STRETCHING: HOW, WHEN AND WHY



by   |  VIEW 4310

STRETCHING: HOW, WHEN AND WHY

One of the most discussed and in-depth topics, and where new personal training theories and methodologies always meet is undoubtedly the topic of stretching. Bob Anderson and the release of his book in 1975 also helped bring stretching to Italy.

The book talks about this practice, and which taking the name from stretching (or to stretch), identifies the work of muscle stretching. Initially, only stretching defined as static is known and used, that is, a series of positions are maintained without moving for a time between 30 minutes and one minute.

As of today, this topic is an inexhaustible source of scientific and non-scientific comparisons, and since there is a lot of material on the topic in question, we will try to bring back, thanks to the study of scientific research, its practical focus on the tennis court.

Let's start by clarifying that stretching and joint mobility are two different topics and for this reason they have been kept separate, although we can say that the former can positively influence the other. They are two different topics because stretching involves the muscle-tendon system while mobility involves the joint system.

They can be considered complementary and, in fact, we will see how the forms of elongation have evolved and diversified over the years. Let's now try to answer the following question. Why is stretching included in every training session at all levels, for all physical-motor activities and at any age? The answer is very simple.

All the stretching practices taken individually are effective; some, however, are better than others. It is fundamental in the sports field since the muscle's ability to contract is directly proportional to the ability to stretch; the greater the ability to stretch and therefore to contract, the greater the ability of a muscle or a muscle chain to produce strength.

The two forms of stretching that we recommend are to be performed before training, as far as dynamic stretching is concerned, while the Mezieres postures are to be carried out at the end of the session. Dynamic stretching involves exercises though which motions increase in articular excursion in a progressive way; with controlled oscillations and movements one reaches the limit of one's joint’s excursion.

The Mezieres Method (named after the inventor, the French physiotherapist Françoise Mézières) tries to create synergy between the different muscle areas involved in the various postures and tries to eliminate any harmful compensation, alleviating muscle tension and returning the initial length to the muscles.

The positions are practiced in supine position with the lower limbs against a vertical plane (usually to the wall) and the variants are in front flexion, in frontal support, in split and in lateral decubitus position. The position of the upper limbs also varies and diversifies the dorsal areas most affected by the stretch.

An effective protocol runs out in 15-20 minutes. It is therefore essential at all levels to practice the pre-and post-workout (technical or physical) muscle stretching daily to prevent muscle problems and to give the body the opportunity to create an optimal muscle environment capable of responding to the required stresses.