Why are my muscles still tight when I stretch regularly?
At Embody Movement we perform initial assessments on our clients prior to starting Pilates, or as part of addressing their pain or injury within a Physiotherapy Consultation. During these sessions, I often hear people say that no matter how much they stretch, it never seems to make much difference to how tight the muscle feels.
There are several reasons that this may be occurring, but did you know that one reason may be because the muscle is actually weak?
Muscles can be tight because they are fatigued. A fatigued muscle can be so due to over-activity (too much repetitive use throughout the day) or because they are weak, and so fatigue quickly throughout your daily activities.
Hamstrings are a great example of this.
If you feel tight through your hamstrings here is a test for you…
Lie on your back, with your knees bent, and feet on the floor.
Lift your hips up off the floor without arching your low back.
Did your muscles at the back of your legs feel like they would cramp to do this movement?
We are often weak through the Gluts and Hamstrings (muscles at the back of the hips and upper legs) due to the amount of sitting that we do throughout our day. Cramping during this movement can be an indication of weakness in these muscles.
So if you find that you are stretching regularly with no relief from tightness, check with your local Physiotherapist as to whether adding some strengthening exercises to your routine will help to address the imbalances that are causing it.