On the correct posture, strengthening muscles and stretching

    This post can be viewed as a commentary to two articles on correct posture and a healthy spine: one and two .

    And even as a comment to the comments, which discussed how to deal with the back of the thigh, which does not allow to sit exactly and bend properly.

    I have been in IT since '95, I have been practicing yoga for almost 30 years, I have been teaching for more than 5 years, so I think that I have some idea of ​​what is at stake and my opinion - most people (almost all) who work in sedentary work have in one form or another, back problems.

    If we talk about the effect of strengthening muscles and stretch marks on your posture, the main thing is why I started - if you feel that something is stopping you from keeping the correct posture, keeping your back straight, bending correctly - start with physical education, i.e. with muscle strengthening. Greater flexibility with weak muscles is more likely to make a problem.

    To get rid of back pain it is not necessary to engage in intense strength training with well-deserved trainers (although it’s fine if you have the desire and the opportunity). Regular classes, even 15 minutes a day, will make you feel much better; the main secret is gradualness and regularity. Start with something else, try something else, choose what you like, no matter what it is called, only regularity and gradualness are important. I advise you to practice yoga if you are concerned about the teacher’s qualifications, orient yourself to clubs of well-known brands, as a rule, the program is built quite competently and the chance to work with pleasure and benefit is quite high.

    As for the “stretch marks”, in my opinion, getting a negative result by starting to do it yourself is much easier.

    What you need to stretch when doing stretching.

    Ligaments and tendons

    The main thing to remember is that the ligaments and tendons are connective tissue. They may be more or less resilient, with age they become less resilient and more prone to tearing. They are not intended for stretching-compression and once having stretched a tendon or
    ligament (which is almost always an injury and is associated with a deterioration in strength), it will not work simply to reduce them to their original position. The process of stretching the tendons and ligaments is uncontrolled - we can freely relax or strain (lengthen or contract) a muscle, but
    we can only make an effort to the ligament or tendon and hope that everything will be fine.

    From the above, we can conclude that it is not necessary to stretch the ligaments and tendons.


    An important mechanism that affects the "stretching" is the myotatic reflex (muscle reflex to stretching).

    The myotatic reflex provides two protective mechanisms - maintaining the length of the muscle during sharp stretching (can be observed with tendon tests - the doctor hits the tendon with a malleus, which leads to an insignificant but sharp stretching of the muscle and the muscle
    reflexively decreases in response ). e. muscle tension when reaching a certain length.

    The degree of reaction in both the first and second cases is individual, but also in the first and, which is important for us, in the second it is not a property of the muscle, but a reaction of the nervous system. This, in particular, is confirmed by the results of the experiments of Sir Scott Sherrington in the early 20th century.

    Therefore, it is not entirely correct to say that it is difficult for us to bend correctly because the ligaments are too hard or the muscles are too short, rather, for one reason or another, the reflex works earlier than we would like.

    From the above, we can make an unexpected conclusion - the muscles also do not need to stretch. The stronger we stretch the muscle, the more actively the myotatic reflex is activated, and the stronger it is strained. As a result, with enough effort, you can injure a
    muscle, tendons, or ligaments — neither one nor the other is our goal.

    What you need is to teach you to relax a tense muscle, then it will naturally stretch to the extent that our movement or posture requires. This does not mean that the myotatic reflex will be suppressed and the second defense mechanism will disappear; rather, the reflex will be “reconfigured” to new firing limits.

    How exactly to "stretch"?

    Now you can formulate the basic principles of the development of flexibility.

    1. Take your time, stay in extreme (for you) positions for a while. Physiology says that after 15–20 seconds, the myotatic reflex begins to weaken, the “muscle is stretched excessively, the situation should be replaced, it should be reduced”, the body “retains its position for a long time, the unnecessary tension should be relaxed”. Therefore, start with 15-20 seconds (less is required if necessary), and gradually increase the time. It should be borne in mind that in some, especially unusual situations, the blood supply to the tissues may deteriorate, while sensitivity is lost, an erroneous impression “I can do more!” Is created and this is traumatic. General recommendation - 40 seconds is very good, the minute is great.
    2. Do not apply excessive force and do not allow the occurrence of pain. Especially in the tendons and ligaments (in particular, when bending forward - under the knees). Do not allow trembling and twitching of the muscles. The appearance of pain and trembling means that the muscles are already excessively strained and tendons begin to stretch, it is useless and traumatic. Return to the previous position to feel comfortable again. Stay on the verge of discomfort all the time; we felt that there would be some unpleasant sensations - linger, breathe, relax, and you can enter the exercise a little deeper, again until the first signs of discomfort, and so on.
    3. The myotatic reflex can be suppressed by signals from the higher nerve centers. Therefore, it is very important to include the head - attention and imagination - feel your body, understand where there is unnecessary stress and what exactly you need to relax. You can hook your leg with a rubber band and watch TV, you can watch your body at the same time and try to control what is happening - the result will be different.
    4. 4. Relaxing on the exhale is easier than inhaling, so use the breath, take a smooth inhale and a smoother, longer exhale. You can make a hissing sound with your throat to slow down and lengthen the exhalation. Closed eyes promote concentration. You can imagine how, with the exhalation, the heat is directed to the tense muscles, the heat helps to relax. You can imagine that with inhalation the muscles contract a little and you get out of the exercise a little, and with the exhale relax, lengthen and you enter the exercise a little deeper, the movement can be almost imperceptible externally, but this technique is very effective. Watch the face, if the face is tense, then there are tensions in the body. Begin relaxation with your face muscles, smile while doing the exercise.

      These are the most important principles. In addition, it is not specific for flexibility, but also essential:
    5. 5. Be sure to warm up well before exercising flexibility. It is easier to engage in warmth. The closer to the equator, the better.
    6. 6. If muscles are trained, it usually helps. Untrained muscles are easier to injure. In addition, in some cases, greater flexibility - a large range of motion - a high probability of injury.
    7. 7. Exercise regularly.

    Especially for beginners, it is usually very effective to engage in pairs - one is relaxed, the second makes efforts. But this practice requires a certain accuracy and care. When used correctly, stretching in pairs is very effective, repeatedly I had to see surprise on people's faces “can I really do it in just a couple of minutes?”

    I hope this text will help you understand what exactly you need to stretch and how to do it to develop flexibility.

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