Why Does Stretching Not Prevent Injuries?
Let's lay out a scenario: If you’re getting under a bar and you can't squat to depth, what do we usually do? Stretch, foam roll. So, you snag a foam roller and smash your tissue.
You then go back to the bar, and wow you get to full depth. Now you load up the barbell.
Lets think: If your body doesn’t like to get into a position, there's a really good reason for that.
Yes, you pulled a fast one on the central nervous system (CNS) and got access to the VIP Club without being a member.
Essentially, you foam rolled yourself into a false sense of security. This is like taking a semester of Spanish and moving to Mexico. Good luck, amigo.
So when you blow out your knee, it wasn’t due to fatigue or technique. It was due to your lack of control of that range of motion.
How do we even lose flexibility AND mobility in the first place?
The answer is twofold:
Your previous experience: the CNS likes to maintain a norm. For example if your job requires you to sit for long hours, you will force your muscles into shortened postures which over time will cause the stretch reflex (how far your CNS will let you go w/o freaking out) sensitivity to increase.
Your muscles' ability to function at a particular range: if your CNS determines your muscles are not strong enough to control a particular ROM, then it will not allow you to functionally achieve that range.
Again, the goal is to convince your nervous system you can control your ROM before it grants you access to use it. And then prove it over and over again. It’s like a bad break up. You abused your privileges, you hurt your joints doing muscle ups, snatches, and anything with a ring. Now you have to earn that trust back, baby. The central nervous system don’t want no scrubs.
So, how is this accomplished? Ah, so glad you asked.
Simply put, increasing stretch tolerance,- or how flexibility increases over time - is the key. Speaking the language of the cells (force) applied in the right direction will allow the CNS to grant access to more ROM, and make it permanent.
Remember these kept points:
1.You have way more range of motion in reserve than you think.
2. ROM is governed by your nervous system.
3. Force is the language of cells, and movement is how you communicate
4. You have to teach your system to use the newly acquired ranges