Do you have pain or a nagging injury you are not sure how you got, can’t seem to get rid of & have come to the conclusion that there is not a lot that can be done about it? This BLOG is for you then!
CORRECTIVE STRETCHING & JOINT STABILIZATION FOR SPORTS PERFORMANCE & INJURY PREVENTION IS TODAY’S TOPIC.
As a C.H.E.K Practitioner & Corrective Exercise specialist i have assessed a lot of people over the years & it is obvious to me that so many people are walking around putting up with pain, discomfort & reoccurring muscle or joint issues caused by imbalances when there is really no need to.
I remember before I got into this game I was running a lot & always had something that just didn’t feel right, whether it was a tight muscle or random knee pain.
These days just like many of my mentors & CHEK trained colleagues I exercise & live life completely free of pain.
Our alignment or posture is dictated by quality of, or lack of movement. If we do the same thing over & over our alignment / posture will change causing some muscles to shorten & tighten while the opposing to become long & weak.
If you could visualize for me for a second, imagine the joints of our body (spine or hip for example) being a bridge & the muscles being the wires with adequate tension keeping the bridge standing. if there is not a balance of tension on the wires (muscles) from both sides of the bridge (joint) the bridge will fall down (or the joint will get beat up & pain or injury will be the end results).
This is where my initial assessment becomes very handy to writing corrective exercise programs for clients, each muscle should have a specific range of motion. Once an assessment is done I can balance out the alignment with specific exercisers to strengthen weak muscles, stretches to lengthen tight muscles & mobilizations of the spine where needed to restore optimal spinal curvatures.
We have two different types of muscles – Tonic & Phasic.
Phasic muscles primary responsibility is movement & power
Tonic muscles take care of posture & stabilization of the joint.
Unfortunately nearly all training programs people follow are PHASIC muscle development dominant, this leads to imbalances in our strength capability compared to our stabilization threshold & in turn will lead to injury especially in an active individual.
The analogy is used in our industry of having a really fast car with terrible brakes, something is going to go wrong sooner or later.
Some people are just naturally more inflexible & stiff than others.
They have many muscle groups that are overly contracted & tight, & need to increase flexibility to remain pain free. This body type is more at risk of pulling a muscle from excessive tension & needs a great deal of focus on increasing flexibility in only the muscles that are tight. This is more common in men.
Muscles with tension also use up valuable energy, I have had many clients comment after only a few weeks of stretching that there daily energy after stretching has improved simply by taking tension out of the tight muscles.
On the other side of the coin some people have musculoskeletal systems that are too loose, this is called hyper mobility of the joint. In this situation you have a greater risk of injury at the joint itself compared to tearing a tight muscle for example. Commonly caused by trauma or activity like running that puts a lot of impact forces on the joints. These people lack the strength to stabilize there joints properly & is more common in women.
You can also be inflexible in areas & lack stabilization, the muscles will tighten up due to the lack of stabilization at the joint by the connective tissue.
So in conclusion specific stretching & stabilization is an important part of staying pain or injury free & should be included in any good training program. If getting strong & lifting heavy is important to you stabilization of the joints, spine & core is where i start with every new client & revisit through program periodization to ensure maximum results are achieved safely because in reality “a pyramid can only be as big & strong as its base is wide & stable”.
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