Friday, September 3, 2010
Stretching: Contract Relax Technique Introduced
The basic principles of Contract Relax Stretching are introduced in the above video. A specific demonstration of partnered hamstring stetching is shown. Contract Relax stretching technique can be used on any tight muscle/tendon group. The muscle is fatigued by alternating contractions against some resistance allowing for better stretching. This is the same basic principle of stretching that warming up a muscle/tendon will allow for a deeper stretch. In the partnered hamstring stretch demonstrated, the patient contracts the hamstring against the resistance of the partner's shoulder. Isometrics are normally done to a slow count of 6 with increasing strength as the count continues. During the stretch part, the partner gently and gradually stretches the hamstring to its endpoint. The same basic stretching principles as in the video link and text link below are followed including deep breathing, no pain while stretching, alternating sides, no bouncing, etc. Contract Relax Stretching can also be done solo to achieve better flexibility by creating a contraction followed by a stretch alternating program. For example, solo or unpartnered contract relax for the achilles can be an alternating program of 5 one-sided toe raises, followed by a 30 second stretch, repeated 5 times. I hope this introduces this powerful stretching technique to you, especially used in hard to stretch muscle/tendon groups.