You Need a System, NOT Another Stretch.
The systems of body were designed with two very incredible feature’s in place.
Number one the ability to ADAPT (ie lift weight & get stronger, etc)
Number two the ability to PROTECT (ie get hot & start sweating etc)
We this protective and adaptive response occur when we get hurt. When an injury occurs at a joint, a muscle will SWELL and TIGHTEN up. This is our brains way of telling the joint it is injured. The brains brilliance limit’s how much the joint can move out of fear that further movement would create more problems.
The problem is ADAPTATION. If we stay in an immobile position for too long, then our brain recognizes and essentially does what it can to keep you in this position. If you were ever placed in a sling you know this first hand. You can easily remember the day you had the sling removed and just how hard it was to straighten your arm out again. Our muscles are built with protective features (golgi tendons) that can protect from from over-stretching. Once our muscles have shortened we have to first “trick” those tiny organelles first if we want to make change.
THUS, if we simply s t r e t c h something that is tight we could really just be triggering the brain to tighten it up even more.
This is why self massage techniques are so important for your pain relief exercise programs.
The goal of a self massage (foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, etc) program is to relax the tissue that is short and tight. Self massage techniques are used to ask the brain to slow down the signals being sent to the muscle/tissue that is doing too much so that we can ultimately use stretching techniques effectively.
Use the following video as an example of a full-body foam roller routine.