Winning Ways (FYI):
Thursday, April 29, 2004
By Gregory "Graig" White
"Most fitness enthusiasts and athletes stretch before and after exercise. They stretch to warm up, to help prevent injuries, and to cool down. Now more people are beginning to realize stretching can also be an incredibly effective fitness routine." This is how the release for Jay Blahnik's "Full-Body Flexibility" starts, and I am having a real tough time getting on board with this statement. Don't get me wrong, stretching is important, but it has been my experience that sometimes this aspect of fitness gets the short end of the stick.
As far as warm ups, most teams and programs have gone to what is called a Dynamic Warm-up. This type of warm up involves athletic movements performed very slowly at first and gradually get more intense. We have switched to this and have found it to be very effective. There have been times when the stretching that is being done is more harmful than good, and anything to help the athlete stay on the field and out of the trainer's room, I'm all for it.
Blahnik's system is based on three key stretching principles. The first is variety: challenging muscles with multiple techniques to attain maximum flexibility. The second is strength: ensuring that muscles can support the body through out the entire range of motion. The third is balance: developing equal strength and flexibility in opposing muscle groups on both sides of the body. In theory this publication is not bad, but in practice there is something about stretching for 40 minutes that I'm just not feeling.
There is no way you can argue with Jay's credentials but I think with this effort his target audience may not have been me.
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