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The Truth About Stretching: You May Be Hurting Yourself

Why when you stretch does the muscle you are stretching contract?

Did you know the sensation of stretch and contraction is identical in feel?

Why does it seem counter intuitive that muscles have no other function than to contract and release? To top that, you have to contract one muscle to release another.

So, why isn’t stretching counter intuitive?

What are we doing when we stretch? If we stretch and hold for a prolong period we tear muscle fiber which requires time to heal before exertion. This newly healed muscle then requires training to accustomed length to be viable. If we stretch in short increments 5-20 seconds the muscle will contract to protect itself by resisting the activity. Exertion after this type of stretch will contract an already contracted muscle making it more susceptible to injury

The conclusion is that stretching cannot be used to prevent injury but may be used to create greater mobility. The candidates for stretch are athletes who require longer strides and greater strength in hyper extension. For the rest of us it just feels better to mobilize our joints.

Ron Mc Knight

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