Foam Rolling and Stretching
Is the old school pre-stretching routine actually helpful to improve flexibility and more importantly does improving your muscles’ range of motion reduce your chance of being injured? With the current yearly injury rate for runners showing that 50% of all runners will hurt themselves each year, its important to understand and get ahead of this problem.
The referenced article has 11 citations, and the findings are interesting:
- If you feel stretching and has helped you reduce injuries, keep doing it because runners who routinely stretched and then stopped were twice as likely to be injured.
- Foam rolling after a workout can raise cortisol levels which act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Increasing your muscles range of motion DOES NOT reduce your injury rate.
- Improving the strength and flexibility of your tendons is a better way to reduce injuries
Here’s how to effectively improve your tendon flexibility:
- Static stretching improves muscle flexibility but not tendon resilience.
- Contract/relax stretches help the muscle and tendon
Start by using muscle contractions BEFORE stretching
- Put the muscle in a neutral position
- Isometrically contract it for 5 seconds
- Stretch it for 10 seconds
- Perform 3 times (takes less than 1 minute)
Additional tendon strengthening exercises
- Stand in the stairway holing a light weight
- Lower your heel so its positioned slightly below horizontal
- The weight should be heavy enough to fatigue the Achilles after 15 seconds
- Repeat this 6 times on each leg
- You can perform this stretch on any muscle
To read the entire article click the link.