Muscle stretching, stretching, autostretching, stretchingMuscle stretching is a fixed, indispensable part of training and therapy in competitive and popular sports as well as in physiotherapy. The importance and necessity of stretching depends on the type of sport practiced or on the existing complaints. Sports scientists and physiotherapists discuss the implementation and effects of different stretching techniques very controversially, study results are difficult to compare due to different experimental parameters.

In spite of all scientific studies, in practice as well as by athletes and patients, stretching is carried out conscientiously and with conviction of the positive effects. The chosen “stretching mode” corresponds to the current “wisdoms” that are currently circulating on the sports field. Physiotherapists and trainers are the most frequent contact persons for questions about stretching practice.

How is mobility defined?

Mobility in the motor sense means the ability to perform joint movements with or without supportive external influence with the greatest possible range of vibration (amplitude) that the joint systems, muscles and connective tissue allow. The radius of movement depends primarily on the anatomical joint structure and the elasticity of the muscles. Muscle extensibility is the ability to lengthen a muscle (distance between muscle origin and insertion) or a muscle group to a certain end point.

Active mobility is the extent of movement that the athlete can only achieve by using his own muscle power. Passive mobility is the extent of movement that the athlete can achieve by using his/her own body weight or external force. Photo ischias passive with assistant “Normal mobility” is based on the defined standard values for the average range of motion of each joint.

The neutral-0 method is used to determine the extent of movement of a joint in degrees around a specific axis of movement. Mobility is primarily dependent on genetic factors in particular: Secondary mobility is determined by: Women are usually more mobile than men due to higher estrogen levels and lower muscle tone. Children or adolescents with congenital limited mobility should not choose a sport (ballet, apparatus gymnastics) that places too high demands on mobility.

Failure and frustration would be the direct result of such a wrong decision and ultimately often result in refusal to participate. It remains important that especially children with limited mobility are encouraged to participate in sports (e.g. ball sports) that they enjoy. This encourages them to maintain or improve their mobility by stretching as part of their training.

Mobility is to be considered as a functional unit together with other motor skills such as strength, coordination, endurance. Congenital or acquired structural movement restrictions result from paralysis, spasticity or deformities, injuries or immobilization and recurrent one-sided loading. Structural movement restrictions are characterized by joint deformation, scar tissue, muscle and joint capsule shrinkage.

The absence of physiological muscle action such as contraction or stretching leads to changes in the connective tissue parts of the muscle and to the loss of muscle fibres and the associated muscle shortening. In advanced stages, structural movement restrictions can be influenced by stretching exercises only with difficulty or not at all. Acquired functional movement restrictions are caused by postural deformities, e.g. during sedentary work, immobility after injuries, plaster treatment, surgery or by rest after illness, bedriddenness, back pain, depression or age-related arthrosis.

(Relaxation is usually contraindicated in cases of back pain and depression!) Skeletal muscles have tonic = holding and phasic = moving functions. The proportions of tonic and phasic muscle fibres within a muscle are not the same in every muscle and in every person, every muscle has tonic and phasic functions in different distribution.

The optimal cooperation of all joint-bearing muscles determines balanced and economical joint function. Due to pain and immobilization, especially the tonic muscles, which maintain our upright posture against gravity for a long time with less force, tend to shorten. Predominantly phasic muscle fibres tend to weaken.

Functional acquired movement restrictions are characterized by reflective muscle shortening and loss of elasticity of the connective tissue and can be easily influenced by stretching exercises. Physiotherapists are able to distinguish structural or functional muscle shortening on the basis of their examination options. Hypermobility: Excessive mobility Sport-specific mobility: only due to pathological (pathological) hypermobility is a person able to perform extreme sports such as competitive gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, ballet, acrobatics… in perfection, for which maximum mobility is an indispensable prerequisite.

Athletes compensate for hypermobility with good muscle strength and coordination. Unfortunately, above-average mobility is not synonymous with good orthopaedic health, in fact the opposite is often true. Over-mobile (hypermobile) people often have the problem of joint instability.

The consequences can be an increased tendency to injury (e.g. dislocated shoulder joint), or back pain due to recurrent vertebral dysfunction. (- left) hypomobility: restricted mobility Below-average mobility (hypomobile) also has health consequences. For example, limited movement in the hip joint with compensatory “excess movement” in the lumbar spine can result in consequential damage to the ligamentous apparatus or intervertebral discs.

Restricted extension of the thoracic spine could result in a restriction of shoulder lift or shortened leg flexor muscles could lead to back pain in the lumbar region. Hyper- or hypomobility does not necessarily refer to the entire body, but individual muscle or muscle groups and corresponding joint or joint sections may also be affected. – the condition of the joint

  • The elasticity of muscles
  • Tendons
  • Tapes
  • Capsule, and
  • Of muscle power. – everyday movement and strain
  • Practised sport or “sport muffle”
  • Temperature
  • Time of day
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Immobility and
  • Pain