Deep Stretching to Increase Strength

Today we held our first Deep Stretch KBs class after our Strength and Movement class to aid in strength development, help prevent injury, identify asymmetries and to help us become better movers in general.

In this class, we do gentle, ground-based PNF and movement-pattern-based stretches from the RKC community, some with Kettlebells, also Functional Movement Screen (FMS) stretches and MovNat movements.

The Turkish Getup is still one of my favorite 'stretches' for gaining grace, power and strength. But we do plenty of those in our daily Strength and Movement classes, so I wanted to add another level stretching to our training.

We all start at different places in terms of our flexibility -- due to genetics, lifestyle, current activity level, the amount of sitting we do, and of course, how much stretching we do.

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We are stretching muscles and impacting where muscles and tendons meet and connect to bone. Stretching helps ease muscle tightness -- as tightness can increase our risk of muscle tears.

Stretching also helps identify left  / right asymmetries and general weaknesses that we'll continue to address with different movement strategies in our classes. Imbalances can lead to injury or movement compensations that can lead to aches/pains and injuries.

Stretching can also help prevent joint pain and ease the muscle pain associated with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

We warm up before training sessions with Dynamic stretches (moving, active) and some foam rolling in chronically tight areas.

Static, go-deep-and-hold stretches (10 to 30 seconds) are effective AFTER a training session to aid with muscle recovery.

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Did you know that stretching also directly impacts strength?

So if you look at stretching as a time-waster or 'light' training, start stretching and watch the changes in how you feel during training sessions and afterward in recovery. 

Movement patterns can be improved through stretching, as more muscle fibers get involved, and more flexible muscles mean more mobility.  

Enhanced mobility can increase your range of motion, in different ways, increase body awareness and help you to apply relaxation and tension more efficiently during strength training.

Being more limber can help you move more gracefully, manage a kettlebell or barbell with more control while increasing your overall fitness level  -- similar impact as Yoga or Pilates.

Stretching is a workout in itself, and this is geared to all fitness levels, so let's stretch and get stronger.