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Are Your Muscles Actually Tight?

Are Your Muscles Actually Tight?


When a muscle feels tight, most people assume that it’s because the muscle is short and therefore stretching that muscle to make it longer will be the solution. However, most soon realise that stretching doesn’t seem to be the answer.

For the most part stretching provides relief by increasing our bodies tolerance to the uncomfortable sensation of tightness.

The primary reason for a muscle feeling tight is due to it being weak. When a muscle is weak, and we ask it to do a lot of work during daily activities, the body’s instinct is to protectively shorten that muscle. When a muscle is shorter its fibres remain closer together and can therefore produce more force, inherently making it appear stronger to cope with daily demands.

As a result, the long-term solution to chronic muscular tightness is to strengthen said muscle in isolation. Through doing so we increase the muscles capacity to handle the load placed on it during daily activities and minimise the need for protective shortening.

The hardest part of this solution is committing to the time required to get the muscle stronger. Unfortunately, strength doesn’t increase overnight, and often requires a minimum of 6 weeks of progressive overloading to achieve adequate results. Once a muscle increases in strength, we often then need to continue some form of maintenance loading two times per week to maintain the benefits.

So, the next time you feel like you’re suffering from constant tightness in a muscle, trial 6 weeks of strengthening the muscle opposed to constantly stretching it.

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