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Lengthen Your Muscles for Effective Stretching

Lengthening by releasing muscle knots is the key to effective stretching.

Have you ever tried to simply touch your toes and find you are unable to get your upper body even close to your thighs?  Yeh, us too! 

You are not only experiencing tight muscle fibers but the limitation put on your stretch is also caused by muscle knots that have shortened the muscle fibers preventing your muscle from lengthening.

Trying to stretch a muscle with a knot will not only make the muscle tighter, it could even tear the muscle fiber.

The medical definition of a trigger point (muscle knot) is “a focus of hyperirritability in a tissue that, when compressed, is locally tender and, if sufficiently hypersensitive, gives rise to referred pain and tenderness.”

That’s a mouthful, but basically it means a muscle knot is tender to the touch and it may be felt at a distance from the knot.  For example, the muscle knot could be formed in a muscle in your back and you feel pain in your calf.  This really happens!

Having an understanding of which muscle causes another muscle to lose its flexibility, and then how to self-treat (release) the responsible muscle before stretching, will greatly enhance your performance!  That’s what Focused Flexibility Training is all about!

One important thing to remember about muscle knots and the pain or tension they cause:   you don’t feel the pain or tension when you are contracting (shortening) a muscle.  You will only feel pain or tension when you are trying to go in the opposite direction as in when you are stretching. 

Julie, our resident muscular therapy expert, always tells people to look at the exact point where pain is felt and realize that the odds are extremely high that the painful spot is the insertion of the muscle that is tied in knots.

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