Stretching Exercises: Instruments of Torture or Salvation? 1


Stretching exercises are sort of like flossing.  Many people would agree that we should do them regularly, perhaps daily, yet very few actually do them.  Also, like flossing, those of us that never do it view the people that do as kind of weird.  For instance, if you told me that you did stretching exercises every day, this would what I automatically imagine that you mean.

Yoga Stretching

Now, don’t get me wrong, based on my mental image, I’d be impressed that you can do stuff like that- whether you actually can or not is irrelevant, I’d be impressed.  For the rest of us, though, my guess is that some basic stretching is probably beneficial.  Based on my recent meeting with my workout buddy, Brandon from FITU, this is part of what I have been up to.

Stretching Exercises for the Every-Man (Who Wants to Squat)

These were focused mainly on the hip because Brandon thinks I lack the hip mobility to do squats like I want to.  My first inclination was to respond with something about his mom and hip mobility but then I remembered his mother was a sweet lady whom I’d never insult.  After realizing he had won that particular exchange I decided to listen to his advice.

Here are the initial stretches he told me to do.  I don’t think many of their names are descriptive enough so where appropriate I have added a more descriptive title.

 

  1. Soft Ball Pin and Stretch- AKA the “Please Don’t Let This Ball Go Rogue”

 

 

Although this post is about stretching exercises in general, in recent years the idea of pounding your tissue into submission with foam rollers and balls has become popular.  With that in mind, here is the first stretching exercise of the day.  Essentially, in this one the goal is to sit on a ball of some kind and roll it around the hip and hind end area until you find a spot where you are tight, pin the ball down there with your body weight and move your body around the ball to compress that tight spot.  It is miserable…

 

  1. Posterior Self Hip Mobilization- AKA the “Is This Working?? Oh Ok, There It Is…Ouch”

 

The video probably does a better job at describing this than I can but from what I can see, it works best to keep your thigh on the leg that’s on the ground as vertical as you can.  This is one you don’t necessarily feel at first until you really start digging in to that lean.

  1. Active Spiderman Stretch- AKA “Hell on Earth”

 

What more can I say?  Act like a superhero and realize how very, very far from a superhero you actually are.  This one is not fun.  Feels like its effective, but not fun.

  1. Goblet Squat Hold- AKA the “Potty In the Woods”

 

I actually “cheat” this one a bit.  I use a stretchy band around my rack for stability rather than a kettlebell.  In my mind it should be working similar things since I am getting down into that bottom position.  I’ll wait for Brandon to chastise me before I stop doing it that way.

Torture or Salvation: Verdict?

Well after a couple of weeks of stretching more- though admittedly not as much yet as I should- I have noticed these are becoming easier.  Whether that is me becoming more flexible or just my tolerance for pain is increasing I can’t be certain.

I honestly do feel a little better and I am all for any of the stretching exercises that can allow me to lift better.  With that in mind, my verdict- Salvation!

 

P.S. Big thanks to Movement As Medicine whose videos I used.


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