STRETCHING MISTAKES AND HOW TO STRETCH PROPERLY
You can’t overlook the importance of a good stretching routine! In this week’s post, I’m breaking down the do’s and don’ts of stretching – providing you with 3 keys to stretching so you’ll know you’re doing it the right way. In the video I demonstrate some of my favorite stretching exercises on the Total Gym that target muscles most frequently tightened from daily activities.
Stretching is something that I used to rarely take the time to do. I feel fortunate though, because as a fitness instructor at world-renowned Rancho La Puerta fitness spa in Mexico I get to teach several 45-minute stretch classes a week. It has forced me to stretch and guess what? All that stretching has made several of my chronic aches and pains disappear! Stretching alleviated my neck and shoulder tightness. My hamstring, low back and hip flexor aches are all gone, too! Stretching also improved my golf game, (check out www.CoreGolfFitness.com) tennis, workouts and the overall functioning of my body.
Here are my 3 keys to stretching:
Wrong Way to Stretch:
Stretching cold muscles as a warm-up for any activity. Think of your muscles as taffy. When taffy is cold it doesn’t stretch so well and stretching cold muscles can cause stretching injuries. This is a common stretching mistake. The best way to prepare your muscles for any activity is to start at a light, warm-up pace. For example, before you do squats and plyo-metric jumps on your Total Gym, set the level about 25% lower than the actual exercise, and squat for about 20 repetitions. Use this time to focus on your perfect form and breathing (exhaling as you push up to straighten your legs). Next, do the exercise until you fatigue your legs and that taffy (your muscle) is warm and pliable! Then do a quick stretching routine with your leg muscles as I show you in the video.
After each exercise, stretch the muscle you just worked for approximately 30 seconds. After a chest press on the Total Gym, slowly open your arms behind you and let your body weight do the stretching of your chest/frontal shoulders for you! Breathe deeply for about 30 seconds. This is one of my favorite stretches to combat life’s daily activities like computer work and driving that pull the shoulders forward.
Right Way to Stretch:
Pick on the muscles that get repetitively shortened in life. In addition to the chest/frontal shoulder example mentioned above, the hamstrings, lower back and hip flexors get tight from something we all do: sitting too much repetitively! After a long day of work, jump on your Total Gym and lengthen out these muscles. See the video for some of my clients’ favorites and then create your own post-work stretching routine.
Use these tips to keep yourself flexible for life. Regular stretching will improve everything you do from how you feel sitting at your desk to any of your favorite activities. I can whole-heartedly tell you from working with many clients in their eighties that keeping yourself flexible is one of the most important keys to aging gracefully. Your Total Gym is the perfect machine to help both strengthen and stretch your entire body.
Want to experience a Rancho La Puerta, full-body stretch class? JayDee’s Ranch Stretch DVD ($20) includes 12 Functional Stretches that you can do anywhere, in line at the grocery store, at your computer or on the plane, etc.!
Email to request: jd@CuttingEdgeSalesPerformance.com
Stay flexible in body and mind!