Bouncing/Moving while stretching. When stretching causes more harm than good.
Stretching is essential for maintaining our flexibility and muscle health. Every person should perform some kind of stretching daily despite what level of physical activity they may have.
Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles to increase flexibility and to improve and maintain joint range of motion. This allows for better blood flow through the muscles and also for higher performance. This also attributes to the elimination and avoidance of muscle pain.
Above we see a single leg standing quadriceps stretch. Whats the problem?. The person is not stabilised or balanced against any object. Thus allowing the muscle being stretched to move past the initial point of resistance numerous times as the person bounces to regain balance and moves the position of the leg being stretched.
Another common problem is when a person stretches in one position for 10 seconds and then performs a further lengthening of the stretch in the same position without releasing the muscle.
So whats the problem with both? These types of stretching techniques, or lack of technique, can be put under the umbrella of the label ballistic stretches. This bouncing and moving can cause microtrauma in the muscle, which must heal itself with scar tissue. The scar tissue then in turn tightens the muscle, making you less flexible, and more prone to pain. This type of repetitive stretching techniques can strain your muscles and tendons.
Basically you are then causing the problems that the stretching was trying to eliminate!
Simple rules for stretching. Make sure you are balanced, if you cannot balance then lie on the floor, lengthen the muscle to the initial point of resistance and hold for at least 30 seconds or more, release the muscle for 10 seconds or more then lengthen to the next point of resistance and hold for a further 30 seconds or more repeat the process as many times as needed.
Holding for 30 seconds or more allows the muscles spindles in our muscles to allow the muscle to get over the initial shock of being lengthened and relax into the stretch.