We are moving slowly and certainly further, we have already clarified some foundation. Last time we talked mainly about proper posture, determining short-term goals with respect to the long-term goal.
Today, we will start doing something more specifically. The main content of today’s work will be facts about stretching, core and breathing.
Stretching, flexibility, mobility
You can read separate articles on this topic here and here .
Today’s task will be mainly arguments why stretching is so important for a beginner.
Of course, stretching is important for every athlete, either to speed up regeneration or to prevent injuries.
In the case of a beginner, the need for stretching is very important, especially in terms of the already mentioned correct posture and the overall mobility of our body.
Proper posture vs. flexibility
We will not repeat ourselves, but of course we need to know the points that we mentioned in the previous part and on which we will now proceed.
Shortened and weakened muscles significantly affect the posture of our body. If the shortened structures are really inflexible, this is often reflected in our efforts to evoke the right stereotypes that we have set, and to set the body in the right position is practically impossible.
If we succeed, but one thing still threatens – at the slightest load, the muscles are primarily activated, which we do not want to activate, but their dominance will unfortunately not allow it and our body will set itself in a faulty stereotype of posture.
That is why it is necessary for us to be able to move in all joints of the physiological range of motion, we will list a few basic and important ones, and I also list the muscles that need to be stretched.
It is mainly a natural posture and position of the head – it should not be advanced and tilted. These defective stereotypes most affect the trapezius muscle and the sternocleidomastoid muscle by their tendency to shorten.
One should not have a problem with the flexion of the cervical spine placing the chin in the cervical socket (clavicle junction) and tilting the head without elevating the shoulders by at least 45 °.
Otherwise, stretch to focus on stretching the aforementioned muscles.
The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint of the human body, it includes all possible movements – flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, rotation. Therefore, many muscle groups participate in the movements in these joints.
The most important muscles that significantly limit us are the three – pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and deltoideus (generally the anterior part). Their shortening causes shoulder protraction, hyperkyphotic holding of the thoracic spine and greatly reduces the mobility of the arms behind the frontal axis of the body.
One of the test exercises is lying on your back with outstretched lower limbs and lifting – we emphasize pressing the lumbar region to the ground and then it is important to focus on the arms in lifting, whether the elbows are placed on the ground next to the head or the chest and deltoid muscles. rises from the pad.
When stretching, it is necessary to focus on external rotation, centered shoulders and tightening.
People most often deal with this area, albeit incorrectly, in connection with the abdominal muscles. The shortening of the muscles in the area of this part directly causes the lumbar hyperlordotic posture and reduced mobility of the lumbar spine – the inability to round the back in this section.
The test exercise can be a gradual rolling of a bent forward bend from a standing position, where it can be visibly recognized from the side whether the back is flat or rounded in this area.
Stretching can be done with the same exercise with endurance or a series of breathing exercises with emphasis on the breath into the area. We focus on the quadratus lumborum and iliopsoas .
Today’s stereotype of posture – constant sitting and inactivity – leads to overload of this part, visible signs are again lumbar hyperlordosis and the impossibility of falling behind the vertical axis.
The most dominant muscle in this area is the already mentioned iliopsoas . The test exercise is lying on a raised surface, hips on the edge. By pulling one leg by the knee to the chest, we ensure that the pelvis is underlaid and the hips are pulled to the mat, the other leg hangs freely, and by the angle it makes, we find a shortening of the lumbar muscle. If the thigh is higher than horizontal, the muscle is shortened.
The hind thighs, like the hips, are affected by a sedentary lifestyle. Test their shortening while lying on your back, lifting the outstretched lower limb into the air, if the angle between the legs and the ground is not at least 80 °, you really have work to do.
We stretch mainly the biceps femoris muscle .
It is not a matter of becoming “snake people” and putting your foot behind your head. The point is that the overloaded muscles do not limit you and do not interfere with your efforts to maintain the correct posture.
General principles of stretching
Always pay extra attention to warming up your whole body before you stretch your muscles to increase flexibility. At least 10 minutes of even activity will start and sufficiently permeate the tissues that we are going to use safely.
Stretch regularly, at least once a day, ideally in the evening. Of course, a better option would be to include stretching in the morning and in the daily program.
In the case of training, stretch what is really at a pathetic level, well before the training and completely really well after the training.
Last at least 15 seconds in each stretching position, slow down and deepen your breathing and try to relax more with your exhale.
Always move smoothly and slowly to the maximum ranges.
You have also read enough about the importance of the core body in relation to posture. For example here and here .
Muscles of the body core:
- Transverse abdominal muscle (m. Transversus abdominis)
- Pelvic floor (diaphragma pelvis)
- Deep muscles of the spine (especially mm. Rotatores, mm. Multifidi)
If we learn the principles of proper posture and activation of the core muscles, we can begin to create virtually any movement and its stability is ensured.
Every movement involves the work of the muscle core, forming a kind of transmission between the other segments of the body.
It is important for the safety and health of your body that the core works really well. But there is no need to worry extra – once you learn to use this complex, its activity should gradually automate, and its involvement should work independently without your excessive knowledge.
An issue that is often addressed too much. I hear “when to inhale and when to exhale” questions from clients and people in general on a daily basis.
The answer that is most often received is a simple “just breathe” instruction.
The worst thing is when you start thinking about it unnecessarily. The human body is terribly smart and will definitely not allow it to suffer from a lack of oxygen, and it will set itself the ideal stereotype of when to inhale and when to exhale.
Respiratory stereotype – localization
But one thing is important, and that is where we breathe.
In women, upper chest breathing is common and frequent, during which they place a significant strain on the pectoral muscles and anterior deltas – as a result, they often have more pronounced shoulder protractions. Abdominal breathing is common in men – we literally roll the abdominal wall.
The ideal localization is somewhere in between. The ideal breathing is the so-called diaphragmatic, which is aimed under the last pairs of ribs to the sides and ideally to the hip area.
If we start working on this breathing, we should master the activation of the body core (see above), which is involved in this breathing stereotype.