The importance of Sports and End-range Strengthening

I have had a number of people that encounter injuries to muscles that are primary to their activities and it came to my attention that the muscles were strong in most positions, but were considerably weaker when the muscles were in a stretched position. For example, with a rower, often (depending on the type of rowing), they lean their bodies far forward by bending their backs forward and reaching forward. At this point, muscles like wrist flexors/extensors, elbow flexors, rotator cuff, rhomboids, lats, mid and low back extensors contract suddenly. The problem is that these muscles are in a stretched position and according to the ‘ol “Length-Tension Relationship” muscle law, these muscle will be much weaker than when they are in a neutral length position and as a consequence, they will be subject to strain, tearing and tendonitis to name a few. This is why I’ve become a fan of “end range strengthening”. This is weight training and neuromuscular training while the muscle is at a stretched position. I like yoga for this reason. Sort of like yoga with your sport in mind. This applies to triathletes that ride with Aero Bars, where they are leaned forward with elbows pulled in, sprinters, tennis players to name a few. I have suggested that some athletes approach their coaches to discuss whether or not “end range strengthening” could help them avoid injuries in the future. 

An additional consideration as well is to always make sure that all the joints involved in the activity are mobile and well supported so that the proper kinetic chain occurs during whatever activity you do as most body movement involves more than one joint moving. 

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