Most stretching related injuries are overload/overuse injuries. You have either been consistently training at a high load without adequate recovery, or have progressed the load of your training too quickly, or both.
Load is not just the volume, frequency and intensity of exercise. Other health and lifestyle factors are significant contributors to the overall load on your system. Some days the same training will constitute a greater load, and you need to modify your activity, reduce this load, or increase your active recovery to balance things out. The biggest’ loaders’ of your system are stress, illness, pain, inadequate nutrition/hydration, poor sleep and lack of work-life balance.
Flexibility related training injuries usual occur following:
- A change in your programing
- A sudden or dramatic increased your training load
- Being unwell
- Periods of increased stress
- Poor sleep (athletes who sleep an average of less than 8 hours a night are 1.7 times more likely to be injured in training than those who average more than 8 hours of sleep a night!)
There are times that you can’t reduce the load of all of these health and lifestyle concerns, but you can learn when these factors are increasing your risk of injury more than usual.
Key signs not to ignore when training flexibility are:
- Increasing muscle tension at rest
- More niggles, or increased pain at rest
- Morning stiffness
- More sensitive to pain / things that are not usually painful are / usually painful things are more painful
- Frequently unable to stretch as far
- Increasing generally fatigued
- Active recovery activities are no longer helping as much
These are indications that your body is being more protective and a sign that you are more vulnerable than usual. If you wake up stiff one morning, it’s probably not a big issue; however, if you are feeling increasingly tired, sore and are unable to stretch as far, it’s worth reducing the load of your training and increasing your active recovery to try to reduce your risk of injury.
Want to learn more? Book an appointment to see one of our expert Physiotherapists or Flexibility coaches.