Tips & Guides
In continuation with my last post, I will address some more aspects of stretching. This time I will talk about muscle isolation. I will apply this to both injury prevention and flexibility.
First, muscle isolation is a misnomer. I use this term to describe ways to stretch individual and groups of tendons, ligaments and muscles. Which one of these are you actually stretching at any one time? No one really knows. Still, I use this term for simplicity.
I will start with an example. Our camara Virtual talked to me about a sore muscle that had been bothering him for a while but he could not stretch it. Every time he tried to stretch, other muscle groups got in the way. These muscle groups would pull tight before he could pull the sore muscle tight. He asked me if I knew how he could stretch the muscle. I did not know. However, I did know how to stretch muscles close to it. I had him use a normal stretching technique that stretched muscles near his injury. By slightly adjusting the position of his body and relative positions of his torso and legs, he was able to pull the sore muscle tight and stretch it. In other words, he was able to isolate the sore muscle. This is what I mean by muscle isolation.
To be more specific, his injured muscle was on the outside of his hip, just above and in front of the ball and socket joint of his hip.
Since people ask me about stretching frequently, I figure I should write something about it here. I’ll break stretching in to two categories: injury prevention and flexibility. I encourage everyone to stretch for injury prevention. Flexibility is for those who are a little more masochistic.
Whether you are stretching for flexibility or health, there are a few main elements to keep in mind. The most important of which is self-awareness. Self-awareness does not just mean knowing whether something hurts; it is much more holistic. While stretching, remember how tired you are, how much you have exercised, what exercises you did, etc. These, as well as other factors, should affect the way you stretch. Self-awareness also means that you should understand what you body is telling you. The most important factor is pain, which unfortunately is a necessary part of stretching. It is important to understand the difference between good pain and bad pain. For example, stretching an injured muscle will feel different from stretching a healthy muscle. Stretching a healthy muscle and “over-stretching” a healthy muscle feel different too. I can not tell you the difference in feeling, so it is up to you to develop this sense. Read the rest of this entry »