Stretching for Recovery

I see a lot of reports on the news that say Americans don’t do enough this or do too much of this.  For the most part, if you are training and eating right, most of these studies don’t apply to you.  However, one thing that many people, including racers do not do is stretch.  A lot of people, myself included, need to stretch every day; not only when you get up, but before and after workouts.  I am not saying to do yoga every day, but taking a few minutes will make a big difference on the track.

There are a few categories of stretching, but the 3 main ones are static, dynamic and ballistic.  Static stretching is your typical gym class warm up.  These last about 30 seconds or so and are held in position.  For example, toe touches and holding your arm across you chest would be considered static.  Dynamic stretching is done in a circular motion.  This is perfect for shoulders, ankles and any joints with a large degree of motion.  The final category is ballistic.  This should be done after some sort of warm up because this incorporates bouncing.  Doing ballistic stretching first thing may do more harm than good as you may tear and pull something.

Obviously, the whole idea behind stretching is injury prevention.  Whenever you watch a football game, both teams warm up and stretch before the game and again at the beginning of the half.  Even if you take a 15 or 20 minute break, it is a good idea to stretch before each of your motos.  In the morning, I will get the bikes out, get my pants and jersey on, and then proceed to do some static stretching.  You really want to hit all of the major muscle groups such as your legs, back, chest and shoulders.  Then you can do some jumping jacks or push ups to get the blood flowing.  If it a little chilly, it may be in your best interest to throw in some ballistic stretching.

As I said before, if you have taken a break between your motos, you really should do some sort of stretching to loosen up your joints and muscles.  Finding sore or tense spots and loosening them up will help with recovery.  You will increase the blood flow to get extra oxygen to help rebuild yourself.  That is why you cool down and stretch after every workout; whether it is a cardio or strength session.  I guarantee that incorporating this into your program will help with recovery and your overall training program.

Posted on Aug 27 2010, under Training | No Comments »

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