Better Than Stretching™ for Martial Arts
Flexibility is crucial for Martial Arts! And now there is something you can do that is Better Than Stretching™ to increase it!
As martial artists, we’ve been taught to stretch to become more flexible and to reduce the risk of injury.
Stretching does not prevent injury!
Stretching often causes injury, both directly and indirectly. The direct injuries caused by stretching are rather obvious:
- How many of you have, or know someone who has, stretched a little too hard and “POP!” a burning pain shoots through the limb? Well, tears in muscles, ligaments and connective tissue are commonly caused by over-stretching.
- Another direct injury caused by stretching that is harder to see is joint deformation. You know those martial arts or yoga guys who can scratch the back of their head with their big toe while keeping their knees straight? They’ve stretched so much that the head of the femur (leg bone) pulls out of the acetabulum (hip socket). Their structural integrity has been compromised and can never be recovered.
Now these direct injuries are avoidable. You say stretch with caution and moderation. I say there is something Better Than Stretching™for martial arts. I’ll explain further in just a bit. But first, lets explore the indirect injuries of stretching. There are too many to list individually so I will elucidate the root cause.
Stretching increases the potential for injury by increasing your range of motion (R.O.M.) around a joint, while simultaneously decreasing your strength and ability to control that joint!
Have you ever noticed that when you first start to stretch, the muscle that you are stretching tightens up? Your muscle’s initial reaction is to contract. This defense mechanism is called a “stretch reflex.” (creative name huh?) You keep stretching and after a while the reflex is overridden and the muscle relaxes
There are cells in your muscles called stretch receptors that relay information about length and tension in that muscle. These receptors become desensitized with chronic stretching (a.k.a. abuse!). And most “stretching experts” talk about this like it’s a good thing.
But it’s not!
Stretch receptors play a vital role in strength production!
Now this is going to be a gross over simplification of the neuromuscular system: but, basically your brain sends a signal (alpha) to your muscle to contract, and this impulse is reinforced with the stretch reflex (gamma). This is called Alpha Gamma Co-Activation and is responsible for about 50% of muscular activation!
Now I’m hoping that your education is current enough to know that strength is extremely important for the fighting arts. I mention this because when I started training 20 years ago instructors actually told me strength and size did not matter! The conventional wisdom at the time also told us that weight training makes you slow! If by some chance your understanding of kinesiology has not lead you to denounce these myths yet, then I can’t even imagine what you’re doing at this site.
(Sorry for that little outburst!) So, as I was saying, strength is extremely important! And stretching forces you to sacrifice strength to gain flexibility!
Oh! If only there was a way for martial artists to increase active R.O.M. without compromising strength!
(Insert Blatant sales pitch HERE:)
The Better Than Stretching Workout™
- is the newest innovation in strength and flexibility training
- will create strength and R.O.M. at the same time
- protects your muscles, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue
- In other words, unlike stretching, truly prevents injury!
What's your current potential for injury?
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