It’s here… The CrossFit Open 2018. This global phenomenon now sees 500,000 participants across all seven continents, arguably the widest reaching sporting competition the world has seen to date.
In Singapore, the almost 20 CrossFit Boxes are buzzing with excitement as seasoned athletes gear up to compete alongside newbies with fresh enthusiasm for this sport. This community is adored by those from within and cast sideways, suspicious glances from the ‘as-yet’ non-converted.
But one thing is for sure, the CrossFit Open, a five-week test of strength and endurance, will be awash with battered and broken bodies, bodies pushed further and harder than ever before, and achievements that surpass expectations.
So how do you keep reaching for and claiming personal records during this time? Look after yourself. If you get an injury you, of course, see a doctor or physiotherapist, but what if you just feel like you are not quite at your best? Perhaps your shoulder flexibility is hampering your overheads? Or you just know that deadlifts are going to be in 18.3 and your hamstrings are going to give way?
Stretch Therapy could be your answer.
Even though those iconic Jane Fonda videos were circa 30 years ago, many people still think of a good stretch as a contortion and if you aren’t grimacing at the end point with your leg round your neck, you’re not achieving anything. Well thankfully, times do change and now our wisdom has enlightened us to embrace Stretch Therapy as a valuable stand-alone treatment.
This fairly new form of therapy reduces muscle tension to restore movement, increase range of motion and decrease pain associated with injury or trauma which in turn improves performance and reduce recovery time for athletes. Let’s face it, we often feel a bit stiff after a good workout, and with the intensity of the CrossFit Open you don’t have much time to fully recover and stretch out before the next onslaught.
At UFIT Clinic in Singapore, my sessions incorporate lots of techniques bespoke to each body I see, and often that means a bit or a lot of Active Isolated Stretching (AIS).
A bit of science … When we enter a stretch, after two seconds, the myotatic reflex triggers the muscle spindles and Golgi bodies into a protective contraction. After five seconds, blood begins to shunt away from the muscle, creating dysfunction in the tissue. AIS works with the body to prevent that reflex through repetitive movements held for a short time, enabling a longer lasting effect on flexibility.
What does a session involve?
- Firstly, a postural and flexibility assessment, which will highlight areas of tightness and restricted mobility
- The therapist will develop a plan of body areas which need work; upper anterior chain, hamstrings, thorax for example, and work with the client in various positions
- Muscle groups are isolated, sometimes using a stabilising strap and ‘pumped’ to extend the range of motion, 10 – 15 times
- The session is very active for the client, it’s important they participate in the stretch to achieve best results
The three fundamental ingredients to a good AIS session are:
- High repetitions
- Stretch is never held for longer than 2 seconds
- Client participates and exhales on the stretch
How do you feel afterwards?
Your muscles and fascia are warmed up, lubricated, looser. You may feel like you’ve done a workout but one that frees up your body and makes you feel lighter, and more able to get into positions you were simply nowhere near previously.
If you’re serious about your performance in the 2018 Open, you should be seriously considering Stretch Therapy
Stretch Therapy can benefit everybody
Of course, stretching isn’t just for the athlete, it is essential for maintaining a healthy body and restoring equilibrium. Ministry of Manpower reports that Singaporeans clocked up an average of 45.6 working hours a week in 2016, the longest in the world.
Consider sitting for long hours, shoulders hunched, neck protruding, the lumbar spine compressed and tilted, hip flexors in a state of permanent contraction, and our whole body is under an unnatural stress. Partner that with the amount of time we spend on laptops and phones, this is a lot of pressure to put the body under. Stretch Therapy has immediate effects to unravel the body and leave you feeling totally refreshed.
The UFIT Clinic has the best (see our awards from Expat Living and Fitness Best …) therapists in Singapore. So if you need a Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist, Osteopath, Stretch Therapist, Women’s Health Specialist or Nutritionist, we have it all here and can help you go all the way.
About The Author
Lynsey is a UK trained massage therapist and certified in both ITEC and BTEC level 4 Massage and Anatomy and Physiology. Having spent 15 years working in high-pressure marketing roles, Lynsey decided to embrace her ultimate passion in bodywork and use her experience to help people overcome the physical and mental stresses that everyday life puts upon us.
She is a passionate believer that massage should be a regular part of our training recovery and general body maintenance. As a massage therapist in Singapore she treats a wide range of clients from all backgrounds so each session is bespoke; whether you are a professional athlete, have a postural imbalance from carrying a baby, or need to release some muscle tension and relieve shoulder pain.
Lynsey is also a qualified Active Isolated Stretching practitioner. A therapy which uses a combination of dynamic stretches to improve joint and muscle flexibility, aid fascial release and gets great results for both tension relief and as a support for strength and conditioning programmes.