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Training Modalities

Stretching, Foam Rolling


As mentioned in the Warm-Up/ Cool-Down section, there different types of stretching and specific purposes of each. We will focus on two main types.

Dynamic stretching is used as a warm up to take muscles and joints through motions that will be similar to what the body experiences during exercise. Doing 8 – 10 repetitions of these movements gets muscles and joints that you plan to use moving with progressively more range of motion. Avoid forceful ballistic movements and extreme range of motion or tissues may be damaged. Movement should not be continued if there is pain. If pain is only felt at or near the end range of motion, then only go through motion that does not cause pain.

Static stretching is saved for after the workout to aid in elongating the muscles when they are done working but still warm. This involves holding muscles and tissues in lengthened positions for a set period of time. A static stretch should be held for 30 seconds to allow the muscles to accept the stretch. The intensity of the stretch should feel slightly uncomfortable. Tolerating greater levels of discomfort does not mean you will get a better stretch.

Static stretching should focus on muscles that are typically tight and in need of more permanent elongation. For example, commonly tight muscles include calves, hips flexors, hamstrings, latissimus dorsi (lats), and pectoral muscles (chest).

  • Calf muscles tend to be tight and we can thank shoe design for this. Most shoes slant upwards from the toe to the heel, which puts calf muscles in a continuously shortened position. This can affect ankle range of motion. Ankles are supposed to have a lot of mobility, but this becomes limited when calf muscles are in shortened position for most of the day.
  • Hip flexors are the muscles in the front of the hips that allow us to flex the hip (think pulling the knee up). These muscles remained shortened when we are seated. When we sit for long periods of time, these muscles can get tight and can benefit from additional stretching.
  • Hamstrings are also in a shortened position when we are seated. If hamstrings and hips flexors are tight, then proper hip motion becomes limited which can cause low back pain. When hip mobility is limited, people use their low back to make up for it when bending over or lifting objects. Instead of using the hips, knees, and ankles to bend down while activating our core to support the spine, we round the spine which causes strain on it.
  • Lats and chest muscles become shortened when maintaining an improper seated posture. The shoulders round forward, causing additional strain on the neck and back.


A Guide to Physical Fitness Copyright © by Jen Hilker. All Rights Reserved.

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