Baby Boomer’s Guide to Fitness
Baby Boomer Magazine Series
A Word on Stretching
As we have illustrated in previous articles, the human body, over time, develops imbalances.
For example, in most cases the pectorals are facilitated (strong) causing an inhibition (weakness) in the rhomboid (upper middle back) group.
These imbalances take place throughout all the muscle groups; Hamstrings (facilitated) and quadriceps (inhibited) is a good example.
My contention is that if a muscle group is already weak or flaccid, what would be the benefit of stretching it. I believe the inhibited or weaker muscle should be worked after the facilitated or stronger muscle group.
If the imbalance is pronounced, I will often suggest that a client refrain from working their facilitated group and train only the weaker group until balance is achieved. Again, if the muscles are long and weak, stretching is unnecessary if it will only facilitate laxity (looseness) in the joint.
I have found little or no benefit from passive stretching. It will cause severe muscle imbalances by weakening an already inhibited muscle group. How often have you seen a runner pulling his heel to his glutes causing severe flexion to the knee? This can cause micro tears to the quadriceps group and laxity to the patella tendon and ligaments of the knee.
This has become an almost automatic stretch before and after running and is completely unnecessary. Quite often the muscular discomfort after an activity is from the micro-tears in the muscles caused by the stretching rather than the activity itself.
Do not automatically stretch before or after your workout. If you follow the order in which the exercises are given you should not feel the need to stretch. If you feel sore or feel that you need to stretch your muscles, please contact a fitness professional in your area to learn the safe and proper techniques.
Robert Bresloff is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Therapist, Adaptive Fitness Specialist, a Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and Endurance Trainer with The International Sports Sciences Association. He owned and operated, Total Fitness Concepts Inc for 10 years. He has written for Masters Athlete Magazine, The Waukegan News Sun and trade e magazines and recently released his first fitness book, 'The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness"
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