Stretching is good for you. Some general stretching advice is given on how and when to stretch, and on the nutritional supplements to make stretching effective.
He's absolutely right on the first count. I'm unfamiliar with his reasoning on the second. But item #1 is correct, and not widely known, which implies that he is well-informed. So #2 is likely to be valid, as well.
When I was coaching volleyball in New England, I had occasion to read the coaching journals and learn something about the applied physiology that the national teams are using (and then gear it down to the level I was coaching).
Some information to consider:
Running is terrific exercise, but it can also tighten you up something fierce. But with as few as 5 post-run stretches, you can increase your flexibility, reduce soreness, and and improve your recovery time so you get stronger, faster.
Here are the stretches, working from the bottom up. Hold them for a slow count of 20 (which works out to about 30 seconds each, for me), or somewhat longer (up to a minute):
Calf stretch:The calves run along the back of your lower leg. The
best stretch I've found is to stand with your toes on something raised,
like a curb, and let your heels hang down. (If it's wet, I'll open the
car door and stand on the edge of car, holding onto the edge of the roof
You can do the lunge stretch for the calves, too. But since you're only doing one leg at a time, it takes twice a long. (On the other hand, you maximize the stretch for each calf. Your choice.)
Hamstring stretch: The hamstring is the muscle at the back of the thigh. This is a terrific stretch for them, and it's pretty much the only one that works. Stand facing a tree, pole, wall, or some other support. Reach out and press your hands against the object. The goal is for your hands to be level with your hips, or as near as you can get to that position. If you're too close, bend your elbows. If too far, work your feet backward. Then, with your feet directly under your hips, push your chest towards the ground while keeping your legs reasonably straight. Lever against the support to keep your body straight as you stretch out the hamstrings.
Glute stretch: The "glutes", aka the gluteus maximus, is otherwise known as your butt. From the hamstring-stretch position, let go of the support and slowly drop your arms towards the ground. Drop your head, round your back, and let gravity pull you towards the ground. When gravity has taken you as far as you will go, you can stretch a little further by putting your hands behind your legs and pull gently pulling your body towards your knees.
Quad stretch: The quads are the muscles on your thigh. If the ground is dry, sit on you heels for 30 seconds, then lean back and rest on yor hands, elbows, or (ideally) on your back for 30 seconds. Great quad stretch. If the ground is wet, hold something for balance while standing, lift one leg behind you, grasp your foot, and pull it to your butt as though you were sitting on it. Then push your hips forward for a better stretch.
Hip stretch: The muscles at the sides of your hips get more of
a workout than you realize, when you run. If the ground is dry, stretch
them by sitting cross-legged and leaning forward as far as you can for
30 seconds. When you're done it's a great time to meditate and enjoy the
If the ground is wet, spread your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart to take the hamstrings out of the equation. Then bend forward once more, focusing attention on the hips. You can then meditate in the Taiji "Empty Stance"--or Wu-ji stance--where your feet are shoulder width apart, knees are slightly bent, upper body is tilted slightly forward to release all tension in the back, and your hands just hang or rest comfortably below your navel.
When working to increase range of motion, it is worth supplementing to make sure your body has the macro-nutrients it needs to repair itself with supple, pliant tissue. To do that, you need 1 to 2 grams per day of:
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by Eric Armstrong. All rights reserved.
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