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Muscles and Muscle Injuries

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Flexible muscles
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How to Increase Muscle Flexibility

There are a variety of ways to increase flexibility. The method you choose depends upon why you feel you need to be more flexible. Athletes may require dynamic flexibility, which is flexibility in motion, whereas static stretch may be sufficient for someone who is in chronic pain due to excessive muscular tension. Static stretches are held in a passive position for a period of 20 seconds to two minutes. While you may feel a slight discomfort as you stretch, any stabbing sensation is an indication that you are overstretched. The stretching exercise should be immediately discontinued in this scenario.

Many years ago, static stretching exercises were used as warm-ups. However, recent sports medicine research has indicated that better results are achieved if the muscles are warm before performing a static stretch exercise. Coaches are also discovering that it is safer to perform static stretch exercises after a vigorous activity, as a opposed to using it as a warm-up. Breathing can enhance static flexibility. On your exhalation, try to go deeper into the stretch.

Nowadays, dynamic stretching techniques have replaced static activities for athletic warm-ups. Dynamic stretching exercises use active, rhythmic rotational movements, as well as flexion and extension of all of the muscles of the body. Swinging movements are also popular active stretching exercises.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is referred to as PNF. It involves the use of muscular contraction prior to performing the stretch in order to facilitate maximum muscle relaxation. PNF is usually performed with a partner.

  1. Move into the stretch until you feel a slight pull.
  2. Your partner will hold the limb in the stretched position
  3. Push against your partner by contracting the antagonistic muscles for 6 to 10 seconds and then relax. During the contraction phase, your partner will attempt to resist any movement of the limb.
  4. In the relaxation phase, your partner will move the limb further into the stretch
  5. Go back to Step 2 and repeat the process a few times, until the muscle feels less tense and more mobile.

Myofascial self release is another method that is gaining popularity. It combines flexibility exercise with massage. These types of stretches are performed with ether a foam roller or small balls that are specifically designed for this purpose. The tight muscle is placed over the roller or ball. Breathe deeply, allowing your body weight to sink into the stretching device. Release the stretch when about 70 percent of the soreness has disappeared.

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