June is stretching month at Bench Busters! Stretching is equally as important to strength exercise in the way of injury prevention. Stretching keeps range of motion in the joints, as well as maintains elasticity of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The balance of stretching and exercise helps to maintain the balance of strength and flexibility. Both work together to promote proper biomechanics through muscular balance. If one muscle gets abnormally tight, it can throw off the alignment of the entire body. Our bodies are a complex system of levers and pulleys. If something gets out of whack, your body compensates and adjusts to try and maintain balance.
For example, when one leg is dominant (which is often the case), the hip-flexor and quads will often do more work since that leg is usually the first one we use to walk up stairs or kick a ball. As a result, the psoas on that side of the body is stronger and most likely tighter. The unilateral tightness can pull the hips out of alignment, causing the pelvis to be tilted or rotated to one side. Because the pelvis is the foundation for which the spine rests, a tilted pelvis will result in a tilted spine. One hip being slightly higher will translate to one side of the lower back being shortened and contracted. Over time this will start to cause pain and discomfort. By performing the right combination of stretching and exercise, balance can be restored through improved alignment.
We hope you invest the small amount of time required to implement these stretches into your training regimen so that you can stay off the bench and in the game!