#1 Biggest Mistake with Stretching

Stretching is one of the most common routines done with exercise.  Some individuals perform it prior to exercising, during exercise, after, or part or some combination of all 3.  

Look at most well-structured training programs and there is some form of mobility work implemented in.  When used correctly, it can be a major staple to help improve and maintain mobility in order to decrease risk for injury and improve performance.

One of the biggest mistakes that accompanies stretching is only performing stretching.  To be more specific, performing a stretch or mobility drill is important, but not training the Central Nervous System (CNS) to be able to stabilize and control this “new mobility” is only setting an athlete up for failure.  This failure can include:

-Continued “Tightness”

-Injury

-Weakness, etc.

In the worlds of rehab, strength and conditioning, and performance, we need to make sure that our clients and athletes are training their bodies/CNS to be able to utilize this “new” found mobility in order to provide benefits to their training, sport, and/or everyday life.

For most people, just performing a stretch is spinning their wheels.  The stretch feels good, but eventually that tissue may “tighten up” and continue to feel tight until it is stretched again.

In order to maintain this “new mobility,” we want to make sure our athletes and clients are utilizing it and training their body to control it.

Here, we will discuss, joint by joint, ways to train the body to control mobility.

Shoulder

The shoulder is an inherently mobile joint.  Whether it be in the sagittal, frontal, or transverse planes, the shoulder is structurally and functionally very mobile.  Often times, mobility can be limited in the sagittal plane (flexion) or with external and internal rotation.

If you are finding that you are continually feeling “tight” into shoulder flexion, ER, or IR after performing your mobility drills, try implementing some of these drills.

Back to Wall Shoulder Flexion

 

Quadruped Assisted Reach, Roll, and Lift

Supine AROM Shoulder Flexion with Weight

Supine AROM ER/IR with Weight

Supine PVC Pipe Drags

Quadruped Assisted Thoracic Rotation

Seated Assisted Thoracic Rotation

Sidelying Assisted Thoracic Rotation

Hips

The hips are another area where mobility is important.  Stability, or control of that mobility is just as important.  If you are having difficulty maintaining mobility in any of the areas of the hip, give these drills a try.

Hip Extension

Cook Hip Lift

Quadruped Assisted Hip Extension

Tall Kneeling Core Activated Hip Hinge

Hip ER/IR

Supine Assisted Hip ER/IR

Quadruped Assisted Hip ER/IR

Tall to ½ Kneeling Hip ER/IR Walkouts

Hamstrings

Supine Core Activated Active Straight Leg Raise

Assisted Leg Lowering

Leg Lowering Progression

Ankle

The ankle is another important area for mobility.  It is necessary to have adequate ankle mobility for squatting, deadlifting, and any other athletic endeavor.  If you are dealing with ankles that improve in mobility, but then regress, give these options a try!

Bilateral Plantarflexion to Single Leg Eccentric

There you have it!  Now, before you go off and start just doing all of these “correctives,” two things!

  1. There are many variations that can accomplish the same thing.  If one does not maintain an improvement, try another variation.  Two people can present with ie. a hip extension limitation, but one exercise may work for one person and not for the other.

  2. The second, but most important is that these correctives are additive in nature.  Meaning, find the 2-3 areas that need work the most and use the exercises to help improve your movement quality.

Then, get after it!  Go train and lift heavy!  Lifting heavy with good technique is going to be one of the best ways to maintain any improvements made with self-myofascial release, mobility, and motor control drills.

Andrew Millett