Let me set the Scene:
This is going to be a very short post based on a conversation I’ve had with a training crew we’ve currently got running. This crew are a bunch of new and veteran
athletes that undergo VERY challenging workouts over a 4 week period to drastically increase their all around fitness to be able to take on just about anything – Half Marathons, Triathlons, Obstacle Courses…you name it, we train for it. We push physically, psychologically, and even though some of the guys and gals won’t admit it yet – they are far and away above the fitness of your average gym-goer. Proud coach aside – i’m also not talking bullsh*t either.
Getting Better Can Stop You:
Yeah – hang on, i’m getting there – this post is about body maintenance and in the interest of keeping it from straying into scientific terminology….we can put together a BASIC synopsis as follows:
This level of training – power, speed, strength, endurance – yields some amazing
results – it also requires a real focus on looking after yourself. Food, Rest and Body Maintenance become rather important. As you get stronger, faster and more powerful – your muscle fibers change accordingly. They get stronger, they can bunch harder and faster….and they also tend to shorten. I.e you get WORSE at range of motion. This can happen so much that even in a resting position, they apply tension to the joint and it can feel like they constantly RUB. ITB’s are a great example of this, with glute’s being exceptionally tight, pulling the ITB and causing a friction in the knee.
Yeah That Sucks….So Now What?
Let’s talk about Massage, Rolling and Stretching. They are not the same thing and they achieve different purposes. Massage and rolling are the most similar in they are are designed to relieve muscle and tendon/ligament tension and knots. They will NOT help your range of motion increase in a tight muscle. Stretching is designed to (somewhat) permanently increase the elastic (stretch) capabilities of your muscles, but generally
wont get rid of knots etc (though they do help with prevention).What i’m saying is – rather than trying to prevent soreness – this is now a MUST action otherwise your own fitness increases will literally stop you training……i’m not kidding. I’ve had ITB issues (runners knee) from not stretching. My shoulders and neck get insanely tight every time I get lazy and think “i’ll be right” – and then i can’t sleep.
Please – It’s incredibly important. The best time to stretch is IMMEDIATELY after your workout whilst the muscle is hot and elastic. Any stretching is better than no stretching. The second worst injury is one that you do to yourself.
The very worst is the one you do to yourself – that you could have easily avoided.
Fitness Thought Ammo.