Today I wanted to talk about another one of the tools we use which is stretching. To me, if you want to talk about stretching, you need to talk about tissue quality first. We address tissue quality with tools such as the foam roller, the stick and various others. If you haven’t read my blog on foam rolling, you can find it here: Foam Rolling.
Flexibility and stretching is the one thing that comes to everyone’s mind first when they think about getting fit. The truth is that not everyone needs stretching. You could have amazing flexibility and still have back pain. Everyone always thinks hamstrings are a the cause but, you may have loose hamstrings and tight hip flexors. If your hip flexors are tight, your hamstring will appear tight, even if it is loose. The point I’m trying to make is that flexibility work needs to be targeted to where you need it. Everyone is different. It is possible to make it worse by stretching the wrong areas.
With that disclaimer out of the way, most people (except for those similar to gumby) could use flexibility work somewhere in their body. One of my favorite tools to use is the stretch out strap. It lets people easily switch from stretch to stretch and have a secure foot and hand hold. You could use a yoga strap or jump rope, they just are not as efficient as the stretch out strap.
Going back to the start, you should be rolling before you stretch. Rolling will help relax the muscle and the structures around it, which prepares it to be stretched. Have a professional look at your movement and find out what areas you need to address and then move on from there. Just guessing won’t get you anywhere fast.