Is their any other benefit of stretching other than relaxing muscle and preventing future injury? And please also discuss "Recovery" and does a sport-massage help in recharging muscles?
"Stretching can be helpful but not always. You need to assess the individual and find out why they need to stretch, which 'types' of stretching they should do, and well which specific muscle groups they need to stretch and which ones they shouldn't.
Normally people stretch because it relaxes them (mechanoreceptors will calm the nervous system). However, in gyms, stretches are done to make individuals move better. But movement dysfunctions are not only due to lack of mobility. They are more due to poor stability and poor motor control (people haven't earned their stability cause they don't move any more). You might have tight hamstrings or hip but statically stretching your hamstrings or hip will never get you to squat with proper form if you have not learnt what a good squat is like and if you don't know how you can progressively improve your squats (motor control and stability).
Remember, the body doesn't think muscle group. The body thinks movement. This brings us to the next point which is specificity.
Powerlifters normally don't stretch too much, bodybuilders would do a set and stretch that same muscle they are working statically, track and field athletes would rarely do static stretches before exercise and martial artists will would do all sorts of stretches. They all have one thing in common; They will do WHAT WORKS FOR THEM.
You need to be specific and find out which stretching works for you and your sport (PNF, Static, Dynamic). As much as stretching can be good the wrong ones can be detrimental in your progress and even increase the chances of injury.
We don't do any static stretches before workout (we don't need to relax muscles before workout, we need to excite the nervous system) but we do at least 5 to 7 minutes of dynamic warm up and mobility drills before resistance training. We have our bodybuilding clients statically stretch the muscles they are working between sets and some of our clients do static stretches 'after' their workouts when they are pretty warm. We give special attention to mobility drills though."
"It's very easy to over-train. Or I must say 'under-recover' from workout to workout. Massage is good. Helps with blood flow and taking waste products out of tissues, good for adrenal recovery, releases good recovery hormones, opens up fascia and releases trigger points. I make sure I get one every week or every other week. However, for the same reasons too much of it will make it addictive. And when it's addictive it's never enough. And if you over-do this you not only decrease body's ability to naturally recover but also will get its working out of balance. These same trigger points and lines of tension serve a purpose. I personally have experienced two chronic pains as a result of over doing this. Once I realized my back was not perfect and there was always this pain and tiredness in the low back. This was not long after I had started massaging my glutes everday for 10 to 15 minutes. Another instance was when I developed excruciating elbow pain and this was right after I had started massaging the traps for half an hour daily. Guess what, I stoped doing those and the pains went away. I was 'relaxing' or I would say making my glutes and traps lazier and the next muscle groups were compensating. There's always an optimal level."
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