- Advantages of Muscle Stretching:
Before Sports: Muscle stretching improves circulation and blood flow--gives muscles the added flexibility to move freely.
During Sports: Muscle stretching improves coordination, balance, accuracy and makes your muscles less prone to injury.
After Sports: Muscle stretching improves recovery time Training. Stretching helps improve muscle imbalances. A muscle imbalance is caused when some muscles are more warmed up and ready for exertion than others.
Daily activities do not require the same extension and range of movements your muscles get during sports. If your muscles are not stretched equally, they are said to be imbalanced. Muscle imbalance makes you less coordinated and can contribute to injury such as pulled or strained muscles.
- Prepare for Muscle Stretching Routines:
Warm up. Before you start muscle stretching routines you need to warm up. Go to the warm up wall for some low intensity bouldering patterns. Do low intensity bouldering for about five minutes using big holds and big foot holds. Alternately you could jog, do jumping jacks, a few sit-ups and pushups. Prepare muscles for stretching by increasing blood flow. Your warm up should be just to the point when you just break a sweat. The goal of the warm up is to increase your heart rate for about five minutes. At this point you are ready for stretching your muscles.
Stretch Reflex. If you skip the warm up or try to stretch too aggressively, a nerve reflex called the "stretch reflex" takes place. Stretch reflex is an automatic response caused when nerve fibers are stretched. Stretch reflex causes your muscle to contract against the direction of muscle stretch. This could lead to mild pulled muscle or pain which reduces athletic performance. By being aware of the stretch reflex you can prevent it. Breathe deliberately during muscle stretching...it helps you relax and control the stretch. Stay relaxed while you stretch, work up to flexibility gradually and stay in control of your muscles to help prevent the automatic stretch reflex.