Transformer - Decepticon

Transformer - Decepticon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stretching 102

Stretching 102

Stretching has a variety of practical approaches. It will always be passive or active, or, in the case of muscle energy techniques, it will involve a resistance component. Furthermore, stretching may also be broken down into categories as being dynamic, ballistic or static. In order to gain the most benefit from the practice of stretching, it is important for the therapist and/or yourself to have a working understanding of the body's stretch reflexes.

Active, passive, dynamic, static, ballistic, preparatory, developmental, maintenance and remedial stretching will be discussed here. I know it seems like a lot and you may have never even known there was so much to stretching, but believe me, it's a major component of great fitness. When your muscles are at their proper resting length, the whole muscle is being utilized and therefore working more efficiently for you. When muscles are taunt and cause a restrictive range of motion, the injuries start to occur.

This is performed solely by the athlete. Reciprocal inhibition is used in the way of the antagonist muscles being stretched by the contraction of synergist and agonist muscles. For example, you are contracting the quads to stretch the hamstrings. The whole body is a pulley system and these actions, to a small degree, are being performed somewhere in your tissues at almost all times of the day.

This is also referred to as relaxed stretching. The athlete is put through the movements by a therapist or workout partner, and there is little or no effort on the athlete's part. Passive stretching can reach beyond the range achievable by actively stretching which is a wonderful thing as it's another reason for all of you to receive some Thai massage from me. :)

This flexibility is the range of motion that is available during active movements. It is also referred to as mobility training and is about rhythmically moving muscles and joints through easy ranges and gradually increasing the range of movement without force. It's part of the warmup to sports, examples being shoulder shrugs and circles or elbow and knee bends.

This is simply stretching and then holding the position, whether actively or passively.

It is dynamic and rhythmic but more aggressive, usually involving bouncing and rebounding momentum into stretch positions. This type of stretching is rarely seen today for these forceful movements activate the stretch reflex and suddenly tighten muscles thus tightening the muscle at the end of it's range. In terms of developing flexibility, this technique is no good and causes microtrauma to the affected muscles.

Stretching that is performed before full activity is enacted. Warm up and gently mobilize before performing these stretches. These stretches are commonly held for 15-30 seconds and not to extreme ranges of motion or to the point of pain. Because competitive athletes are not 100% fit, this can help reduce discomfort and tightness before strenuous activity.

With this stretching, you are relaxing into a stretch that typically lasts from 15-30 seconds. It is performed slowly and you can expect to see gradual improvements to problematic regions over a period of weeks. It decreases tightness and increases normal extensibility. Some yoga poses are a great form of this stretching.

Stretch all major muscle groups but with main emphasis on the main muscles used in particular sports. These stretches are usually held for 15-30 seconds. Maintenance stretching is a routine approach and it keeps the muscles and joints in good working order, also improving recovery from hard training.

This is stretching that is a particularly important skill area for the massage therapist. Muscle fibers and joints are re-educated. Injuries and imbalances are treated. Connective tissues are lengthened, even areas around scar tissue, and the therapist provides techniques to broaden the muscle at the same time for remedial stretching is commonly combined with massage techniques (sports and Thai massage).

So, with that said...find your tight spots and start using these guidelines to create a stretching program for yourself. Position yourself correctly and stretch slowly. Develop or maintain your flexibility every day and within a few weeks you will see some major improvements with your athletic abilities. If you need any ideas for certain stretches, you know who to turn to, this girl, Rainee. :)

Rainee Matseichyk

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pictures of Amica Ironman 70.3

Just a couple of pictures from the event... it was an exciting & rewarding weekend.. Two days working at the EXPO & then providing post event sports massage to the athletes that participated in the event. It's always nice to be rewarded for a job well done.. We look forward to next year!


Stretching 101

It is said that for ideal health and fitness, the muscles of the body need to be strong, supple, responsive, resistant to fatigue and in balance with one another. Stretching is a major component in obtaining these good results. Muscle, postural and biomechanical balance is always something to work towards. Being flexible in one region of the body does not mean that an individual will be flexible in all other areas. A strong indication for remedial massage and flexibility work is the improvement of muscle balance.

Many centers in the Western world incorporate yoga and martial arts which teach certain breathing techniques, stretches and postures for their health-giving benefits. The physical crux of both yoga and martial arts has been strength, flexibility, agility, co-ordination, balance and endurance. Not much has changed since these systems were originally developed.

The degree of flexibility an individual has is gauged against generally accepted norms and against what could be realistically expected for the individual concerned, given their age, state of health or fitness. Factors affecting flexibility are the type of joint (the specificity of flexibility); elasticity of muscle, tendon, fascia, skin and ligaments; muscle mass; body fat; body type; ability to relax; body temperature; age; sex; injuries and pathologies; postural and biomechanical deviations; environmental temperature; time of day; fitness level; normal fitness training routine undertaken; and occupation.

Without regular stretching, muscles and joints tend to experience restricted flexibility. This leaves the individual vulnerable to injury. For example, when a muscle is called upon to stretch suddenly in any activity, if it is unable to reach the necessary length, then something has to give, and it will be the structure of the muscle that will tear. And although stretching is well recommended by most experts and sports massage therapists, it is still often neglected or paid insufficient attention by exercisers. However, just as poor flexibility has potential consequences for restricting functional abilities and increasing the individual’s susceptibility to soft-tissue injuries, the situation of increased flexibility, or hyper flexibility, presents its own set of potential problems. This type of flexibility is usually attended to with strength rather than flexibility training and support to the affected joint during potentially aggravating activities.

The benefits of stretching on a regular basis are loose muscles, better mobilization of joints and improved postural balance, biomechanical efficiency, relaxation to the muscles, circulation, neuromuscular responsiveness, performance, recovery from training and competition, and flexibility. Stretching also develops body awareness, helps to prevent injuries, reduces exercise related muscle soreness and helps to treat soft-tissue injuries, adhesions and scar tissue.

In Stretching 102 the different types of stretching and when and how to apply them will be discussed.

Rainee Matseichyk LMT