Warming up is a part of sports practice that should not be ignored under any circumstances if you want to avoid injuries or muscle or joint damage. However, stretching will not change the risk of joint injury or damage despite what most general beliefs may think.
Stretches have to be seen, therefore, as one more exercise or one more part of the workouts that has nothing to do with warming up. “Stretching should be interpreted as exercising,” says physiotherapist Eduardo Alastrué (collegiate number 1611).
This approach is due to the impact that this practice has on the muscle. “Stretching continues to be a tensioning of the muscles involved that sends information to the central nervous system and that it will interpret and execute according to the stimulus we are giving it, “he explains.
For this reason, stretching should not be viewed as a part of the warm-up but rather as a way to exercise the muscles and improve certain physical capacities such as flexibility. This ability, for example, will allow you to have a greater range and amplitude of movement when practicing certain sports.
In this sense, warming up must be an essential first step when doing sports, as it will prevent injuries and help prepare the body and joints for exercise. But not just any kind of activation.
“General warm-ups in which the joints move in a totally nonspecific and nonsensical way are not warm-up,” says this physiotherapist. To perform this part correctly, Alastrué explains that the warm-up must be based on “a series of specific exercises that prepare the structure, the joints, the nervous system and the muscles involved in order to be able to carry out the training in a much more efficient way “.
So, When should stretching be included and how? “Stretching should go as a scheduled and progressive exercise, with the objective of working in the maximum range of joint movement possible, at the end of training”, resolves Eduardo Alastrué.
Contrary to what is done at the beginning of training, which has to be understood as a set of specific exercises aimed at to improve performance in the exercises of the subsequent training.
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