Stretches to increase flexibility, good stretching routine for all types of athletes.
Stretching refers to tissue elongation – extending a material or substance from its resting length. This occurs as a continuum, so stretches can range from a minimal length to a maximum length. Flexibility describes the range of movement (ROM) possible around a joint. This varies considerably from one individual to the next and is dependent on several types of tissues.
What Tissues Are Elongated?
Muscle. Skeletal muscle has elastic properties similar to those of a rubber band: It can lengthen and return to a resting state. The length of a muscle cannot be increased by nervous impulse; therefore, an external force must be applied. Such external forces include gravity, momentum, an antagonist muscle group contracting, or application of an external force, such as a weight or using a partner or assistant.
Specialized nerve endings.
Muscle spindles (the stretch reflex) are located within muscles, and they detect the rate and length of stretch on a muscle. If the stretch is too fast or too far, these nerve endings stimulate the muscle to contract to protect itself from overstretching.
Golgi tendon organs (inverse stretch reflex) are nerve endings located in tendons. They are slower to respond to increased stretch or tension in the muscle. This is also a protective mechanism. When a great degree of tension is experienced, either through contracting or stretching the muscle, the Golgi tendon causes the muscle to relax to avoid possible rupturing.
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