This series of blogets will examine commonly held flexibility beliefs that miss the mark. Some may have a grain of truth, applying some of the time for some people, but rigidly holding onto these ideas often holds you back.
Last blog covered:
Myth 1: Tight muscles are weak muscles
Myth 2: Stretching shouldn't be painful
Myth 3: There is no point in passive stretching
If you find these enlightening, join our 2-hour theory-based Flexibility Optimisation workshop. It is suitable for anyone interested in getting the most out of their flexibility training.
-Reach your goals faster
-Reduce your injury risk
-More rewarding training
Myth 4: Stretching is dangerous
Injuries happen, and there is risk associated with all activities, including inactivity.
Stretching is a low-risk activity, especially compared with other forms of exercise that can include the risk of life-threatening injuries such as concussions, brain injuries, and spinal injuries (e.g. contact sports).
Most stretching related injuries are overload/overuse injuries. You have either been consistently training at a high load without adequate recovery, progressed the load of your training too quickly, or both. Stress, illness, pain, inadequate nutrition/hydration, poor sleep and lack of work-life balance also add load to your system and increase your risk of injury.
Myth 5: People with joint hypermobility shouldn’t train flexibility
First of all, they already do. A good proportion of gymnasts, divers, dancers and contortionists meet the criteria for joint hypermobility as per the Brighton Scoring system. These athletes perform incredible feats of strength and control that far surpass the abilities of the average person without hypermobility. Intense training, including flexibility training, supports resilience, even in those who would usually be deemed to have unstable/problematic joints.
Often those with hypermobile joints are taught to be over-cautious. They start to feel vulnerable and avoid activities they believe are too risky for them. This becomes a self-fulfilling cycle as they lose strength, joint control and awareness, then injure or lose confidence and, ultimately, avoid even more. It becomes difficult for them to improve their function and realise their abilities. If an interest in flexibility training helps to prevent this trap, it is a good thing.
Finally, flexibility training should be goal-based and focus on individual weaknesses. For example, for people with symptomatic joint hypermobility, attention is usually best spent working on joint control and strength through range to achieve their goals.