It is clear from performing the intense side stretch pose that it puts a deep stretch onto the hamstrings of the forward leg. It is therefore very important to sink the inner groin of the front leg deep into the pelvis. This correct position of the hip will put the maximum stretch onto the hamstring, which is the muscle aimed to be lengthened in this pose.The quadriceps and hamstrings work collectively as an agonist / antagonist couple. By contracting the quadriceps muscle in the front leg this can help to relax the ham-strings in the same leg by a process called reciprocal in-hibition. The more relaxed a muscle is the easier it will lengthen upon stretching.
SO HOW DOES A MUSCLE STRENGTHEN?
Simply, muscle fibres are made up of tiny sarcomeres and the connective tissue that hold these together. When muscle fibres are put on a stretch the stretch receptors in the muscles will react, attempting to recoil the muscle back off the stretch. Tension will also occur at the point where the muscle is connected to the tendon, where the Golgi tendon organs are located. The Golgi tendon organs record the change in tension and send signals to the spine to convey this information to the brain. When this tension exceeds a certain threshold, the Golgi tendon organs trigger the lengthening reaction which inhibits the muscles from trying to recoil, causing them to relax. Holding a stretch for a prolonged period of time, the muscle fibres become accustomed to the new length and reduce their signalling. Gradually, you can train your stretch receptors to allow greater lengthening of the muscles.
• Deep stretch put through the muscles in back and also a neural stretch occurring from the base of the skull running all the way down the spinal chord and down into the posterior side of the front leg.
• A sustained stretch is put through the hamstring of the front leg .
• A stretch will be put upon the calf to allow the heel to re-main on the floor with the leg at that angle.
• Strengthening will occur in the quad whilst performing this position