Stretching, stretches, what a stretch:
Disclaimer: There is no specific medical advice found here. Contact your own doctor for specific medical advice. Just what's on my stretch mind. Use info here at your own risk. How come stretch isn't spelled strech? Nevermind... Well, I am one of the most non-flexible folks on this planet. I thought I'd write about stretches as a self help exercise. Maybe I'll graduate to doing yoga one day? Stretching hasn't been one of my favorite things to do. My wife on the other hand is very flexible and loves stretching.
Back to home page: Rising Piano Fire
Back to Updates on Rising-Piano-Fire
Involves bouncing repeatedly.
Can lead to injury.
It does not allow the muscle to adjust to and relax in the newly stretched position.
There is a stretch reflex that causes the opposite effect where the muscle is tightened up, rather than loosened.
Stretching to the furthest point and then hold in that position.
Slightly different from passive stretching below. Passive stretching involves an external holding force.
Some references use static stretching and passive stretching interchangeably others, like above, make a distinction between the two definitions.
Slow controlled movements, such as: leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists
Found in yoga
Assume a position and hold it without any other assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles. The agonists at work allow for reciprocal inhibition by the antagonist muscles which are being stretched.
Assume a position and hold it with some apparatus, partner, or another part of your body.
Example: bring your feet up behind your hip and holding it there with your hand
Assumes a stretched position then
Follows with a isometric (no movement) contraction of the muscle being stretched
PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
Combining passive stretching with isometric stretching.
Contract-relax: Example: Start with passive stretch, then isometric contraction, relax, then stretch further contract again for 10 seconds, then relax for 20 seconds
PNF stretches are considered one of the most efficient ways to improve on stretching ability.
A good source of info: http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_4.html, as it was the main source of info for above, plus some of my thoughts added in.. In that link, you will find the most highly referenced document on stretching on the internet that I have currently found, it also talks about the the different types of flexibility.
Many pianists wish for larger reaches. For me, my hands are small - great for a surgeon, but not so great for a pianist or violinist. I would love to get more of a reach in my fingers. Using this document, I know that I use passive stretching when I brace my hand against a table and gently stretch the thumb and pinky fingers away from each other, and I practice active stretching when playing octaves on the piano. An interesting thought is that I have not practiced PNF stretching for my fingers. Now that would be valuable! But be careful. Schumann reportedly damaged his right hand from over-stretching from using a mechanical device that exercised and stretched his hands.
Schumann. He had a damaged right hand. It may have been from over stretching. It is not 100% clear. It may also be the side effect of his syphilis medication.
So be careful.