A Powerful Stretching Ratio to Boost Energy
Are Tight Muscles Draining Your Energy?
Our bodies become unbalanced and stuck due to chronic work habits, repetitive movements, single directional sports and/or injuries. Do you play tennis, golf or sit at a desk for eight hours a day, five days per week? We end up tighter on one side or in one direction. It's common to see people in the gym stretching usually in a single direction. For example, hamstring stretching with the leg straight and while holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each side. This means, each side gets the same amount of time and the level of attention.
Will this type of stretching increase your flexibility? Sure, but you will still be unbalanced. Try stretching the “loose” side once and the “tight” side twice. Remember to breathe and relax as you stretch; if you are holding your breath it is too intense. Keep stretching until you find that you are not making any further gains and feel “loose.”
2 to 1 Stretching Ratio to Improve Performance
During our Fascial Stretch Therapy training in 2007 at the Stretch to Win Institute we learned of a powerful stretching ratio that helps people regain alignment and boost their energy. Add a 2:1 ratio to your general stretching routine.
Start by paying attention to how your body feels during each stretch. Notice of there is a direction that or side that you feel has more tension than the other? Stretch the tighter side first, than go to the looser side. Return to and finish on the tighter side.
For example my right leg is shorter and my foot is likely turned outward a little. I broke the right tibia in a cross-country ski race nearly 20 years ago (long story — ask me about it!) and had abdominal surgery almost 30 years ago. I hold the majority of my stress tension in my right; I also had a significant surgery on my right abdomen when I was very young. Therefore, I need to focus on stretching my right hip flexors, right lower-back and quadriceps twice. I begin by stretching the right, then stretch my left and finally finish with the right side. This achieves a balanced posture and boosts my energy.
With our stretch tips, we want to change the way you stretch so you achieve lasting changes in your posture, flexibility and performance at work or at play.
Keep the 2 to 1 ratio in mind to achieve a more balanced body. Length of time to hold stretch positions will be addressed in future posts.