Pyramid Science

This is for researching science-based articles and the contents are for personal use although a wider potential interest is possible and so they are left here to view. No medical advice is given and a qualified medical practitioner should be consulted if any concerns are raised. Comments have been disabled, but any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Muscle: Names, Stretching and Aims


The aim of this article is to stimulate the desire to stretch correctly and thus to benefit most from a stretching program. What I hope to show is the relationship between stretching and strengthening and the importance of balanced muscle power and length. Both correct method and technique are essential if safe and good development is to be achieved.
   This is neither a guide to Taekwon-Do training or any other sport nor does it deal with muscle building techniques. However, the content does provide information to develop the body to be a better tool. Some people believe that although they know that stretching is part of Taekwon-Do they do not really appreciate its importance and place within the training program. As a result of this lack of understanding, stretching is at worst not done at all or at best without motivation and application. Generally poor results ensue. Everything has to be learned and practiced. We do not remember learning to stand upright and walk but watch an infant struggling to its feet. There you can see the continuous micro adjustments of the neck, back and leg muscles to alter the balance. We all do this but with smoother and more sophisticated muscle control. Progress in Taekwon-Do is quite similar, just more advanced but it still relies on personal effort. The more good quality work done then the greater the overall benefit.
   Nobody is completely flexible just some more than others. There is no such thing as a double-jointedness or natural flexibility. The only way to be able to perform well executed techniques in Taekwon-Do or any sport that requires leg movement with power is to be flexible. By not stretching every important muscle group some techniques cannot be performed properly if at all. Those that people have difficulty with or cannot do usually results in these techniques never being attempted. Body inflexibility will restrict the range of motion and it is unimaginable that a serious track athlete would not stretch extensively to work the hamstrings. An explosive extension of the hamstring muscles from starting blocks caused by a powerful knee extension (quadriceps contraction) would rip the back thigh muscles apart - even if well warmed up such an explosive action would be hazardous to a short hamstring.
   A footballer also using powerful quadriceps contractions when kicking the ball would experience severe hamstring problems under such conditions. The hamstrings must be long enough and flexible enough to stretch out rapidly as the knee is extended forcefully. It is absolutely essential to understand and be certain that without flexibility and strength it is impossible to achieve control. This is regardless of whether to restrict or increase speed and power.
   Stretching is but one part of training much in the same way that patterns, sparring and destruction are all integral to Taekwon-Do. Strengthening of skeletal muscle is an essential part of Taekwon-Do for control purposes and protection from injury. Thick and strong muscle protects the softer and more vulnerable parts of the body - joints, particularly the shoulder, bones and vital organs.
   The head is an area that needs protecting, but cannot be strengthened. Everybody, no matter how big or strong, has a vulnerable head to protect. What body strength will do is allow protection more effectively by preventing (blocking) attack.
   Perhaps more importantly is the exposure to injury through weakened joints, especially the knees. If the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint are stretched then the whole joint may become less stable by virtue of less tension.
   Strengthening is important to retain stability. Strengthening and flexibility cannot be separated from one another. They are totally integrated. Again, this applies not only to Taekwon-Do but to many sports. Be sure, there are no short cuts to stretching. There is no other way but through effort using the correct technique and the appropriate type of stretching within any training program. With the right approach and attitude rapid results can be achieved - months or even weeks instead of years.


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