All anyone has been hearing about in the news lately is Lance Armstrong. Whether we know him or not, we know about the controversy surrounding his cycling career from the media outlets everywhere. What hasn’t been the focus is the intense training that cyclists must endure to compete at such a high level.
But WHEN should an athlete stretch? This is the cause for a lot of controversy. Traditionally it has been recommended that people should stretch at the end of a long workout or ride because muscles are warm and receptive to the gentle pulling and elongation that stretching provides. More recently, the concept of ‘dynamic stretching’ has become popular because it allows athletes to warm up with basic motions (the same or similar to what they would be doing during their workout) before actually exhausting them with a full workout.
I personally think BOTH are great options. Stretching a cold muscle in a slow passive way (like an Achilles tendon stretch before you get out of bed in the morning!) will help prepare your muscles for the day and will help avoid tearing at insertion points. If cold muscles are not stretched, it can lead to tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. Stretching after a workout is a great way to cool down and elongate those tired muscles before they get the chance to tighten up on you.
Please contact us at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates, 309-661-9975, to schedule an appointment if you aren’t able to be “Stretch Armstrong” yet yourself!