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10 Minute Stretching Routine For Increased Flexibility

by Phil Campbell - Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness for Time Crunched Adults

I don't like stretching! I know...I'm a fitness book author with a chapter dedicated to stretching, and I need to like stretching. But I don't.

I'm naturally tight. And stretching is just down right painful sometimes.

However, I said it in my book, and I'll repeat it again; if I had to choose only one form of exercise, it would be static stretching (the most difficult kind of stretching).

If you have a problem with stretching, then you and I have a lot in common. But, you must, you simply must, add stretching to your fitness training.

You can get the job done in 10-minutes, 4 days a week, just don't miss the many wonderful benefits of stretching.

Stretching will not release growth hormone

Stretching is not the kind of exercise that will release growth hormone, but it will prepare your body for the exercises that can.

Simply, if you don't have an appropriate stretching routine in your fitness program, you may be risking injury every time you perform anaerobic training like the Sprint 8 Workout, or weight-plyos

Stretching can aid in reversing hardening of the arteries

Researchers show that prolonged stretching (in the form of yoga) with moderate aerobic exercise and diet control will reduce cholesterol and significantly reverse hardening of the arteries (20 percent regression) in adults with proven coronary atherosclerotic disease.

After one year in a yoga program, participants lost weight, reduced cholesterol, and improved their exercise capacity, (Retardation of coronary atherosclerosis with yoga lifestyle intervention, 2000, Manchanda).

If you have time for yoga classes, or your martial arts training emphasizes stretching, that's great. Keep it up! But if you're not attending karate or yoga classes, then the 10-Minute Stretching Routine may be for you.

New Research Reverses the rule on stretching

Coaches have instilled it into the minds of their athletes as long as anyone can remember - stretch before you workout or play a game, and the more the better.

While I always do the 10-Minute Stretching Routine prior to the Sprint 8 Workout for the warm-up benefit, new research totally reverses the pre-game philosophy of stretching.

Researchers show that athletes should not perform prolonged stretching routines before playing a game because it temporarily slows muscle activation.

Prolonged stretching (static stretching) slightly decreases strength for up to an hour after stretching by slightly impairing muscle activation. (Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantar flexors, 2000, Fowles).

Don't let this research become a reason to not add the 10-Minute Stretching Routine to your fitness plan. A complete stretching program to increase flexibility is important - just not an hour before the big game.

 

Stretching Technique is Everything

Since warming up prior to anaerobic training is an absolute rule - never to be broken - stretching can be combined (multi-tasked) by using the 10-Minute Stretching Routine as your warm-up.

This strategy is appropriate for the warm-up prior to training, but not before the game or a key practice session. The goal of the warm-up is to get the blood flowing and raise body temperature (one degree) prior to high-intensity workouts and athletic competitions.

30 Second Stretch-hold Position

Gains in flexibility are dependent on the duration of stretching position, and the researchers show the best stretch-hold position is 30 seconds. (The effect of time on static stretch on the flexibility of the hamstring muscles, 1994, Bandy).

Simply, you need to slowly move into (and out of) the stretched-out position and hold it 30 seconds. This is called static stretching and is different from dynamic mobility stretching, the head rotations type of stretching.

Examples of the stretch-hold position

The 10-Minute Stretching Routine has 5 stretching positions. Each position is performed on both legs. And each stretch-hold position should be held for 30-seconds.

The start position of the first stretching position, the hamstring stretch, is shown below. Reminder - always move in slow-motion when stretching to avoid injury.

Start Position

 REMEMBER: Always move in slow-motion when stretching to avoid injury.

 

Remain in the stretch-hold position for 30 seconds before releasing and going to the next stretching position

 

Pull forward into the stretch-hold position.

 

 

 


Hold 30 seconds
Repeat on both sides

 

 

Personal Observation

 

During the 35 years that I've been involved in fitness training, I've noticed (here's my opinion and not backed by research) that stretching is unlike any form of exercise. Most exercises provide positive results quickly. With stretching, it's like the body fights flexibility gains for the first few weeks. Then, between weeks four and six, the body stops resisting and agrees to increase flexibility.

So, if you've tried stretching before and didn't see results, hang in there. Stretching provides many wonderful benefits, even for the "naturally tight" like me.

Have a great day!

Phil Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE
Author Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness

   

National Institutes of Health research cited in newsletter,
Research Summary 1
Research summary 2
Research Summary 3

NOTE: The purpose of this article is to expand thinking about fitness as an informational source for readers, and is not medical advice. Before attempting the Synergy Fitness program, the Sprint 8 Workout, or any high-intensity exercise program, consult your physician. This is not just a liability warning; it's wise to have a baseline medical exam before beginning a fitness program. Make your physician a partner in your fitness improvement plan.


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Personal Endorsement

Phil Campbell contacted me personally and asked if I would be interested in following his training plan. After being a competitive runner for over 36 years, I thought that there was little more that I could learn. I was totally wrong! Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness for Time Crunched Adults has revolutionized my training and I can't thank Phil enough. I have lost body fat, gained energy and strength and I am running better than I have in years. Phil's book shows you how to incorporate his training methods into your bicycling, swimming, running or other cardiovascular workout as well as maximize the benefit that you get from your strength workout. You owe it to yourself to order this book and start achieving all of the goals that you have always wanted to, but never been able to.


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