Issue #159


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Monica Rubio

Video Interview with Pro Figure Amie Adcock

Monica Rubio, Daisy Jae, Jessica Trantham, Candy Carlin & Candace Marconi

Stretching and Your Training
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Amateur Figure Ana Da Oliveira



Stretching and Your Training by Tina Jo Orban

With all those contractions you’ve performed over your training—

weeks, months or years, I hope you have worked in stretching to your regimen. If not, you may have limited range of motion and unnecessarily tightened shortened muscles. While tonicity looks good shortened tissue can lead to pathologies (i.e., injury due to compromised posture). Think of it like this, when any muscles are hypertonic and/or shortened beyond what is natural, the body will realign itself to deal with the imbalance and that is where chronic pain comes in. The compensatory muscles will stretch or shorten elsewhere, depending upon the nature and where shortened muscles occur. Let’s use a classic example. Let’s say that ever so popular Psoas has shortened up on you because you do tons of squats and lunges. To exacerbate this next, you sit for hours at a desk facilitating even more shortening of the Psoas. If this is done long enough the contracted shortened state will start to cause anterior pelvic tilt. You will walk around with what looks like your hips anteriorly pointing pulling down, because they are. This will create imbalance. At the origin of your hamstrings you may feel tightness as they are required to lengthen to accommodate anterior pelvic tilt. And the worse probable compensatory effect is low back pain. The erectors particularly in the lumbar area will have to contract shorten and this could lead to chronic low back pain. All this because you don’t stretch. This scenario can play out anywhere in the body. Stretching should be part of your workout.

The question is when?  Well research says for certain when not to!

DO NOT STRETCH before performance. Well vigorous thorough stretching anyway. Save stretching for after workouts and during workouts when you are WARM. Stretching is best when your muscles are warm with lots of blood flow. In fact, most current research[1] indicates that stretching before athletic performance (and that includes you and your gym workout) weakens and decreases performance.  The point of stretching is mainly to keep your ROM at its best and your muscles flexible and pliable so you don’t get injured. I personally know that stretching just feels good. There is conflict among todays researchers on what exactly is happening when stretching. Mainly they can’t decide if it is (structural). That is if it is actually increasing and restoring ROM at the joint and tissue is actually lengthening. OR if what is really going on is the persons developing greater tolerance to stretching. I think it could be both. But after my one-year training to become a licensed massage therapist, and learning about PNF proprioceptive neuromuscular stretching and PIR (Post Isometric Relaxation), I am thinking tolerance.  That is the nervous system will allow signals that prior to adapting to a stretch routine starts to allow lengths that is would not allow previously. That is if you continue to follow a stretch routine regularly both tissue will get a little more pliable but the nervous system will allow the stretch to occur. You have probably worked out that this is partly why stretching prevents injury. That too depends on velocity of the stretch. Addressed below.

Furthermore, if we look to nature most animals spontaneously stretch. Anytime nature is involved we know it is necessary!

So now we know when to stretch. How long and how?

Most of you are aware there are many types of stretching. Ballistic, Dynamic, Static and so on. Yoga and Pilates for that matter implements stretching and can fall under the any of they aforementioned types. One of the best ways to stretch is the “vanilla” of all stretching types: Static. Velocity is important stretch slowly. Get to that point where the stretch is no longer possible. Hold and breathe! Here is what it looks like: You are warmed up and are training or just finished. Simply STRETCH AND HOLD TEN TO THIRTY SECONDS the muscles just worked. SIMPLE. You can do each round of TEN TO THIRTY seconds for two “sets” of stretching. That’s it. Easy as pie. I mentioned PIR. Many athletic trainers do this with their clients. I use it in my massage therapy, and I used it as a trainer.

Its awesome. Studies show that PIR can improve length of a shortened muscle nearly immediately. If you want to do it solo, you will need a solid immovable surface like a wall or a squat rack could work depending on what you are trying to stretch. First you contract the target muscle in an isometric contraction COUNT SEVEN as you contract and hold isometrically against the object. Release a second and then push the muscle slowly into a further stretch. Viola, this should help you achieve further stretch.  I have put a link here—[2]

a FREE for a resource of stretches.  Best wishes Gumby.


[1] Sourced from: NHS, National Health Services of England https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/stretch-before-exercising/  June 17 2018.

[2] http://www.mydr.com.au/sports-fitness/stretching-an-illustrated-guide


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