Static Stretching & Dynamic Movements – Technical OverviewShawn Slevin
Our thanks to Coach Paul for taking a deeper dive into importance of Static Stretching and Dynamic Movements. We would all benefit by adding these to our daily routines.
Developing & incorporating a series of Dynamic Warm-Up Movements or routines should be a high priority. In a previous blog I have provided the reasons for this. Dynamic Movements are what you use before training, competition & between events if there is no warmup pool. At the completion of training or competition we use appropriate Static Stretching, Foam Rolling, Stretch Bands which have different levels of elasticity/tension etc. Post exercise is the domain of Static Stretching with the primary focus being improving mobility, flexibility & range of motion of our muscles, ligaments, joints & tendons. Static Stretching after any form of exercise are both highly important & very beneficial for our body. There are numerous Static Stretches available which allows easy modification of your routine to keep things fresh while also working with your body in different ways.
Post training/exercise best practice is to always have a Warm Down period followed by Static Stretching. A warm down serves several key purposes whether the training has been high intensity or more endurance based. It initiates the commencement of the recovery process by increasing the volume of oxygen back into the muscles. Allows our core body temperature of our muscles and blood to start decreasing towards normal levels. Allows our muscle spindles to relax & naturally initiate a return to their correct length. Assists our lactate (lactic acid) levels to disperse around our body for more efficient elimination. Lactic acid & other by-products of exercise are produced at a much faster rate than our body can eliminate them. Generally, lactate moves to areas of our muscles that are working the hardest. Soreness anytime up to 48 hours post exercise is usually a direct result of ineffective release of lactate & other by-product’s created through exercise.
In the modern world most people are constantly juggling their time & we tend to be time poor. I understand this from my own personal experience. We are all aware to some degree that regular exercise has numerous health benefits. An awareness that having an ongoing routine of missing warm down’s followed by Static Stretching will catch up with you at some future point is likely more important. There are too many ligament, joint & muscle injuries to name which would include grades of damage, strain or tear etc. You could be on the sidelines for a lengthy period & doing rehab. If you are unable to change your day to create more time, then a good option is reducing your exercise time to allow 10-15 min for a warm down period & Static Stretching. You can always do some further Static Stretching later that day.
With swimmers the large upper torso muscle groups i.e. Trapezius, Scapula, Pectoral & Latissimus muscle tend to shorten which we feel as tightness or a dull pain. Unfortunately, there are too many variables for each athlete to set a specific formula when it comes to Mobility Exercises like Static Stretching. As a general guideline target a specific muscle 1-3 reps & hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds & do that stretch for 4-5 days. Only ever stretch a muscle group that is sore, tight or has pain. There is nothing to be gained from stretching a perfectly good muscle. Some have a Static Stretch in their routine simply because they like it or it’s their favourite. There is zero benefit & it’s a waste of their valuable time. The worse case scenario is you can elongate (lengthen) the muscles & tendons. This can create issues that will reduce your performance e.g. Alter your rhythm & stroke timing, change your stroke dynamics & biomechanics, create body imbalance & decrease your force application dynamics on catch & pull phases.
Shoulders are an area many athletes of all levels feel tightness, pain or sustain injuries in & it’s very common among swimmers. They are a group of structures in the region of the shoulder joint being the Clavicle, Humeral & Scapular. Due to the 3 bones not being connected our shoulders lack stability. Swimming at high levels requires shoulder stability. From an anatomy & physiological point shoulders are unique in that they can move in all three planes of human motion or movement being Frontal, Sagittal & Transverse. Shoulder stability is provided by ligament’s that connect with the Deltoid muscle groups. Anterior or Front Deltoids, Lateral or Middle/Side Deltoids & Posterior or Rear Deltoids. Athletes who have a high level of repetitive movements should have a specific dry land & resistance training program. This build’s & provides prehab with a result of increased strength & stability of the relevant muscle & joint.
A basic understanding of our muscles structure is important for anyone that exercises. Muscles are made up of vast number of Telomere’s which are in turn made up of extremely high numbers of Sarcomeres. Telomeres create large chains that form to make our muscle fibres. Fibres join by platting themselves to create greater strength like we do with strands of rope. Our muscle groups are the grouping together of very large numbers of these platted fibres which are called Muscle Spindles. Exercise will create Muscle Spindling at some level. This is the action of Platted Fibres being pulled tighter together creating tighter & more constricted Muscles. Ideally this is not the outcome we want from exercising/training which is the basis of the importance of creating a routine encompassing Dynamic Warm Up Movements, Warm Downs after exercise/training followed by Static Stretching & any additional muscle stretching utilising a Foam Roller, Stretch Bands etc.
Our Guest Blogger is Paul Barry from Brisbane, Australia. Paul works within the field of High-Performance Sports Coaching & Consulting. He is qualified & has vast experience in diverse fields within this industry. They include Swimming, Strength & Conditioning, Advanced Nutrition, Sports Supplementation, Anatomy & Physiology, The Psychology & Science of Winning and various Body Work modalities.
He has Coached & Consulted in Multiple Sports, but his major focus has been Swimming which he has a strong passion for. His experience range is Junior Competitive through to International Athletes from various Countries who were all members of their National Teams.
Paul is highly experienced in creating Annual Training Plans broken down to Macro, Meso & Micro Cycles. With his high-level athletes, he uses his knowledge to link together all elements of any Training Phase, so input from all training aspects relate directly & are in harmony to the current Phase Goal e.g. Training Phase, Nutrition, Gym, Dry-Land, Core Development etc.
Paul can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org