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Better, faster, stronger.
By Tom Goom on in Strength and Conditioning , Nine West Womens Craven Leather Ballet Flat Black 5seuoDl5wJ

Written by Tom Goom, senior Physio at The Physio Rooms Brighton. Follow Northwave Cizy Cruizer 41 7tca6jj73
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One of the most common problems I see in clinic is runners struggling with tight, rigid muscles. Usually they've tried a host of self treatments with little success. So how do you rid yourself of a concrete calf or a granite glute?

The first port of call for most runners is to stretch, stretch then stretch again. Intuitively this makes sense – it feels tight so I should stretch it – but, while it may help symptoms, they often return fairly rapidly when running. Plan B would be the foam roller. Again a few minutes of rolling around in agony do seem to help but results may be short term. Failing this many head off for a sports massage where deep pressure on the muscle combined with stretches may loosen the offending muscle.

I'm not against any of this, although I will point out that there is a great deal of debate around the benefits of stretching, foam rollering or massage. Like many areas there is a lack of strong evidence to support their effect but anecdotally runners report great benefit. My advice would be, if it eases symptoms and works for you stick with it but don't rely on it alone.

don't rely on it alone.

Oh God, I'm stuck!

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In many cases the cause of muscle tightness is actually muscle weakness. Recent research describes 'fatigue induced muscle disorder' where an athlete reports a firm, tight muscle. An increase in amount or intensity of training exposes a muscle group to greater load, it fatigues and becomes tight. So the solution is either reduce the training load or strengthen the muscle to cope with it (or both if possible).

If strength is the key issue, it raises the question does stretching actually make things worse ? Static stretching has been associated with reduction in muscle strength and there is some debate as to whether we can actually influence muscle length. A couple of small studies have suggested that using a foam roller improves range of movement without reducing strength but there is minimal evidence to support long term effects. So here's a thought, if stretching/ rolling doesn't seem to help you maybe you should stop doing it and spend the time strengthening instead? Don't agree? Share your views in the comments, I'm certainly open to other people's opinions on this.

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, Optimization Strategist of WiderFunnel

Success metrics and key performance indicators ensure optimizers are held accountable for contributing to business goals and driving actual growth, ensuring the longevity of the strategy.

And when the Executive team is involved in the creation of these metrics, experimentation is linked to the goals they care about, and the experimentation program has visibility at the highest level of an organization.

In fact, Executive teams at 63% of more mature organizations are involved in setting success metrics for experimentation, showing an investment in the outcomes and, even more so, in the strategy’s long-term importance.

Without buy-in and alignment at the top-level, optimization champions may experience roadblocks in sharing results and learnings, obtaining resources, and scaling experimentation efforts across the organization.

Involve your Executive team in the creation of success metrics for your experimentation program. This will allow you to:

If your Executive team doesn’t have any input on your experimentation program’s key metrics, you might be running experiments on goals that they really don’t care about – that aren’t really important to the business.

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, Director of Strategy at WiderFunnel

Experimentation programs often fall into one of the following organizational structures:

There are pros and cons to each experimentation program structure, and optimization champions will need to figure out what will work best for their organization and their unique culture.

While a decentralized program may enable speed of testing, without proper standards and central oversight, there is a risk that teams will clash, cannibalize each other’s goals, and pull in different directions rather than pushing the organization in a unified direction.

A central body will most likely have the holistic customer journey in mind, and can prioritize and deliver experimentation campaigns that focus on the most important parts of the business. But it’s unwise to assume a central body will have the necessary depth of expertise to experiment on certain parts of the business.

A combination model attempts to combine the best of both worlds and is favored by the most mature organizations, with 58% using a combination model.

In the combination model, there is shared ownership of digital initiatives – a central body works with all relevant stakeholders to prioritize and plan for experimentation. But individual teams are able to own and execute tests.

52% of organizations that are running experiments at a high velocity are using a combination model, showing the agility of the organizational structure.

“While a centralized experimentation team like a Center of Excellence may be the ‘hallmark’ of a mature experimentation program, it is not surprising that a combination of both team structures is most efficient.