Stretching is a cure all, or so we are led to believe. Stretch before and after exercise, every morning, during breaks at work.
On the rare occasions when we do get around to stretching, we typically overdo it. We want to ‘really feel’ the stretch and ‘know that we are getting out the knots’.
Our muscle spindles are there to protect us from over enthusiasm. They stimulate a muscle contraction to prevent overstretch and possible tearing of a muscle.
The bottom line is that stretching too deeply and too quickly causes the exact opposite of what we are trying to do: The muscle shortens in contraction.
Next time you stretch remember to:
1. Lean into the stretch until you feel initial resistance
2. Wait there until the muscle allows you to go a little further.
You won’t break a sweat, but your muscles will thank you.