Why your stretches do work.

August 1, 2015

Why your stretches do not work

by Tadashi Aoshima

 

 

Today I would like to talk about why some people do not get the results they expect even though they take care of their body in yoga classes or at the gym.

 

  • Perhaps you do not know the proper movements (you are not exercising correctly),

  • perhaps you do not have sufficient time to do those exercises,

  • or perhaps you do not know what the important points are. There can be many different reasons, but what are the solutions?

     

     

    "Requires very little time, feels good and is effective, can be done all by yourself!!"
    That would be indeed the "stretching exercise of your dreams". Let's explore this together.
     

    Here are some points to consider in order to build the "perfect stretching exercise": 
     

    A. To make it short, you have to find an efficient method.

    You need to focus on the causes of your pain or stiffness, and monitor the changes.


    You want to get the maximum effect with the

     

    minimum stretching.

    Let me explain this with a "lower back pain caused by ankle problems"

     

    Some of you may wonder, "What does the ankle have to do with the lower back?", but think of it this way.  Joints are connected to one another with muscles and so on, so a problem in one of the joints will put stress on other joints. This negative chain reaction will spread trouble throughout the body, from bottom to top, right to left, front to back. Conversely, a positive chain reaction can have a domino effect as the result of one effective stretching exercise.

     

    I hear you say, "OK, I get it, but what exactly do I have to do?"

     

    Be patient, here is the answer.

     

    1) Determine where your problem area is: right arm, left foot, right shoulder?

    2) In that problem area, start stretching from the smallest joint all the way up to the biggest joint.


    If it’s your arm: wrist-> elbow,->shoulder
    If it’s your foot (leg?): ankle->knee->groin

    ** By getting at least the smallest joint to relax, you will indirectly have enabled all other joints in the same area to relax, so you can expect some effect on the largest joint. This means that stretching the largest joint becomes easier, and you may even be able to skip this step, hence shortening the time needed for the exercise.

     

     B. If you want an exercise to feel good, you need to consider the "speed" of your stretching and the "amount of stimulation" you get from it.

    If you move too fast, not only the exercise will be ineffective, but you may also end up hurting your muscle fibers.  Take deep breaths, set the rhythm of your exercises to your breathing, and stop just before it becomes painful.

     

    Stretching with careful movements will soften your muscle fibers and give you a sense of "Aaaaaah, this feels good".

     

    When you pay attention on A. how to make the exercise short and B. how to make it feel good, while controlling the order and speed of your movements, you can expect your stretches to become much more effective.
     

    Now let me show you the exercise of the day: "pulling on your door frame".

     

    1) Stand in a door frame at home (think of it as opening the door and getting in the frame)
     

    2) Bend your right elbow at a 90 degree-angle, keep it against your body, and grab the door frame with   

        your hand.

    3) Take one or two steps forward with your right foot (about 30-40 centimeters to the front of your body)

    4) At the same time, keep your upper body (spine) straight and bend it 45 degrees forward.

    5) With your right hand still grabbing the door frame, your elbow will naturally stretch, and your right hand

        and right arm will look like they are pulling on the door frame. A little bit like the position of a ski   

        jumper in the air.

     

     

    6) Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
     

    7) You will feel a deep stretch in the front of your shoulder.

     

    By changing the position of your hand on the door frame up or down, you will be able to relax various parts of your shoulder.

     

 

 

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