A few more tips of Matteo Cigala (ex Italian international and continental pro) and end of season offer below (Cigala Cycling) Photo’s courtesy of Toby Watson How many of you can correctly perform stretching, so as to derive maximum benefits for sports performance? HOW and WHEN to do it? Stretching, is a fundamental and an integral part of an athlete’s life, and it should be carried out daily as it helps:
– to increase muscles and tendons elasticity (increasing consequently the muscular strength), – to prevent joint trauma, – to improve the ability to move, – to stimulate joint lubrication and synovial fluid contained in the joint capsule, – to have benefits in the cardiovascular, respiratory and neural systems But WHEN does a stretching session take place?
The moment depends on the stretching objective, therefore, for example, for a session aimed at warming up, the exercises are performed cold and with medium/fast dynamic movements.
And again, for a slow stretching, static and postural, it is FUNDAMENTAL to stretch the muscles when the latter are sufficiently warm: after a training session or after a light warm-up.
To explain the reason I give a trivial example: the muscles can be seen just like a sponge (warm muscles = sponge soaked in water, cold muscles = dry sponge).
Well, now I ask you this question: have you ever tried to squeeze a dry sponge? And a wet one?
The risk of performing this type of cold stretching, especially if done badly, could result in a muscle sprain (hyper elongation of the fibers) resulting in injury.
This last type of stretching is the one most commonly used and is what interests us most, also to promote muscle recovery.
In addition, stretching needs its time, in fact, it must be done slowly and progressively, using breathing, with a phase of tension easier (15-20 sec), a more intense development (10-15 seconds) and a cooldown (10 seconds).
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Regards, Matteo Cigala
Founder & Head Coach