In the world of flexibility and stretching, there are a bevy of stretches that have likely been shown to you over the years. It’s hard to remember them if you don’t consistently do them and the ones you likely DO recall are the ones that are probably easiest for YOU to perform. That is very typical among our patient population. Not every stretch is right for everyone. As a matter of fact, stretching itself may not be right for some. When considering stretches to assist you in either recovery and/or performance, you must be certain that you are stretching properly and that your reason for stretching is proper.
I am always asked, “What stretch do you recommend for…” My answer is always the same, “It depends”. Not every muscle is meant to be stretched simply because it can be. Some muscles are tight for a reason. Before stretching them, you should determine if they are neurologically inhibited to properly stabilize another area or they are tight due to a restriction that may be a precursor to an injury.
Despite popular “public” opinion, good flexibility does not necessarily reduce the chance of injury. I say “public” in quotes, because there is much controversy in the “professional” world of health and fitness about the legitimacy of stretching and its overall effectiveness in its roles in recovery and performance. I have seen plenty of patients that are “tight” who have no injuries and plenty of Gumby like patients who are prone to injuries. The flexibility of muscles depends upon so many factors. For instance, a sprinter would require different flexibility then an MMA fighter.
However, if I had to pick just one stretch to perform every day, it would be the “Brettzel”. I do this stretch every morning when I wake up and every evening before I go to sleep. I find this stretch to be extremely effective in diminishing the effects of what gravity and technology have placed upon me all day. This is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G stretch that hits you in all the right places and allows your body to unwind from a long day and/or wake up to prepare for a new one. Regardless of our activities, we all fall into similar patterns of postural behavior when we are using our cell phones or slumping in front of our laptop and desk top computers all day. Do these images depict your habits on a daily basis?
The “Brettzel” is a great stretch that counters the negative impact of these postural issues. The following video from our friends at Functional Movement Systems demonstrates the proper way to perform this great stretch. *Watch the video a few times prior to attempting the stretch in order to achieve best results. Try doing this stretch consistently for a couple of weeks and see if you notice any changes in your overall movements.
*Suggestions, including any content therein, do not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be and should not be used in place of the advice of your physician. Before starting any diet or fitness program through The Boston Bodyworker, consult your physician to determine if such program is right for your needs.