have you heard someone else say it?
This article is going to give a brief look at how we approach joint mobility/flexibility at Elevate. Any time we are assessing someone for an existing injury, prevention of a future injury, or simply just getting to know their physical capabilities, the first priority is knowing how the joints function (especially around an injured area).
But first! Let's quickly talk about stretching. It is totally common to think that stretching is the go-to fix for when a body part hurts or is "tight." What does stretching do? Well, it puts muscles/tendons into a lengthened state to (mostly temporarily) create more range of motion.
This is great if you are lacking range of motion in a certain movement plane. However, if a muscle or joint is in pain or is "tight," is forcing it into a stretched position really the best protocol? That's something you'll need to answer for your situation.
Here's what we'll add without getting too far down the rabbit hole of how the human body works (in all its wonderful complexity). At Elevate, we want stretches to be done deliberately and specifically on joints & muscle groups that need additional range of motion. For example, if you are unable to sit down into the bottom of a squat comfortably then we need to identify which joints/joint angles are limiting you so that we can create new range in those joints/angles.
Once we have worked on changing those tissues, we will add exercises from the stretched positions that create strength in those new ranges of motion. By adding range of motion and strengthening that new limit, you are developing control in this new area of flexibility. Control keeps you safer from injury, adds useful flexibility, and equates to more strength potential. Pretty awesome!
Every one of our group classes incorporates this methodology and we even have a twice-weekly class called FLOW that solely focuses on it! If you are struggling with mobility limitations, strength plateaus, or recurring injury then hit us up! We'd love to help you assess the problem and be on your way to improvement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
-Taylor Race, owner