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Stop Stretching... - December 18th 2019

You are working a set of lunges and you start to feel some pain in your quads. You push through and the pain gets a little bit worse. What do you do?

When you perform an exercise, the working muscle goes through three phases of movement; the eccentric phase in which the muscle is stretched beyond its resting length (this would be the lowering phase of a squat, pushup or pullup), the isometric phase where the muscle has been stretched and is transitioning between the stretch and contraction, and the concentric phase where the muscle is contracted (this would be the lifting phase of an exercise).

When you perform the eccentric phase of an exercise, you can over-stretch a muscle, leading to a muscle strain. Think of a sharp pain in a specific area of a muscle.

These strains are avoidable if you take the time to warm up properly. Take the time to hit some soft tissue work with a foam roller or lax ball, stretch tight spots, and then move the hips, shoulders and ankles through the range of motion needed for your big exercises. Your body should feel warm and ready before you touch a weight or hit that first sprint.

Going back to the scenario above, you strained your quad and you need to know what to do now.

Go home and let it rest. You can apply heat and ice, but DO NOT STRETCH IT! If over stretching the muscle caused this issue, the last thing you want to do is stretch it some more. Give it a couple days and it should show some signs of relief.

Seriously though, start warming up!

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