The best form possible is with minimal swing, however in the beginning most people feel they need more swing to help them over the bar. Start the muscle-up with a smooth and gentle swing; enough to get the motion but not enough to ruin your form.
What it is: The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles, which connect the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade, control shoulder motion, and provide dynamic stability. These can be strained or torn, like any muscle, across a spectrum of severity, from a mild stretch to a partial tear to a complete rupture.
In its most basic form, stretching involves taking a muscle to its end range of motion, and holding the elongated state for a period of time. This can happen statically for a period of time (static stretching), with the use of momentum and holding of end range (dynamic or active stretching), or sometimes with muscle contractions and stretching together (PNF or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation).
A large body of research has emerged in the last decade outlining that regular stretching does increase range of motion over periods of 4-8 weeks, with both changes in the muscle tissue and changes in the nervous system as an underlying mechanism. (18-26)
With this being said, there are definitely studies that claim changes to the mechanical properties of the muscle, tendon, and junction between these structures change overtime with stretching. The majority of these articles theorize that the main reasons that stretching increases range of motion include
I think that by using correct stretching consistently over time (not into excessive pain or passive tissue damage) combined with strength in full range of motion. eccentrics, or skill training, is mainly what causes changes in the muscle tissue itself.
It was found that thirty minutes of supervised hamstring stretching to the point of discomfort, five days per week for six weeks improved overall range of motion but did not increase the muscle extensibility. In simple terminology, it means that they did show an increase in the range of motion, but not due to a significant change in structural muscle tissue length. The researchers proposed that the change in the range of motion may have primarily come from increased tolerance to the discomfort of nerve fibers that detect stretch pain, as the fibers were becoming more desensitized. (10)
However, my point is that in most cases with a gymnast (or many overhead athletes) we are looking to improve range of motion into this elevated position by improving the flexibility of specific soft tissues. Tissues most commonly targeted are the latissimus dorsi, teres major, and pec muscles. When this is the case, there may be a more optimal approach based on the anatomy of the shoulder joint. These common active structures limiting overhead shoulder flexibility we want to focus on making more mobile. If the exercises above are biasing stress on joint capsules and ligaments more so than the lat, teres major, and pec muscles, we should look for an alternative solution.
However, more recent research has supported the idea that foam rolling and properly designed dynamic warm-ups prior to training appear to have no significant negative effects on performance, may enhance it, and also positively impact the range of motion in various muscle groups (49-50). From looking at self- myofascial release and manual therapy literature reviews, this is thought to be through changes in perceived soreness, neurological relaxation, and possibly blood flow / water content shifting within the muscle.
Many of the gymnasts I coach or treat for injuries report that light, soft tissue work makes them feel more warmed up and helps to reduce perceived muscle soreness. They also claim it helps following hard workouts or on light training days to recover. Many also claim that it helps them move in a larger range of motion with less discomfort before starting their practice. A few very inflexible gymnasts that I have worked with also displayed improvements in hip or shoulder range of motion over time when they used soft tissue work combined with proper stretching/strength programs.
Secondly, I have also found that many gymnasts have significantly increased passive range of motion due to naturally laxity, but have a notable lack of active control for their full hip ranges. This is especially true when not allowing compensation from other body parts or excessive swinging for momentum. They often struggle quite a bit to lift their legs even against gravity alone. In this situation, if the gymnast can not access their full range of motion against gravity alone, I see no justification for adding additional ankle weight resistance and allowing swinging momentum to reach the desired end range of motion. I feel this may not only foster more compensation, but it may create overload based injuries to muscles and tendons in conjunction with the principles above.
Factors identified that put an individual at risk of developing a sports hernia include reduced hip movement (range of motion), poor muscle balance around the pelvis, limb length discrepancy and an unstable pelvis (4).
Stability Pro is designed to focus on shoulder stability and core strength. By moving through range of motion drills and stability holds each athlete will maximize muscle activation throughout their body. 1e1e36bf2d