10 Minute Stretching Routine
For Increased Flexibilityby
Phil Campbell - Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness for Time Crunched
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.
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).
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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,
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
10-Minute Stretching Routine has 5 stretching positions. Each position is
performed on both legs. And each stretch-hold position should be held for
start position of the first stretching position, the hamstring stretch, is
shown below. Reminder - always move in slow-motion when stretching to
Pull forward into the stretch-hold
Hold 30 seconds Repeat on both sides
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.,
Author Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness
National Institutes of Health
research cited in newsletter,
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.