We have all experienced muscle tightness or the pain associated with tight muscles. And when we have them — most of us just stretch them, right? We think that is the best way to fixing tight muscles. But was it really helpful? Often, the answer is no.
Sometimes, stretching our “tight” muscles, makes the pain even worse. That’s because stretching isn’t always the right remedy, and you might not be doing it wrong in the first place.
According to Sports Physician, Dr Lim Baoying, the use of the muscle groups, either excessively in terms of training duration or intensity level or in an incorrect manner (and hence damaging the muscle tissue) would cause the muscle to spasm up, causing the tightness.
To help with muscle tightness, here are some tips that you can follow:
#1: Fixing tight muscles by releasing the knots
If you’ve been suffering from muscle tightness for some time, rolling foam for one session won’t fix it. You need to do regularly and consistently for the best outcome.
“I always emphasise on correct timing of stretching (static stretching) – preferably after the muscle groups have been used, e.g. after the workout is done and you are ‘warmed up’.”
“The muscles and the joints they control the movements of, have been brought through their range of movements during the workout and add the additional range in the static stretching after the workout would help to relieve the tension in these muscle groups that have been used.”
“Use of trigger balls/ foam rollers or even digit induced pressure to provide localised pressure to muscle knots could also help to relieve trigger points in muscle groups,” says Dr Lim.
#2: Fixing tight muscles by training your muscles with a range of motions
Muscles do whatever you teach them. If you’re inactive, for instance, sitting all the time, your muscles will get stuck in that posture. Therefore, it’s essential you train your muscles by performing a wide range of exercises or motions like lunges and squats.
#3: Fixing tight muscles by stretching the proper way
Stretching is good and it complements dynamic workouts like resistance training. However, it’s important you do it in the right way. You should make sure that you’re stretching the muscles or muscles that feel “tight”.
This is something plenty of people with muscle tightness fail to do. Try to focus on the “tight” muscle and only stretch the muscle that needs it.
For example, if you rest your foot on a bench and attempt to touch your toes by rounding your back, then you aren’t exactly stretching your hamstrings as you think you’re doing. Instead, you’re stretching your sciatic nerve which runs down the back of your leg and exerting unwanted tension on it.
Step#4: Fixing tight muscles by preserving your support system
Your bodily movements depend on your core muscles. If your muscles are weak, you can’t stabilise properly.
Consequently, you develop unhealthy movement patterns and poor posture which can lead to muscle tightness and knot overtime.
So, create the habit of making core strength a priority, practice pushups, bridges, and planks, at least three days every week.
Now it’s time to stretch the right way and say goodbye to muscle pain!
Author: Mizah Salik
Writer | Editor | Storyteller | Data geek | Aspiring Photographer
When she’s not writing, Mizah is constantly wired 24/7. She loves cats, cycling at night, and can’t survive without her weekly dose of chicken rice.