Stretch to Improve Your Performance

Maintaining good flexibility helps to improve your strength, athleticism, and overall performance. No matter the sport, proper flexibility is key if you want to perform at your absolute best.  When you improve your flexibility you improve your joints’ range of movement as well. Greater mobility in the joints allows for better movement and a better swimming technique.  There are two basic types of stretching:  static and dynamic.  Static stretching loosens and relaxes the muscles.  Dynamic stretching helps improve the range of motion around your joints.

 

Before practice and/or competition Warm-up stretches reduce the incidence and likelihood of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries and increase range of motion (ROM).

  • At least 5 minutes of aerobic activity that increases your core temperature by 1-2 degrees Celsius – walking, treadmill
  • 3 to 5 minutes static stretching has been demonstrated as an effective means to increase ROM resulting in improved performance, a decrease in subsequent muscle soreness and a reduction of the incidence of activity-related injuries.
  • Follow static stretching with 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching which is a safe in motion warm up which enhances muscular performance & power and increase body awareness

Examples:

  1. arm circle
  2. forward lunge while engaging your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves helps loosen up your posts and hips
  3. side lunge touching heel

 

At the end of the swimming or competition the body is warmed up and therefore easier to stretch and achieve wider ROM (range of motion)

*High-level swimmers stretch for over an hour each day, both before and after the workout.

 

Stretching as part of recovery (post swimming /competition) reduces the chance of injury and enhance stroke technique during subsequent swims. Stretching increases blood flow to muscles, therefore increases flexibility and range of motion, stimulates the passage of amino acids (building blocks of protein) into muscles, accelerates protein synthesis in cells, and inhibits protein breakdown.

It plays a very important role in the recovery process and in preparing for the next training session.

Stretch when muscles are warmed-up.

  • Stretch major muscle groups (lower leg, upper leg, back, shoulders, neck).
  • Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds repeat 2 or 3 times
  • Do not bounce as it leads to injury
  • NOTE *If you stretch and feel pain, you may be at risk of tearing a muscle or minor injury (DO NOT PANICK ASK /TELL YOUR COACH)
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe freely and stay relaxed as you stretch

 

Overall there are tremendous benefits of stretching such as preventing sports related injuries and improving overall bodily function

  • Helping to correct muscle imbalances
  • Increasing the range of motion
  • Decreasing excessive muscle tension caused by shortened muscles
  • Improving the health of the musculotendinous junction
  • Helping to maintain normal functional length of muscles
  • Stretching increases blood flow and circulation

MAKE IT FUN! BUT ALWAYS SAFE!

 

Anka B.

Natural Health Consultant,MBC/LMT, Thai/Yoga/Flexibility Stretches

917-421-0101

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