What is Resistance Stretching?
To really stretch a tight muscle effectively, you should shorten it and contract the muscle first THEN lengthen the muscle under LOAD at the same time as lengthening or stretching it.
Sounds complicated? It isn’t! All you really need to do is to make the muscle you want to stretch contract at the same time – for example – if you want to stretch your quadriceps muscle at the front of your thigh, kneel on the floor with the leg you want to stretch behind you. Push your knee down into the floor and at the same time lean forward slightly so you feel a stretch on the front of that leg. However, as it is a complicated idea when you are not sure what you are doing, it is better to come in to see one of the chiropractors to let them show you exactly how it is done.
You need to remember that this is an eccentric training and that always results in more delayed onset muscle soreness than when you do ordinary concentric training. Therefore don’t do too much at first because it ‘feels easy’ or you could end up in discomfort. The muscle soreness may last for 24 – 36 hours but the more you repeat the resistance stretching, the soreness goes away as your muscles acclimatise to the movement.
Never stretch a cold muscle – you should do strengthening exercises first so you increase the blood flow to the muscles before you do the resistance stretch.
Only stretch to YOUR tolerance – it is never a competition but a way of helping you to maximise the length and strength of your muscles safely.
You must make sure that your posture is as perfect as possible whilst you are performing these stretches – so your joints are not overloaded – if you use a mirror to stretch in front of then you can ensure you are in a neutral position at all times and not causing other joint problems without realising.
Don’t forget to BREATHE freely while you do these exercises … your muscles need blood supply and oxygen and if you hold your breath while you concentrate , you will deprive the muscles of oxygen. Breathing from your abdomen further stabilises your central core too and helps maintain your posture.
Drink water to flush out the toxins particularly when you first start the exercises.
Why is it better than other forms of stretching?
If we look at how muscle tension occurs it is by way of concentric contractions of small bundles of muscle fibres. Sometimes when we overdo muscle contractions, these fibres can get stuck and not return to their original length and then the bundles formed get in the way of normal contraction. The only way to get rid of the tension is with eccentric contraction. Eccentric contraction engages the entire muscle rather than small bundles of muscle fibre and so the bound fibres unravel and stretch out.
Do I need equipment?
No! It can be useful to have someone to help you but you don’t need any equipment as you are using your own body to resist your own force – not weights. You must remember that each stretch must start with a shortened and contracted muscle. If you go back to the front of your thing muscle – push into the ground between 6 and 12 times to stretch the muscle and hold each repetition for 8 seconds.
Never hold the stretch at the end of the 8 seconds – you need to remember to shorten and contract the muscle and gently stretch it at the SAME time – which can be tricky at first as you are used to either stretching OR strengthening but give it a go and it will become easier to achieve. Never overdo it though.
Where can I see this demonstrated?
Go to – “ lunging quad and hip flexors – resistance stretching you tube “.