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Not by Any Stretch


Warm-ups vs. Stretching

Now, lets first review definitions.

Warm-ups can be:

  • Active (increasing tissue temperature through active motion)
  • Passive (increasing tissue temperature through passive external means, such as a hot pack)
  • General (multipurpose exercises, such as light jogging, lightly jumping side to side, lightly swinging arms and/or legs, etc.)
  •  Sport specific (movements that mimic the actions of the particular activity about to be undertaken)  

Stretching can be:

  • Static (a stretch held still in a static position for 20-60 seconds, at a position of slight stain, but not pain!)
  • Dynamic (repeating, rhythmic and undulating motions)
  •  Ballistic (typically involves bouncing/jerking motions and may be forceful; often the muscles are stretched near their true limit. Generally this method is viewed as something to avoid)
  •  PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching (performed by slowly alternating active contractions and relaxations of a muscle and its opposite muscle group – “agonists and antagonists.” This very is very effective when done correctly!).

Typically people automatically start a warm-up with static stretching of cold muscles, assuming that this is an effective method that would prevent injury.

However, things are not quite that straightforward. The overall conclusion of research on this topic is that there is not a clear link between static stretching cold muscles and preventing injury Evidence says that sometimes certain static stretches, especially if done incorrectly or on cold muscles, actually increase chances of injury during an event. Long-hold static stretching doesn’t automatically increase muscle temperature and may lead to some deactivation and/or “micro-tearing” of cold muscles and other soft tissues.

Break the Board is a great overall full body flowing dynamic stretch exercise, taken right from Bassai. Reach both arms out fully to head height, draw the navel to the spine and keep the back heel contacting the floor at the same time. Try to get as much length from the back heel to the tips of the fingers as comfortably possible, slowly and firmly making the transition to the single leg stance as you bring the hands down beside the knee or even further back, and hold the pose while breathing out for long enough to take a picture. Repeat equally on both sides at even intervals, warming the hips, ankles and shoulders.



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