A stretch too far? Important advice from Guildford's exercise experts
13th December 2011
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A stretch too far?

Tight, weak muscles are commonplace both in exercise newbies and seasoned athletes, and devoting some time to flexibility and corrective protocols is always a good thing. However, it's important to understand which muscles actually require attention. Stretching both sides of the body in the presence of an asymmetry will, at best, maintain that imbalance, whilst stretching all muscle groups regardless of your postural status could potentially exacerbate any shortcomings.

Take neck pain for example. Whilst it is possible to have compromised connective tissue or joint alignment in and around the cervical spine (the 7 vertebrae at the top of your spine), a common cause of neck pain (the smoke) can also be a lack of shoulder mobility or scapular stability (the fire). This results in the shoulder doing less work than it really should, leaving the muscles of the neck doing overtime and becoming fatigued. So whilst the problem is in the shoulder, the neck is the part that complains. Therefore doing a ton of neck stretches is not the answer. Regaining proper function of the shoulder is.

My advice here is to seek expert advice if you have tight, sore muscles or loss of mobile range. A thorough movement screen and kinetic chain assessment will soon highlight where the real problem lies and enable you to establish an appropriate course of action, which will ultimately lead to faster, pain free results. Hurrah!


About the Author

Charlotte O

Member since: 13th February 2012

Owner of Godalming based fitness club, Phoenix Pro Fitness, trainer on ITV1's weight loss show, The Biggest Loser, & also strength and conditioning coach to the England lacrosse team. Personal Trainer...

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