When you were training for sports in your P.E classes, you were most likely told to hold your hamstring and groin stretches several seconds before starting your training session. This static stretching is very popular and is a common routine in any athletes routine.
But more recently if you ask a medical professional or coach about stretching before your workout you will likely get a different answer. So why is some advice to stretch before working out and other advice is to stretch after your workout? We will cover the reasons behind this in today’s blog.
To start, there are different kinds of stretching. These are listed below:
Static Stretching: This is this most common stretching that people think of. For example, if bend over to touch your toes and hold the position, you are performing static stretching.
Passive: This is when someone else moves your body into a stretch and proceeds to hold the tension while you are relaxed.
Dynamic: This is a controlled movement into the stiff position. The best way to think about it is performing a deep squat or lunges.
Ballistic: This involves using your bodies momentum to bounce in and out of stiffness. It’s not recommended by many because of the chances of injury but is more commonly used by dancers.
PNF: This is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and describes a combination of passive stretching followed by different types of muscular contractions. If someone gets your muscle into a position, for example a hamstring stretch while you are on your back. Then asks you to contract and then relax while they push the muscle further, this is PNF.
In the past, research showed that performing static stretching before training or a competition could reduce the chances of muscular strain. This is why it is such a popular form of stretching.
But recent research is showing that static stretching can lead to a decrease in strength, speed and power. So this would lessen the athlete’s performance. But it might not be the static stretching that is the problem, rather it is the long duration someone will hold the stretch for.
Stretches for short periods of time (under 30 seconds) cause no harm to muscular performance and cause an increase in mobility, this means you can get into better technical positions when performing your lift or movement. It is when a stretch is held for 45 seconds that there is a decrease in power, speed and strength.
A test to do:
If you struggle with tightness and feel restricted you can test if you are short of what is expected of your muscles.
Place your foot 10 cm from the wall and then bend your knee to try and touch the wall without lifting your heel to do so. If you can touch your knee to the wall you have passed the test and have good ankle mobility. Working on passive stretches of 30-second holds can help to free up your calf and get to pass the test without affecting your performance.
For example, a deep goblet squat can help improve your ankle mobility before training. Hold a kettlebell on your chest and sit down into a deep squat. Hold 4 stretches for 10-30 seconds.
If you do not have good ankle mobility you will be unable to get into a good squat position and therefore will hinder your technique.
In the clinic, we work using a variety of techniques to help improve mobility in all areas of the body, including ankles. So working on your muscles and joints to help get into a good position will allow you to perform and move better day to day and during athletic performance.
Stretching prior to your workout is not a one size fits all. It will come down to you as an individual and what your body responds best to. Also, it will depend on where your weaknesses are. Your tightness can also be down to overall muscle weakness, so it could tighten up to try and stabilise the area.
To help work out what needs to be done to fix your issue and to help get you the best results contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves this blog post is for you.
The assumption to make when you have tight calves is to stretch the calves. However, to gain length in your calves it is often helpful to train the muscles at the front of your lower leg. This is because they are often weak in people who have chronically tight calves. This is because stretching causes a mechanical change in the muscles whereas strengthening causes a change in the way your body perceives length.
What are the problems if you have poor ankle mobility?
Common for people to roll off the outside of their foot when walking.
Big toe bunions can form
If your ankles are tight when walking your calf is used more, therefore becomes tighter.
Your body mass is more forwards when walking
Collapsing of your foot arch
So when you are at home instead of forcing your knee over your ankle to create mobility in your ankle, try to strengthen the front of your lower leg which will allow you to access more range of motion for the long term. This will be more long term because you won’t be relying on an external input but instead you will cause internal changes that should make more significant differences in muscle function.
How to do this?
Try this exercise called the moonwalk.
Come back onto your toes
As you lower your toes, bring your knee over the front of your toes
As you bring the knee forwards, lift up your toes
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves and would like us to assess and treat you, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Elbow injuries are a common injury in desk workers and athletes. In people who lift weights they are one of the most common injuries to have.
Although the elbow may appear to be a simple hinge joint that simply has two movements (bending or straightening the elbow), the reality is far from it. The elbow is a more complicated joint than it seems because the movement occurs between three bones and surrounding this are 16 small muscles. These help to not only straighten and bend your elbow but also rotate it as your palm is either up or down.
Although many elbow issues are due to overuse of the muscles causing a repetitive strain injury, it is common for people to cause an injury to one of the several nerves in the arm. This can cause tingling, numbness, a burning sensation and possible weakness in the hand.
A type of exercise that is used to help nerve pain is nerve gliding. This aims to either stretch the nerve or glide the nerve.
Gliding techniques will stretch the nerve and have the aim of increasing the tension and pressure through the nerve. This sometimes makes symptoms worse in people.
Sliding techniques will move the nerve with a lot less tension and pressure and therefore don’t increase symptoms.
The goal is to use these techniques to increase blood circulation, reduce the swelling that is around the nerve and get the nerve back to its natural movement. This will decrease symptoms once these areas are restored.
Make sure you only do a few sliders at a time because overstressing the nerve even with a less aggressive technique will potentially increase your symptoms. It is not always the case that a little bit of something is good so let’s do lots of it in a more is better approach. So do this little and often throughout the day rather than all at once.
If you suffer from any elbow issues or capal tunnel then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Left hip mobility (Lead Hip) is key to a consistent golf swing. A loss of internal rotation mobility can cause major issues with your swing and can also create compensations in other areas of the body, leading to injuries.
Poor lead hip mobility can lead to the following:
Knee & Ankle Issues
Swing Fault: Sway
Here’s our top 4 Hip Internal Rotation mobility drills for Golfers:
Hip Windshield Wipers
Single Leg Hip Drops
Hip Internal Rotation PIR with Tubing
Andreo Spina 90/90 Isometric Holds
Want to improve your golf game? Improve your hip internal rotation to see greater gains and more consistency in your swing! Check out our video below on some drills to help you improve.
The Lawlor Clinic specialises in Golf Injuries & Performance Therapy. Providing Sports Chiropractic to professional golfers on the PGA & European Tours since 2009.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Active Release Techniques (ART®) | Sports Injuries