Sept. 2013
Flexibility & Stretching
by Rick Wood BS, CSCS

For too long we have all been just bending over, wedging our limbs against immoveable objects, feeling the stretch and thinking because we “feel” the stretch WE GOT IT! When it comes to flexibility, most of us have lost touch with our own “animal kingdom” stretching instincts! Quit watching these pro athletes out on field touching their toes! Yeah, they’re fast but they’re also always pulling muscles too! Do we really think we know how to stretch better than a cheetah? Now those kitties are studs! Ever notice they don’t hold their stretches for 30 seconds??!! Think about how you stretch when you wake up. That’s how it’s done! It’s really that simple!

Flexibility is a key component of all the fitness programs I offer. Exercise Hawaii programs use Active Isolated Stretch (AIS), a specialized stretching technique that enhances performance, speeds recovery from injury, enhances joint longevity, and allows for efficient blood flow throughout the muscle's full range of motion. I like to integrate stretching in several different ways. Some are appropriate as pre-exercise, as an active rest while warming up, at the end of a workout or you can choose a session completely devoted to stretching.

After 21 years of studying the human body and dealing with my own physical challenges, I have found the best way to deal with soft tissue flexibility problems is to release and lengthen musculature far beyond the concept of “body-parts”. There are most often several muscles at each joint that require their own specific angles and directions to facilitate a “complete” stretch of a muscle group. Far too often, general stretching routines or traditional stretches (like those I learned in academia) will most likely miss several trouble spots and give the exerciser false hopes and expectations for back, hips, knees, shoulders, necks… I see it all the time! Let’s get back to stretching like the kitties and I’ll help you with angles.

To find out more about the AIS stretching I use go to www.StretchingUSA.com