Archive for Injuries
My beloved beautiful game is center at the world’s stage and yet I continue to see how many athletes didn’t make the competition on account of injuries or are cramping on the field. These injuries happen in the course of a game and in training.
In the recreational side of soccer, did you know that nearly 570,000 athletes were injured playing soccer in 2009?
While many athletes continue to “stretch” as a means of prevention and recovery many of their attempts are ill-fated and actually compound their problems. New research is out which you can use to benefit yourself.
As a self-proclaimed, Divorce Counselor for Stretching, there exists a more natural way to lengthen your muscles and have them functioning for your peak performance.
By pushing your muscles to lengthen, they actually re-contract.
It’s poignant to watch a calf muscle or hamstring get “pulled” in the course of a game and watch the trainers run onto the field and spray the muscles with the “secret” spray or forcefully try to lengthen the muscle in the opposite direction to gain length.
The obvious signal is the muscle is being shortened. This is what’s happening when you are experiencing a cramp or muscle spasm.
By pushing the muscle, when say your calf is cramping, you’re violating the stretch reflex. No worries… you won’t get a ticket for it. This reflex is what keeps the muscles contracting and set at certain levels. By forcing or pushing muscles into length, it actually recontracts and gets shorter afterwards. This is what they found out about back in 1936.
This protective mechanism is a good thing so your muscles don’t tear. This reflex can be readjusted by the brain instead of using force. If you push it, your muscles will be forced into length but the rate of contraction will continue and can be elevated so that your stiffness remains for longer periods of time.
Instead of trying to lengthen the muscle, the brain can be used to do what is clearly happening in the moment. The cramp is a muscle shortening to protect itself. So shortening it, is what is you can do in order for the muscle to allow itself to lengthen back and reset it’s level of contraction.
Now this may seem counterintuitive. Once you get the hang of a simple 3 step process, you’ll be able to use this natural approach which is systematized by Somatics Exercises. These types of exercises have been prescribed to successfully get people out of pain, stiffness and cramps or muscle spasms.
Your brain is showing what needs to be done but of course we normally “react” by pulling away from any pain.
Learning how to go with it, is what sets you free even though it’s counter to what we’ve been led to do.
Once you get the hang of Somatics, in which the goal, like stretching, is to lengthen the muscles, it’s simply achieved by the brain rather than than forcing a muscle.
Preventing injuries can be helped if the muscles are more relaxed in the first place. So it’s obvious, why make things tighter with brawn when you can use your brain to change how much activity and rate of contraction your muscles have to live with… it’s always easier to move if you’re less stiff, compensated, and not holding on for dear life in those exquisite moments of the mystery and misery of a cramp or muscle spasm.