Static Stretching- the cool down

Stretching Beyond the Call of Duty

It is a long held belief that static stretching (stretches held at the point of limitation for a few seconds) prevents injury and improves athletic performance.

Several Studies reveal, stretching immediately prior to exercise result in decreased muscle activity and force output. There is no evidence to suggest pre activity stretching contributes to improvements in athletic performance or athletic injury

However, stretching at other times i.e. after exercise or through out the day is beneficial in producing long term gains in muscle length. Maintaining or restoring muscle length promotes reduction in joint stress, muscle imbalance, inco-ordination and avoids disruption of biomechanics and force production.

Don’t skip another cool-down !

A flexibility program should be specialised to each individual and incorporating exercises that address:

• Specifically identified tight muscles and the anatomical limitations

• The range of motion required for the specific activity or sport and required physical demands.

Against popular belief Resistance training has been shown to have a positive influence on flexibility. If:

1. Full range of motion is trained

2. Agonist and antagonists are include (muscles on both sides of a joint)

3. Stretching is included in the program

An effective static stretching program should include one stretch for each body part, held for 30 seconds at the first point of tension and completed a minimum of one round once per day. And never before exercise.

Four weeks of this regimen has been proven to yield flexibility changes.

It is important to work on flexibility to maintain the length tension relationship of the muscles and to ensure optimal joint range of movement and function.  Stretching also facilitates muscle recovery.  The following is a cool down stretching routine.