HOW TO IMPROVE MUSCLE ELASTICITY

Muscle elasticity refers to the ability of your muscles and joints to stretch and contract in different directions while retaining their normal length and tension at rest. Physical therapist Chris Frederick, coauthor of “Stretch to Win,” recommends that you perform dynamic flexibility training as one of several methods to improve elasticity. This type of training involves moving your muscles and joints repetitively in their normal range of motion. You should perform these exercises daily several times a day to maintain your mobility and alleviate stiffness.

Anterior and Posterior Fasciae Stretch

Step 1

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and raise your arms over your head. Inhale and push your pelvis forward, leaning your torso back.

Step 2

Exhale and bend your body forward to touch the floor with your fingers. Hold the stretch for one deep breath.

Step 3

Inhale and raise your body up to the standing position. Perform two sets of 10 reps.

Standing Lateral Fasciae Stretch

Step 1

Stand with your feet slightly apart and raise your right arm over your head. Lean your torso to your left, pushing your hip to your right to increase the stretch. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the standing position.

Step 2

Switch your arm position and lean to your right, pushing your hip to your left. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the standing position.

Step 3

Perform two sets of 10 reps in a steady, rhythmic pattern.

Stride and Rotation

Step 1

Put your right foot on top of a sturdy platform or a stack of aerobic steps that are between 2 to 3 feet high. Shift your weight toward your right foot and tighten your left buttock.

Step 2

Turn your torso to your right without moving your lower body, bringing your arms to your sides with your palms facing forward. Put your left forearm against your right outer knee. Hold the stretch for two deep breaths.

Step 3

Turn your torso to your right with your right forearm against your right inner knee. Hold the stretch for two deep breaths. Perform 10 to 12 reps and repeat the exercise in the opposite foot position.

Tips and Warnings

  • You may use a foam roller or a massage stick to reduce tissue adhesions that cause muscle tenderness and stiffness. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that you use this method, called self-myofascial release, before you perform the dynamic flexibility exercises. Roll gently on your muscles until the tenderness subsides.

Things You’ll Need

  • Sturdy platform or 2- to 3-feet high aerobic steps
  • Foam roller or a massage stick

References

  • “NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training”; Michael Clark; 2007
  • “Stretch to Win”; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006
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