I recently went to a seminar with the absolutely amazing Dr Kathy Dooley and throughout the course of the seminar, the issue of stretching an already stretched muscle came up. Dr Dooley liked this to the analogy of the finger trap.
What happened was Dr Dooley placed her fingers in either side of the finger trap and pulled. And what happened? The finger trap was moved into a stretched position clamping down on the fingers. What happened when Dr Dooley pulled the stretched the finger trap even further apart? The finger trap got tighter again. What happened when Dr Dooley took some of the stretch off? The fingers were able to be released and everything was fine.
So what does this mean?
Just because something feels tight, does not necessarily means it needs stretching. The hamstrings are a classic example of this. You see people forever stretching out their hamstrings because they have the perception that they are tight. Are they tight because they are already over stretching? They well could be. They seem to endlessly stretch but they “are always tight no matter what”. It is because they are tightening them more.
So all you need to do is put the muscle in a shorter position and the tight feeling normally resolves. Don’t get me started on the load to explode theory. I’ll save that for another time.
If you are not sure whether you are already in a stretched position or not, your best option would be to get assessed.
The shoe is now on your foot.
The video by Dr Kathy Dooley can be viewed below