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Stretching May Not Be Helping

Many believe that sports physical therapy and even some of performance training should consist of a great deal of stretching.

However, every component of injury rehabilitation or training should have a definitive purpose. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, what do I hope to gain from stretching this area and does this area need to be stretched?

As with most things, the answer is that it depends and begins by understanding why a muscle has become stiff in the first place.

Muscles become stiff when they are in a shortened position for long periods of time and wind up feeling stiff. Muscles remain in a shortened position when the body stays in one position for too long (such as staying sitting or standing all day at work) or when the body is stressed the same way repeatedly (ex. When we repetitively move in the same way without variety).

Adding some variety to the movements that you perform daily may be the solution to fixing “tight” muscles!

Stretching an area that feels stiff without correcting the reason that it became stiff in the first place will waste your time.

As a side note, a muscle may also become stiff to protect against an injury (very common with back pain) and stretching this area can increase the risk of experiencing an injury!

Next time you think of stretching a muscle, don’t forget to ask yourself why this muscle stiff in the first place!

What All Rotational Athletes Must Be Capable Of

Low back pain with golf or arm pain with throwing. At our performance physical therapy practice, we see this constantly. 

Swinging a golf club, throwing a baseball and hitting a tennis ball involve a great deal of rotation. Many areas of the body should be involved in these movements, however that is not always the case.

It is common to see baseball pitchers that are experiencing arm issues demonstrate the habit of trying to “arm” the ball as they throw it. There is not much contribution from the legs which places a great deal of stress on the arm and over time results in overuse injuries. 

Many golfers and tennis players experience lower back pain because they do not effectively link the power that they generate in the lower body through the trunk, into the upper body and ultimately to the head of the club. As a result they compensate elsewhere, placing increased stress onto the lower back.

The rotational row is a great drill to train the body to generate rotational power through the legs and connect it through the trunk. View this exercise here.

Once you have mastered the rotational row and learned how to link the power generated in the lower body to the trunk, we can now add in the upper body! The rotational lift trains the body to generate rotational power through the legs and connect it through the trunk and arms. Check this exercise out here.

Interested in learning more ways you can address lower back pain while enjoying your active lifestyle? Sign up for a FREE phone consultation today!