Feel like stretching is more of a pain? Make three changes to how you stretch, to maximize the gain in your flexibility.
1. Stretch the joint capsule before stretching the muscle
Traction the joint before you move into the stretch. When there is tension in the joint capsule it can impede your range of motion. By tractioning the joint first, you can gain a greater increase in flexibility.
- Warm up the joint with arm or leg circles.
- Find the proper body position, i.e. in a door frame with arm elevated, hand on frame
- Create length in the joint by trying to visualize the arm growing away from the torso. Ease into the stretch while maintaining the new “length”
2. Release tension points before stretching
Tension points or hyper-irritable spots that develop in a taut bands of muscle or fascia can refer pain to muscles, create restriction, reduce flexibility and increase tone.
- Apply gentle pressure to the affected area with the help of Yoga Tune Up or Lacrosse ball. Begin rolling through the area.
- Avoid deep pressure for sustained periods of time.
- Use deep, slow breathing to relax the body/area.
3. Use stretch waves instead of forcing and holding
According to the founders of Fascial Stretch TherapyTM, Chris and Ann Fredrick, “Athletes can stretch better by synchronizing their breathing with their movement.” For effective increases in flexibility, they recommend a technique that uses a very slow, rhythmic breathing called a stretch wave.
- Use 3 very slow breaths per position.
- Start the stretch at the place where you first feel restriction.
- Move deeper into the stretch on the exhale and move out of the stretch on the inhale.
- Feel the breath through your entire body to maximize nervous system relaxation.
Set it free with FST!