Avoiding Injuries With Stretching and Foam Rolling

You may have read my last blog post Pushing Past Plateaus and Avoiding Injuries, this blog is part of a new series to follow that post.

Erin Shaw Hamstring Hurdler Stretch

So you really hate stretching and foam rolling and don’t think that it does you any good, it’s a waste of time right? It’s never done much for you before anyways. I hate to break it to you but these methods are some of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent injury, and fix movement compensations, in correlation with strengthening your underactive (weak or under-utilized) muscles; this method is often referred to as corrective exercise.

How the heck do you know what muscles are overactive/underactive anyways? Well lucky for you any well-educated personal trainer should be able to perform a series of assessments (movement and postural) for you to be able to determine the answers. Overactive muscles are muscles that are overused and are in constant contraction or “take charge” in a certain movement. Therefore these muscles become tight and shortened off, causing the opposing musculature to become overstretched; resulting in that muscle being underactive and weak. Due to the sedentary nature of most jobs there are certain muscles that are commonly overactive. Sitting and being hunched over typically cause’s tight/overactive hip flexors, upper traps, chest and lats. On the contrary these same daily habits cause underactive/weak glutes, external rotator cuff, rhomboids & mid/lower traps because these muscles are in a constant stretched position. Overactive muscles can be fixed short term with stretching and rolling, but in order to solve the problem the underactive muscles need to be strengthened to create a balance within the body.

It is pretty simple to generalize most of the population into a grouping of individuals that have most of the same overactive/underactive musculature based off of our anatomy. What these assessments do is lets us dig a little further to determine the most probable causes and then we can move forth from there. Once determined, foam rolling and stretching can be utilized. Pin pointing these specific areas can save A LOT of time and help to get the most out of your mobility routine. Corrective exercise and mobility training can prevent injuries by working together to balance out an individual’s muscular imbalances. It is always easier to take the steps to prevent injury rather than it is to rehab an injury.

How to integrate corrective exercise and mobility into your routine:

  1. Loosen off the overactive muscles prior to exercise via foam rolling or stretching to make sure that the underactive muscles can be used to their full potential.
  2. Strengthen the underactive muscles during the exercise session with exercises that specifically isolate that muscle, and also choosing compound exercises (multiple muscle groups being used at once) that will also target that specific muscle group.
  3. Stretch or foam roll the muscles used during your workout to reduce post-workout soreness.

Keep an eye out for the next post to follow this series!

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