stretchesI’ve been reading a number of articles on the above and would be interested to hear the opinions of others on this great debate but I do believe that perhaps the idea of stretching needs to be given a little more focus into 2015 so that we as fitness professionals really educate our clients more about how the body works so that they consider their flexibility in their training programme.

Firstly I think we need to understand what happens to muscles when they work. A muscle will react to the push and pull of everyday life and contract (shorten) under tension and then relax (lengthen) under tension as necessary to help us do our daily activities. It cannot however be made longer through stretching. I think we need to clarify that it is not length that we are talking about really with muscles but differing degrees of tension. So if I have a heavy object to pick up, my muscles will tense to help me pick that object up and then relax as I put it down. However muscles never completely relax, they are always in a state of mild tension otherwise our body would collapse in a heap on the floor!

So if you are feeling tightness or tension in your muscles, then yes we do need to try to do movement that brings the muscles out of there over tense state so your movement feels fluid. This takes time and effort and a realisation that always coming out of a fitness session aching and less able to move than when you started is not necessarily a good thing.