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April 28, 2011Stretching: Why you don't want to phone this one in
I fell off the deck.
Not today - no need to rush to emergency with flowers and treats, not that I wouldn't enjoy that
It was a couple of years ago. We were laying down new deck boards. Our deck is high off the ground. It's more like a platform in the woods. You know, don't fence me in. I was nudging closer and closer to the edge until finally I went one step too far and...over I went, smack dab into the dirt and tree stumps below.
My instinct was to tuck and roll, go with it and hope for the best.
Luckily my flexibility allowed me to do just that. The tuck and roll trick I'd learned in judo class in college that never left me and serves me on falls and bloopers to this day. And my sustained yoga and stretching practices kept me more bendy than I would have been without them. It saved me arse. Why Stretch? When?
Make no mistake. Stretching and staying flexible are important components of fitness and well being. And believe it or not, critical for top-notch body shaping.
After all, what's going to save you in a fall if not your ability to bend, reach, and otherwise go with the flow?
So, when is the best time to stretch? Have you heard conflicting advice about stretching before or AFTER a workout? I know I have.
There are two central issues to consider when approaching flexibility training via stretching.
These two highly related issues are:
1. Thermo-Elasticity, and
2. The Stretch Reflex
The practice I have followed personally and in coaching and training is to follow this protocol to enhance your flexibility via stretching:
1) perform light activity to warm the muscles
2) proceed to more intense activity, depending on your goals for that particular training session (1.e. strength or endurance)
3) decrease exercise intensity as needed at the end of the intensity phase (#2 above)
4) proceed to stretching, or muscle elongation.
These considerations are essential for not only enhanced flexibility, but injury prevention as well.The science of the stretch...For the rest of this article, click HERE>>>>