Have you ever wondered why some muscles get tight or weak? Many people are probably told by health care professionals that their muscles are tight so they need to stretch or their muscles are weak so they need to strengthen. But how did muscles become tight or weak? In case of acute tissue trauma, some muscles guard and some muscles become inhibited. Structural changes (acute trauma) cause functional changes. Except for traumatic tissue injuries, muscles don’t suddenly become tight or weak. Muscles and other tissues (ligaments, tendons, fascia, etc.) adapt to imposed demands. Over time tissue structures change based on functional demands placed on them. Structures follow functions.
Habitual patterns of movement place high demand on some tissues and very little demand on others. Does it make sense to stretch tight muscles or strengthen weak muscles while you’re moving the same way and reinforcing your habitual movement patterns that led to the tightness and weakness?? I think it would make more sense to recognize your habitual movement patterns and train out of those patterns. Most importantly new movement patterns that will lengthen tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles need to be integrated into daily activities. When you start to train movement patterns, you’re no longer separating stretching from strengthening. You’re just working on improving functions, which will lead to improvements in strength and flexibility. Over time, structures will follow functions.
© Taro Iwamoto 2015. Please do not reproduce without the express written consent of Taro Iwamoto.