An insight into junior cricket injuries

Since the 1998/99-season cricket Australia has conducted an annual ongoing injury survey, recording injuries in all of Australia’s first class players. This information has proved enormously beneficial for the management of Australia’s elite players. Across the world this collection of information of adult cricket players and their injuries has been growing, but what about injuries in junior cricket players? The research for injury patterns in junior players is scarce. One relatively recent study was undertaken by a group in the South African Journal of Sports Medicine, this five-year retrospective study recording data on the injuries of elite junior cricketers and compared their injury patterns to senior elite players.

Adult studies have shown fast bowlers are the most likely to become injured during the delivery and follow through, followed by fieldsman and then batsmen. This study found that junior fast bowlers were the most likely to become injured however these occurred mainly during the run-up and delivery. With fieldsman and then batsmen coming in second and third for injury occurrence.

Studies have found that adult cricket players are more likely to sustain injury in the first two months of the season, with injuries predominantly happening during matches. On the other hand junior players were more likely to become injured in 1-day matches or practice throughout the entire season.

Junior and senior players showed similar injury patterns for lower and upper limbs. However, junior players sustained more back and trunk injuries. According to the researchers 49% of injuries sustained by junior cricketers are in the back and trunk. We would expect this number to be high due to the high prevalence of stress fractures predominantly in fast bowlers. However, it was found that for under 15, 17 and 18 year old teams 27%, 25% and 18% respectively were muscular injuries in the back and only 12%, 8% and 9% respectively accounted for stress fractures in the back. This finding would appear to be in conflict with the high incidence of stress fractures reported in most other studies in regards to young fast bowlers.

The correlation between increased workloads and increased likelihood of injury amongst fast bowlers was confirmed with this study and has been well known in the cricket community for many years. The authors suggested that fast bowlers were more likely to become injured if they bowled 50 balls per day more than three times a week. Current Australian research has found that not only is the number of balls bowled a critical issue but also how frequently. It is much better if you are a 16 year old to bowl three times per week five to six overs each time, rather than attempting to bowl a lot of overs on the weekend. Once your program is finished with Andre it is important that you continue to bowl regularly over the holidays, going down to the nets, warming up and bowling five overs two to three times per week. Don’t attempt to bowl the five overs all at once because you don’t do that in a game, rather in a match you bowl an over and then you have an over off. Attempt to mimic that in your training session. If you follow this simple rule, you will arrive at the start of your cricket season with a regular bowling workload, which will enable you to handle the increased load of the season. Remember that fast bowling is highly demanding intense activity, which requires you to be fit, flexible, uninjured and bowling regularly.

According to the study, overuse injuries are found to be more common in the under 15-year-old team. This could be due to the athletes playing more than one sport, or playing for more than one team. As overuse injuries are becoming more common and are increasing in younger athletes it is important that coaches, players and parents are monitoring the workloads that are being implemented. This is why Andre takes injury prevention and workload monitoring seriously.

To ensure injury prevention the following points must be taken into consideration:
– Always warm-up and cool-down appropriately
– Wear the right protective equipment for all training and matches
– Stay hydrated and well fueled (eat quality food) before, during and after training or matches
– Maintain good leg strength, shoulder strength and core stability
– If you want to make technical changes to your batting or bowling, it is important to make these changes slowly. Do not attempt to go down to the nets and spend an hour, running through a new action but rather slowly introduce it over a period of time and ensure you are working with your coaches who are able to monitor these changes

Hip-hip hooray its holidays!

The holidays are a time to relax, have a sleep-in, spend time with friends and family and if you are lucky enough, travel to a holiday destination! Often without the structure of school and training, our eating habits also go on holidays…
Did you know?
• Australians spend a third of their food expenses on eating out! Are you spending your money wisely?
• A meal eaten away from home is two to three times bigger than the serving size of the same meal prepared at home… are you eating too much?
• Takeaway foods are often higher in fat and energy than food prepared at home, and are likely to be lower in fruits & vegetables. Are you meeting your nutritional needs on holidays?

If you eat out 3 times per week on school holidays (which is modest when you consider going on holidays you are likely to eat 3 meals per day away from home) you are spending a lot of money, on a large amount of food that is of low nutritional value – is that assisting your cricket performance goals?

Smart choices for meals away from home:

Breakfast
Choose:
• A fruit platter with yoghurt
• An acai bowl – choose the ones with granola & nuts rather than fruit toppings
• Bread/toast: wholegrain, rye, sourdough and fruit bread with spreads
• Cereals: muesli or porridge with milk or yoghurt
• Smoothie
• Eggs, lean ham, fat trimmed bacon, smoked salmon and baked beans
• Vegetable side dishes such as mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, onions and avocado
Avoid:
• Fatty cuts of ham, bacon, sausages, hash browns, fried eggs, egg dishes made with cream such as scrambled eggs and eggs benedict, pastries, white bread and sugary cereals.

Lunch

Choose:
• Sushi or rice paper rolls- with fillings such as salmon, tuna, skinless chicken and prawn, avoid deep fried fillings.
• Subway- choose from the 6g fat or less options, choose multigrain/wheat/honey oat bread, avoid the creamy sauces and go for mustards or BBQ/tomato
• Teriyaki chicken/beef/salmon and rice. Ask for extra salad or veggies.
• Simple burger – meat or chicken with salad on a bun. Avoid the extras and sauces, keep it simple!
• Sandwich/wrap/roll with lean meat/chicken and salad
• Kebab – chicken with plenty of salad, skip the creamy sauces and add hommus or BBQ/tomato/chilli
• Noodles – choose the smallest size and ask for extra veggies
• Mexican- soft tortillas such as burritos and enchiladas with beef, chicken, seafood, beans and salad and rice.

Avoid:
• Creamy dressings and sauces, deep fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, chicken with skin, chips, meal deals and upsizing

Dinner

Choose:
• You may choose to have one of the lunch options
• Asian takeaway- chicken & cashew or beef & basil stir-fry with rice or rice noodles
• Steak, baked potato and veggies or salad
• Grilled fish, salad and a handful of chips
• An Italian pizza – thin base, few toppings, go easy on the meat. Have a salad to go with it.
• A tomato based pasta, try to have salad or vegetables to go with it.

Avoid:
• Creamy dressings and sauces, deep fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, chicken with skin, chips, meal deals and upsizing

Snacks

Choose:
• Fruit – fresh or dried
• Yoghurt
• Smoothie
• Handful of nuts or trail mix
• Muesli or nut bar
• A sushi roll or 2
• A couple of rice paper rolls
• Share a toasted sandwich or if you are really hungry eat it yourself!
• A mini burrito or wrap

There are plenty of healthy food choices available when eating out or enjoying a holiday. While the odd treat such as an ice cream is a beach requisite, make the rest of the day nutritious choices to recover from a long term and refuel your body ready for a big term 4 of cricket!

8 Tips for a Successful Cricket Season

The cricket season is just around the corner. Whether it’s your child’s first time playing or their third or fourth season, here are eight simple tips you can follow to ensure an awesome season for everyone!
1. Commit to having realistic expectations for your child AND the coach.  This sounds easy but sometimes it’s not. Make it a priority to remind yourself this isn’t the Olympics, it’s ten-year-old recreational soccer! You and your child will have a happier and more rewarding experience.
2. Reacquaint your child with the game.  Just like anything in life, if your kid has some basic understanding and a little practice under their belt, it will be a more enjoyable experience and they will have more confidence.  
3. Make friends with the other parents.  You will see these people often. Get to know their names and a little about them.  Having friends on the team will make it a much more enjoyable experience.  Ask for the contact info of at least three potential carpool parents. This will come in handy when you’re in a pinch.
4. Take photos or hire someone to take them.  My daughter’s team had a Dad who also happened to be an amazing photographer. He kindly captured her (and the entire team) for the first four seasons of cricket with beautiful photos that we will always cherish.  That being said, action photos on a cricket field aren’t easy.  If it’s not your thing and there isn’t anyone on the team who enjoys it, then hire someone. Yes, all pitch in and hire a professional to come to one or two games. It will be worth the small investment.
5. Buy snacks in bulk ahead of time. Particularly if you have more than one child playing sports. Trust me, your “snack day” will creep up on you. And instead of running like a crazy person to the corner 7-Eleven at halftime, the next time you’re at the shops, stock up. Most of the snacks aren’t perishable.
6. Don’t pick apart your child’s game on the car ride home. EVEN if you think it’s constructive criticism.  This will cause them to lose enjoyment for the game and dread the ride home.  Plus, take it from someone who has a hard time not doing it…they will stop listening and block you out anyways.
7. Be on time! This will not only help your child begin their game or practice in a calm, focused way, instead of harried and rushed, but it is also disrespectful to the coaches and other players who do get there on time – when you don’t! We all have a lot going on in our lives, save the excuses and set a good example for your kids by arriving on time.
8. Step back.  If you find you are one of the many parents who gets riled up during a game, be it at your child, the coach, the ref – or all of the above.  Take a step away. Remove yourself from the middle of the field in the thick of the other parents and sit off to the side.  This will give you a different perspective, it will eliminate the energy (good and bad) that’s flowing from the sideline, and it will at the very least, keep others from hearing you!

Recovery Techniques – What’s the Evidence?

You may have seen footage during the sports reports of athletes wearing compression garments, sipping on sports drinks or swimming in cold conditions. It is common routine for athletes to utilise recovery methods to assist with the high demand of physical activity, whilst minimising muscle soreness and gaining the most benefit out of each training session. Several products have failed to live up to the benefits they claim, lacking in evidence and leaving a significant financial burden. So, what does the evidence tell us about basic recovery aids?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reviewed five of the most common recovery aids: compression, massage, caloric replacement and, cold and heat.

Compression
Research has indicated that compression garments are beneficial as a recovery aid. This form of therapy decreases delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improves performance on distance running, cycling power, muscular strength and power, and reduces the risk levels of muscle injury.

Massage
Massage is the most commonly used recovery aid for athletes across all sports and levels of competition. It may delay the time to DOMS, however it can briefly decrease muscular strength shortly after treatment. The foam roller technique is used to provide controlled pressure to muscles, which may also decrease DOMS and improve athletic performance.

Calorie Replacement
To improve muscle glycogen (carbohydrates) replenishment and muscle repair and growth, it is necessary to eat a normal healthy diet when exercise sessions are at least 24 hours apart. Athletes who train or compete more frequently, can improve muscle glycogen replenishment by consuming foods with higher glycaemic index and using earlier carbohydrate replacement. Improving muscle recovery can be done by protein supplementation and protein-carbohydrate recovery aids. The Position Statement on Nutrition & Athletic Performance by the ACSM encourages carbohydrate replacement within 30 minutes of post-exercise with 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight at 2-hour intervals up to 6 hours.

Cold
Cold therapy is believed to work by influencing inflammation, blood flow, nutrient transport, nerve conduction velocity and pain perception. The majority of literature on cold therapy as a recovery tool involves cold water immersion (CWI). During repeated bouts of endurance exercise in the heat, CWI helps maintain low body temperature and improve performance. There are small benefits like the reduction of DOMS as well as improvements in athletic performance such as a quicker recovery of sprint speed. Ice should be applied for no longer than necessary (5-15 minutes) and monitored during treatment.

Heat
Heat is suggested to decrease muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to treated areas, which improves oxygen uptake and flushing out exercise-related waste products from recovering muscles. There is no strong evidence to support the benefits of the application of heat alone, as most studies have used a blend of heat and cold treatments (sauna/spa, cold water therapies). However, it should be mentioned that different forms of heat treatments (hot packs) are regularly used for treatment of muscle stiffness and soreness.

Each form of recovery aid has its benefits for specific athletes in their chosen athletic scenario. It is important to understand the benefits based on evidence-based research rather than what TV, billboards or social media promote. This understanding can help prepare both athletes and coaches to be effective in their approach to using recovery methods, which will contribute to the overall performance during training sessions and competitions. If I was to give advice to a young athlete, it would be to eat well, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

~ Lindsay Trigar
Lindsay Trigar Physiotherapy

The difference between being ‘good’ and ‘great’

Picture: Hede, Crystal, Kate Russell, and Ron Weatherby. Senior Physical Education For Queensland. South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

It’s the question that we often ponder, particularly in regards to achieving greatness within athletic performance, what’s the difference between being good and great? Many people think that talent has a lot to do with it, others believe that hard work is enough to get you there.
The truth is that we need both. Gone are the days that you can have enough talent to get you through to reach the highest levels in sport, as you were once able to in Rugby League, Union, Cricket etc.
I recently read an interesting book that followed the academic achievement of children from different economic backgrounds. It compared how the kids progressed in their academic performance over the course of the year and then again once they got back from their summer vacation. The results of this study were quite staggering. What they found was that the lower class progressed the same if not better academically through the course of the year. However, the difference between lower and middle/upper class was what happened over the summer vacation. The middle/upper class were encouraged or put into programs to continue to progress their academic abilities, whereas the lower class were simply left to their own devices. In other words, the academic gap that occurred between lower and upper classes didn’t happen because of the school they went to or how smart they were, but occurred because of what they did over the two month break from school.
What can we learn from this? That practice is incredibly important. Physical fitness is different to academic ability obviously. You do need some talent when it comes to your sport. No matter how much I practice basketball I’m never going to get a start in the NBA at just 175cm tall. It’s a reality. However, where talent exists it’s about optimising that and making the most of it, through practice.
Unfortunately, the nature of physical performance is competitive. So in order to get better you generally have to spend more time practicing and training than your competitors. Like academics, one time of year that a kids athletic performance goes down is during the school holidays. That’s why staying on track during the school holidays is critical to ensure that things don’t plateau or even slip backwards.

~ Mark Blomeley
Equinox Performance and Fitness Coaching

Are you keeping hydrated?

The number one challenge for any cricketer is how to maintain hydration in long days of hot weather when fielding or bowling. Did you know that being dehydrated any more than 1% of your body weight can impact negatively on your performance?
Dehydration makes it more difficult to make decisions and can cause you to fatigue earlier.
Dehydration impairs:
• The body’s ability to regulate heat = increase in body temp + heart rate
• Perceived exertion = feel more fatigued and decreased work output
• Mental function = decreased motor control, decision making, skill & concentration
• Gastric emptying = stomach discomfort and reduced opportunity for fluid replacement

How do I know if I am dehydrated?
Symptoms of dehydration may include overheating, feeling thirsty, early fatigue, headaches, nausea, loss of concentration, muscle cramps and twitches and dark concentrated urine. Sweat rates differs depending on body size, age, exercise intensity, environment and fitness levels so there is no guideline that suits everyone. A great way to check if you are hydrated is by the colour of your urine. Clear to pale straw = hydrated. Yellow, dark yellow or green/brown means dehydrated and impairment of your performance.
What fluids do I need?
For everyday hydration choose water as your main fluid and drink frequently throughout the day. For standard training sessions water is fine too. Keep a water bottle nearby and drink small amounts at every opportunity. If you are training or competing for over 90 mins, it is particularly warm or you know you are a salty sweater (think salt deposits on your lips and face when exercising, a feeling a salt crystals on the skin once sweat dries and a salt ring on clothing once sweat dries) you may choose to use a sports drink such as Gatorade, Staminade or Powerade to help provide carbohydrates and replace electrolytes. Keep sipping on water with your sports drink to ensure adequate hydration.

Practical Tips
– Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink
– Take a water bottle with you to training and sip often throughout the day
– Check the colour of your urine and aim for a pale straw colour (think homemade lemonade). If it’s more like apple juice, you’re dehydrated!
– Don’t just drink from the bubblers, you will not consume nearly as much as if you have water bottle with you and take sips regularly
~ Eat Smart Nutrition

Junior Cricket Recovery Nutrition

Food and fluid intake following a match or training session is essential to your health and performance as a junior athlete. Given the length of the game, it’s important to ensure you are replacing your glycogen (energy) stores, repairing muscle tissue and rehydrating correctly!

REFUEL

When searching for something to eat or drink post exercise, it’s important to consider the inclusion of some carbohydrate (fresh/ dried fruit, pasta/bread, crackers, muesli bars) as well as some good quality protein (milk/yoghurt, cheese, meat, tuna, eggs, nuts).
For some young athletes, fuel in the form of fluid may be more appealing than solids. In this way, a milk based drink (e.g. Up & Go, a smoothie or simply milk) or a liquid meal replacement (such as Sustagen) may be a good option.
It’s also important to consider timing of the meal. It’s recommended to eat within 30 minutes of training or competition, however, if this falls within the timing of a main meal, then a recovery snack is not necessary. It is useful to plan ahead and pack snacks in your lunch pack or plan what you can purchase on the way home from training or a game to ensure you refuel adequately.

Some good recovery snacks and meals include:
– Yoghurt and fresh/dried fruit
– Sushi hand rolls
– Small tin of tuna with crackers
– Soup with a cheese sandwich
– Sandwich, roll or wrap with protein filling e.g., chicken, tuna, cheese or egg with salad
– Chicken and pasta salad
– Or simply a well balanced evening meal (remember the veggies!)

REHYDRATE

Fluid intake directly after a match or training is essential to ensuring you continue to perform at your best! Directly after a game, rehydrate with water and continue to sip on water for at least 2-4 hours. You might like to add a big drink of water with your recovery meal.

Some good rehydration foods and fluids include:
– Water
– Sports drinks
– Milk-based drinks (such as smoothies & flavoured milk)
– Liquid meal supplements (for example Sustagen)
– Soup (during the cooler season)

As a junior athlete, sweetened drinks such as soft drink, cordial or iced tea are not recommended after training or games. Keep these for a special occasion! Energy drinks and cola which contain caffeine are also not recommended.

In summary, recovery food and fluids should:
1. Start within 30 minutes after exercise
2. Be high in carbohydrates, and contain some protein and fluid
3. Be quick and easy to prepare and eat
4. Pre-planned/packed or able to be purchased

If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Eat Smart Nutrition’s Sports Dietitians.

The importance of year-round strength training in cricket

Research into the fitness requirements of cricketers has lagged behind similar research into most other sports. The football codes discovered much earlier that you could not become fit for team sport by just playing that sport. Perhaps part of the cricket world’s unwillingness to adapt was due to the fact that up until the 1970’s it was seen as a slow, low intensity sport. The birth of one-day cricket saw the requirements of fitness for the game change, players were forced to learn to turn 1s into 2s and chase much harder in the field. Then with the evolution of T20 cricket across the globe a new level of fitness has evolved. This format of the game moves rapidly and there are increased demands in intensity and explosive power with bat, ball and in the field.
It was in the 1990s that research really started to be undertaken and training programs where implemented based on scientific evidence. Fitness, we now know is a very important aspect of cricket performance with physically prepared cricketers proven to perform better, more consistently and with fewer injuries. The physical attributes of strength, speed and endurance enables a cricketer to bat with power over long periods of time, bowl faster and with greater accuracy, and to field more athletically. The shorter formats forced players to be fitter, stronger and faster. It is for these reasons that the Andre Burger academy has included strength, power and fitness components. In the modern game, it is not enough to just play and rely on your skill. Anyone who intends taking their game seriously must be committed to becoming and remaining as fit and healthy as possible.
Two interesting articles have recently appeared in the literature. A group of researchers in Manchester England measured the strength, power and speed performances of the local County team following their preseason strength and conditioning program. They then continued to monitor the players’ results throughout the season once the players had ceased this strength program and continued into the cricket season. They found that the players performance decreased in all the measures once the season got underway which showed that the physical demands of the English County Cricket season alone are not enough to maintain preseason strength, jump and sprint performance. Their recommendation was that coaches should implement a time effective resistance training strategy in season. From their research they suggested that one strength training session per week should be undertaken throughout the season to maintain the benefits of the preseason training load. I would recommend that even young cricketers should maintain strength training throughout the year.
Cricket today is a different game to what your grandfathers played and our knowledge of strength training and injury prevention has evolved significantly. Therefore, year round efforts should be made to maintaining strength training.

Written by Lindsay Trigar
Lindsay Trigar Physiotherapy

Attention Training

Maintaining concentration and attention is important in all sports, but especially in cricket where a momentary lapse in concentration can be costly for the individual and the team.

Here are some steps that you can take to include attention training as part of your practice:

1. Put your phone down! In today’s society there is a massive emphasis on multitasking, with most people on multiple devices whilst watching TV, doing their work/homework and even while having conversations. Even as I am typing this article on my laptop, my 2 phones and my iPad are right beside me. However, because we have a limited attention span, the more things that we are trying to pay attention to at the same time, the less focus we have for each task. Think of it as a percentage. You start with 100%. If you are focusing on one task you have 100% focus for that task. If you are focusing on two tasks, your attention is either split evenly (i.e., 50-50) or one task will get more attention than the other, but neither will get 100%. This results in the dual-task paradigm, which states that once we split our attention, our performance on one or both (or more) tasks will decrease. Consequently, it is important to train your brain to focus on one task at a time, which starts with how you spend your time off the field. Use one device at a time (mine are currently off except my laptop!), do one task at a time and focus all of your attention on what you are doing in the moment. This is an example of mindfulness, which I talk about further in point 4.
2. What are you focusing on? (NOT what are you NOT focusing on!) Spend most of your time thinking about where you want your focus to be, not where you do not want to focus. Your body will follow your mind, therefore, if you are thinking about not getting out or not getting belted for six, you are likely to end up mis-hitting the ball or mistiming your bowling action, increasing the likelihood of getting out or getting hit for six because that is where your focus is. Instead, when you identify where you do not want to go or something that you do not want to do, think about where you can go instead, for example, your bowling line or where you want to hit the ball..
3. Practice under pressure. The hardest situations to maintain attention and focus are pressure situations. Therefore, it is important to create pressure during practice to help you prepare for game day situations. For example, use imagery to recreate a high pressure cricket match, or get your friends to try and distract you. Measure your focus by analysing practice and put key words in place that bring your focus back to your key actions.
4. Mindfulness Practice. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment on purpose. Find ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life as well as on the field for best results. Some examples of mindfulness practice include mindful breathing, mindful body scan, notice 5 things.
For more information on how to include attention training as part of your preparation, contact Rachel on rachel@mentalnotesconsulting.com.au or visit us on Facebook or at our website www.mentalnotesconsulting.com.au.

Benefits of Improved Flexibility

Stretching is something that’s commonly undertaken before and/or after exercise, as it’s perceived to loosen muscles, which prepares them for a workout and reduces the risk of injury.
With stretching and subsequent gains in muscle lengths there will be improved performance and a decrease in the likelihood of injury. Using fielding as an example, if you have long and flexible hamstrings, you will be able to bend over to field the ball more efficiently. A short hamstring will not only be mechanically inefficient but can increase the stress on your back and is also more likely to tear as you bend forward whilst running at high speed.

Flexibility Guidelines
The following recommendations should be considered when implementing a dynamic flexibility-training program:
• Each stretch is to be held for 30-60 seconds or more on both sides of the body. Studies show that anything less than this will have limited effect on gains in muscle length. Ideally this should be completed daily, even twice daily if time permits.
• Improving a joints range of motion through planned stretching will decrease your risk of injury, not simply using static stretches before playing/training.
• Do not force a stretch. If it hurts, don’t do it.
• Flexibility and strength training should be combined.
• Be joint specific in the development of flexibility.
• Orientate the body in the most functional position relative to the joint or muscle to be stretched and relative to the athlete’s activity.
• Use gravity, body weight and ground reaction forces as well as changes in planes and proprioceptive demand to enhance flexibility .
• Develop a flexibility routine specific to the demands of Cricket and your individual needs, that is, replicating bowling, batting and fielding movements.
• Unlike other physical qualities, flexibility can be improved from day to day and once range of motion is increased or developed to the desired level it is easy to maintain that range of motion. Less work is needed to maintain flexibility than is needed to develop it.
• Warm up prior to stretching.

Special Consideration
It must also be understood that muscles play a major role in the stability of most joints, preventing dislocation. It is possible to become too flexible. If you have had a history of any dislocations, please consult the team physio regarding stretches you should avoid. It is also important that any stretches or warm up procedures you need to perform for a previous injury are addressed routinely to prevent injury recurrence.

Types of Stretching
What may be less known is that there are multiple types of stretches that might have different effects on different muscles and therefore different outcomes. Static Stretching (SS) is the most common form and is where a muscle is held in a stretched position for 10-60 seconds. SS is perceived to improve the range of muscular motion and performance and reduce injury. Dynamic Stretching (DS) lengthens a muscle through motion, for example straight leg swinging to pull and lengthens hamstring muscles and tendons. Finally Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), commonly used by sports scientists and physiotherapists, involves holding an SS, then contracting the muscle, then holding another SS. This type of stretching is thought to help release and lengthen muscles and allow a greater range of motion.
With various types of stretching available, it’s difficult to know which one works best for specific outcomes. A group of sports scientists in Western Australia reviewed the current literature on stretching and came to a few conclusions. They found that all types of stretching improved muscular performance. It was difficult to ascertain which type of stretching was best as each type had different effects on various muscles. A consistent benefit found with all stretching was improvement in the Range of Motion (ROM), which lasted during exercise and for at least half an hour after completion.
The researchers concluded that it is possibly beneficial to include warm up and warm down SS and DS in your exercise regime. Stretching may be the best way to improve range of motion in joints prior to working out. Start slowly and gradually build up the intensity and duration of each hold as you progress.

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