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S.M.A.R.T. Chiropractic
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Stretching? Is it "good" or "bad"?

Stretching is just like any other part of your training regimen: if you don't normally do it, don't do a ton of it suddenly. Flexibility of the joint complex is incredibly important; you lose flexibility with age no matter what, and it takes greater and greater effort to maintain it. However, it's not inherently a positive thing and should be handled with care! Your nervous system takes time to learn how to utilize that range of motion, just like it takes time to learn any new motion (think about the first time you ever tried to attempt kettlebell swings). That fine motor control is paramount to performance! It has to learn how to control the degree of muscle tension through the arc, the amount of stress the tendon can handle, the bone, etc...

A lot of athletes make the big mistake of trying to induce flexibility just prior to competition, as if that alone, will somehow give them an increase in performance. Not so, my friends. In fact, just about the worst thing you can do prior to a race, is to suddenly increase your joint flexibility beyond what your nervous system is normally used to! I see athletes who normally don't stretch, doing 20-30 minute stretch routines just before competition. This is a sure-fire recipe for injury. Why would you abruptly change your biomechanics just prior to pushing the system to 100%? That's like trying to use a new throwing technique, or running technique, at the time of competition. There's a reason you "practice" it first, before that point, to get used to it.

This is not to say that stretching is bad for you. To the contrary, flexibility in the joint complex equates to increased strength and speed, including a decrease in injury rates! But, as with anything else, it's something you have to work at, and it's something that needs to be a regular part of your exercise routine, before you see the benefits.

www.smartchiroclinic.com
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