This story paints a picture of the mindset necessary to be successful in a stretching program. In fact, this story will show you how the mindset will work on any task life gives you?
Pat Riley was the very successful coach of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team during the 1980’s.
He told his players, after winning the NBA title, that the next year they should focus on improving their performance on the court by only 1 %.
The result was truly amazing. All of the players came on board with that very simple request. (Yes even high paid professional basketball players can learn something new) Everyone on the team improved in all of the areas suggested by Mr. Riley. Many of the players improved in one or more areas as much as 20%.
What was the key? The goal set by the coach was reasonable, and apparently, to the players, very attainable. The Lakers won the title again the next year. They actually won 5 times in 9 years between 1979 and 1989.
Don’t go for a gold medal. Work on improving your range of motion just 1% every other month.
Work on the following suggestions whenever you stretch.
There is no gold medal for increasing your range of motion by stretching further than everyone else. If you are stretching so you can show someone how flexible you are you might want to check on why your self image needs that boost. For those that want to decrease injuries and keep participating in all that life has to offer, make sure that you are not overdoing it. Continue to challenge yourself to slowly improve.
Warm up before stretching.
Your muscles will do what you tell them for the most part. You can stretch your muscles until the fiber is torn apart. Your muscles have a blood supply that is adjusted according to the requirements put upon them by you. The supply of nutrients, including oxygen, and the removal of waste products are greatly improved with high blood flow. Warming up your muscles means increasing the blood flow. Get the proper blood flow to the muscles to allow them to operate as efficiently as possible.
Stretch within the body’s limits.
The stretch should be felt in the middle of the muscle body, not near a joint. Ligaments and tendons can be stretched. They should never be stretched, especially if you are over 40. As we age any stretching of the ligaments or tendons can be permanent and lead to further painful injuries.
Work one muscle group at a time.
Work a muscle group one at a time, then move on to another muscle group in your body. For reference those muscle groups are legs, arms, chest, and back.
One note very important note here. The stretches that are so commonly recommended for your back, touching your toes and crossovers (twisting your back like a wet towel) are now not recommended because it is far too easy to stretch the ligaments and even the cartilage in your spine. This can be permanent
Hold the stretch.
If you are following the earlier recommendations, for proper warm-ups and stretching the center of the muscle body, then do hold the stretch. Proper form will reduce the injuries from stretching and when you are active.
Proper breathing, deep and relaxing breaths, will allow your subconscious, to help the muscles relax. There is a special connection between your breathing and what your subconscious can controls. Breathing is one of the few activities that is controlled by our conscious and subconscious mind.
Drink plenty of water. You can tell if you are drinking the proper amounts of water if your urine is a very light straw color. Anything darker is putting tremendous stress on your kidneys and indeed, every cell in your body.