Stretch or Strengthen? That is the Question! by Tyler Campbell

Stretch or Strengthen? That is the
Question!

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the importance of hamstring flexibility in the golf swing. I mentioned how at times the hamstrings don’t always need to be stretched, but rather, strengthened to help them function properly. So when exactly, should you be stretching versus strengthening certain muscles throughout your body? Just because “you’re tight” doesn’t mean stretching is the answer.

When assessing someone’s posture we look for imbalances and asymmetries in their standing posture as well as how they move dynamically. This leads us to determining whether a muscle group is overactive and tight or underactive and weak. Overactive muscles become so because they are relied upon more than they should be. Underactive muscles are supposed to be helping support the movements that the dominant overactive muscle is performing. However, over time when they aren’t called upon they become “turned off” (inhibited) and weak. When a muscle is overactive and tight, it is beneficial to stretch and allow that group of muscles to relax while at the same time working to activate and strengthen the underactive muscle group that is inhibited and weak which will help you find the balance we refer to in your posture.

There are certainly instances where an underactive muscle will be in a chronically lengthened state and as a result appear “tight.” This happens often with the hamstring group as I talked about in my previous article. As a result of the pelvis becoming anteriorly tilted due to the tightness of the hip flexor group, the hamstrings get pulled taut. This is a prime example where strengthening the hamstrings while lengthening the hip flexors would allow the pelvis to find a more neutral position.

This concept is one that in theory seems basic, but in practicality can be pretty complex. Solving this puzzle is the name of the game, and we are here to help do just that. If you have not had your physical evaluation completed in the past six months, now is the time. Reach out to me or Kyle to schedule it today!

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