An adequate structured warm up period (10-30 minutes) that first exercises the large muscle groups (jogging or striding), that brings about perspiration and a rise in the core body temperature by one or two degrees should be followed by a stretching routine…..SPORTS SPEED
There are three types of stretching techniques that could be used during the stretching phase of a warm up:-
STATIC. Stretching to the maximum range of motion and holding in the extreme position 10-30 seconds for each muscle that is used during their event.
DYNAMIC. Stretching movements that are specific to the action of their event.
PNF. (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) This involves the contraction and relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles.
Why stretch? Stretching techniques should be used before any type of physically vigorous activity to stop any incidence of soft tissue injuries. Stretching should also be used during the cool-down period to help muscles return to their normal relaxed state.
For stretching a rule of opposites should be adhered to. This means that if the quadriceps group was to be stretched then the opposite group, the hamstring group should be stretched as well.
1. Stand with both knees bent slightly*. Bend over and reach as far as you can and hence hold in the maximum stretch position.
2. Lie on your back, sit up and reach as far as you can towards your toes, again with both knees slightly bent*. Hold at the maximum stretch position.
Stand on either one of your legs and hold the ankle of the other leg in your hand. Then pull your heel towards your glutes. Hold at the maximum stretch position.
Whilst on your back get hold of one of your knees and pull it towards your chest. Hold in the maximum stretch position.
Once sat down pull your feet towards your groin and then put your hands around the bottom of your feet and pull your upper body towards your feet. Hold in the maximum stretch position.
Stand two to three feet away from a wall with your legs apart. Then bend the leg closest to the wall and keep the other leg straight. Use the wall for support and stretch until you feel a stretch in the calf. Hold in the maximum stretch position.
Achilles tendon and soleus
Stand inn the same position as you did for the calf stretch. This time the back knee is to be bent slightly, then keeping both heels on the ground lean forward. Hold in the maximum stretch position.
N.B. All of these stretches should be held for at least 15 seconds, this is to allow for the stretching of the ligaments aswell as the muscles. The routine should be repeated three times to ensure all the muscles are stretched.
* This is to remove pressure from the back of the legs and the synovial membrane
The reasoning behind the so oftenly missed cool down, is to stoop blood pooling (blood remaining in the same area) in the lower body. This then leads to deep breathing which lowers carbon dioxide levels which in turn many produce muscle cramps. In extreme cases this will lead to the loss of blood pressure, the reason this causes trouble is that a hormone called norepinephrine is secreted up to a hundred times more than the normal amount the body needs. This can then in turn cause cardiac problems after an extremely vigorous sport such as a marathon or say, as appropriate to this a decathlon.
Therefore the final minutes of any vigorous activity should involve a cool down period. This cool down should involve diminishing intensity. The ideal place for this would either be in the place where the activity took place or a warmer environment. This should then be followed by the same stretching routine as in the warm up but only once over. This will help your muscles return to their normal resting positions.