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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Stretching for high-intensity sport

Stretching and flexibility is always a very important part of high intensity exercise and sports for many reasons. Stretching allows for adequate movement at a joint, at the same time as helping maintain an appropriate level of balance. Here, I have put together some easy to understand - Stretching and Flexibility Guidelines.

So why do we need to stretch? Stretching is a way of actively increasing our joint mobility and motion, therefore increasing our flexibility. The two phrases can be used interchangeably.

Static stretching. This means you adequately stretching muscles and then hold this stretch for about up to 30 seconds at a time. With breathing, applying moderate pressure without bouncing. It is always advised to warm up first, allowing muscle tissue to become more mobile. This can be achieved by performing simple dynamic warm up exercises see Grenade Article:

Dynamic stretching. This refers to the lengthening and loading of muscles to increase joint mobility. Again, done when muscles are warming up. Perfect example of this would be high-kick and arm swing. NOTE: gradual increase in motion should be  performed to reduce any risk of micro tearing, and avoid overstretching. 

High intensity exercise and demanding sports require a fine balance of strength, agility, endurance, and flexibility. Why stretch? 

Stretching is a crucial aspect of any athletic activity. A warm-up that includes dynamic stretching allows the muscles to warm up and get prepared for high intensity exercise. Also, proper stretching can also help speed recovery following exercise.

What I also like to educate people is how  joint mobility will lead to muscle lengthening and therefore muscle performance. The best way to understand this is by the fluid dynamics in our joints. When our joints are not moving (ie. static jobs), this causes the fluid inside out joints to become more viscous (thicker). Movement will make the fluid a thinner consistency, therefore allowing it to permeate cartilage better and aid joint motion, thick of it like oling a joint. This will inturn, better muscle flexibility and function. 

I always recommend a period of 10 minutes prior to intense sport or exercise to adequately stretch and warmup. 

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