Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Shoulder, the Most Mobile and Troublesome Joint in the Body

Brian Watters, DC, MS, CSCS

The purpose of the shoulder is to be the most mobile joint in the entire human skeleton. With mobility, however, there is inherent instability. We need a very moveable joint for our upper extremities since many everyday tasks require us to move this appendage in a multitude of ranges in front, above, and behind us. With this great benefit comes a risk: instability.

When most physicians talk about instability, they are referring to something that can be very dangerous. Example: In the Lumbar spine, instability can result in nerve damage. Instability is a term used very loosely to mean different things. In the shoulder is means that there is no bony structure surrounding the joint to provide stability, it is purely muscular and ligamentous. Herein lies the problem. Anywhere there is a muscle or ligament, there can be excessive force placed on the joint that becomes damaging or there can be weakness or misuse of muscle that can be damaging to the surrounding joint.

To be moveable in everyday life we need flexibility, and the shoulder is no different. When we think about the life of an active person, especially in terms of lifting in the weight room, we need good flexibility for overhead motion in a slew of overhead movements. We can typically address flexibility in the overhead arena very efficiently based on an overhead squat. If the arms drop forward or the Thoracic spine does not extend we need to work on T-Spine extension and/or shoulder flexibility. It could be chest (pec) tightness, back (lat) tightness, posterior shoulder tightness, or an entire list of things. We can foam roll, stretch, mobilize, use PVC pipe, etc. What happens if there is still an issue in flexibility or even pain during a movement that needs a solid shoulder?

Stability is the answer. But not blind stability. We need to address the deficit in the muscles surrounding the shoulder, such as in the rotator cuff, or look at correcting movement of the scapula by stabilizing the muscles involved in scapulohumeral rhythm. This takes a trained eye to spot and diagnose, but many are very obvious. Most pain syndromes, in fact, are caused by inability of the muscle moving the scapula to work in chorus with one another and needs to be addressed.

We always address shoulder flexibility in a joint, but when that doesn’t correct the issue we need to talk about stability. We already coach it by saying things such as “bend the bar” and “activate your lats”. But when the shoulder still has issues, we need a targeted approach to specific muscles in the scapular and rotator cuff areas.

Train Smart.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

WOD Wednesday #110

3 rounds for time of:

  • 2 legless rope climbs, 15-ft. rope
  • 35 wall-ball shots

♀ 14-lb. ball to 9 ft
♂ 20-lb. ball to 10 ft.

Intended Stimulus . Oh my heart! This is one fun fast workout. Nothing raises the heart rate like hanging from a rope 15 feet high when you're not completely sure if you will be able to hold on. Well actually maybe just one thing: a big set of wall-balls. Let's embrace that today. Commit to keeping moving with that heart beating fast. That is the stimulus we are looking for. We want you to confront that uncomfortable sensation of your body telling you to put that ball down, while you have to regain your calm and keep breathing. Today your strategy does not matter that much, because no matter what, your objective is to pick up that ball in less than 5 seconds. Track your rest and keep it under 5 and you will get the stimulus we want. Athletes modifying the rope climb should find an option that allows them to work in a narrow vertical pull with a thick grip. Athletes modifying the wall-balls should lower the weight first and the number of reps second, priority today is volume*.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Product Review: GymNext Flex Timer Gym Edition

Product Details
This is the timer your coaches and members have been asking for!

The GymNext Flex Timer combines a large, crystal-clear LED display with an easy to use interval timer app creating the best, most powerful gym timer ever made.

The 4.0" LED digits (same as the Rogue Echo or MDUSA No Limits timer) in blue/red are visible from hundreds of feet away and the 95db buzzer is extremely loud. With bluetooth range of over 100 feet, you aren't tethered to the clock. Move throughout the facility and easily control and setup the timer from our convenient and FREE mobile app.

You can save an unlimited number of custom workouts spanning 6 different timer modes: Standard, Round, Interval, Tabata, EMOM and Laps. Configurable prelude times, round warnings, and a 3-second segue between rounds are just the beginning of the options available to create the most customized experience ever.

The audio sync feature allows you to use a wired or bluetooth speaker to augment or replace the timer's built in buzzer. Play your music from your phone and now you can listen to your music as loud as you want. The app will automatically fade the music in and out at the end of each round so that you never miss an indicator again.

Large gyms will love the ability to link multiple timers together and have them display the same workout or run the timers separately to easily manage different workouts or heats. And the included wall brackets make mounting your clock a breeze.

For the utmost convenience, go hands-free with a Pebble timepiece or Apple Watch. You'll enjoy the natural feeling you get from initiating the timer from your wrist just like a stopwatch.

For the data lovers and elite athletes, integrate heart rate monitoring into your workouts and have your heart rate periodically or permanently display on the clock so you know how hard you're working and can set a proper pace.

When not in use for timing purposes, the Flex Timer reverts back to a 12h or 24h clock.

But there's even more...

The Flex Timer app is updated all the time unlocking new features and functionality so that your timer actually gets even better with age.

My Review:
I avoided purchasing a clock for my gym too long. Didn't think it was necessary. I was constantly using my phone timer, an app, a stop watch, or even a stop watch website on my computer.  But after using my GymNext clock I can't imagine a workout without it. It is easy to use, not a distraction, and infinite programming possibilities for any type of workout.

I like that you can set up a custom welcome message and that the timer automatically takes local time from your phone. Be aware that the timer will only connect with one phone at a time. This means that if someone was using the timer and you go to connect with your phone, you won't be able to connect. In a big gym setting this would mean you have to reboot the timer or hunt down the person who retains control.

I researched a number of cheaper alternatives but what makes this worth the price is the app. The timer easily connects to your phone and then you can create whatever type of timer you need. Plus the built in timers make it easy to quickly get started, or you can edit them if need be.
The app works flawlessly with the GymNext Flex Timer application. Connection to the timer is so simple a monkey could do it. Everytime I open the app, it connects immediately with zero lag. It's programmable to every interval training mode known to man and has loud audible beeping that can also be programmed to discretion. It does not interfere with music and once the timer is going, you can still use your phone normally as long as the app is running in the background. It connects to a heart rate monitor and can display your heart rate periodically to your discretion. This is extremely helpful especially when you're trying to maintain a certain heart rate zone.

Bottom line, this timer is outstanding in value, usability, build quality and customer service. I've contacted their friendly customer service to tell them how impressed I am with their product and you can tell they are a Just as excited as you will be once you get your hands on it.

- Very bright numbers (I actually use the reduced brightness setting)
- LOUD (I put tape over the buzzer and it is still highly audible)
- App supports any imagineable interval combination
- Kid-safe as there is no remote to play with, damage, or hide
- Robust construction with top and bottom aluminum profiles / extrusions
- Wide-range input power supply for worldwide use

No more fumbling with an awkward remote control. Competitive price superior functionality = unbelievable value. If you're on the fence about this one, do yourself a favor and pull the trigger on the purchase, you won't be disappointed.

I must say it's even more impressive than I thought! Easy to use, 110-220V global electricity support, fast connection to iPhone, ample phone-to-LED display connection range even without the need for line of sight, straightforward LED display design, clear/visible display and audible alarm for large gym. The best timer in my opinion all around. My only critiques are not being able to sync multiple phones and not being able to adjust the beep volume.

It was pretty cool to see the time update instantly once I connected my phone to the clock and when I open the app, the response is quick, accurate and makes everything so hands free. The app user interface is easy to use and quick to learn. Additionally, if I have music playing from my phone, the app automatically quiets the music for the 3-2-1 countdown and then cranks back up for the WOD. What I love about this clock is that it doesn't take time away from my workout time. I don't know it's there until I use it, and when I'm done, it's done. Goes right back to clock time until I need it again.

Order your GymNext Flex Timer!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ditching the Drugs: Long-Lasting Pain Relief Without Medication

It is no secret that pain is an annoyance that can sometimes hinder your quality of life. However, it can also be your body’s way of sending you a message. Sometimes pain can be a result of an underlying condition that you might not even know about. Medication can be used to provide short-term relief, but if you are suffering from a chronic condition, it won’t change anything in the long-term. If you are looking for a more meaningful solution to your pain, consider physical therapy. It has been proven to provide long-term effects and the results can be felt after just a couple of short sessions.

Chronic vs. acute pain:
The cause of acute pain can sometimes be easily determined, especially if it is the result of an automobile accident, a sport or work injury, or a surgical operation. With acute pain, the discomfort generally fades as the affected part of the body heals. However, chronic pain is a bit different. The cause of chronic pain may be more difficult to determine, and it can linger for months or even years before the reason is diagnosed and relief is found. Chronic pain may be the result of:

Chronic overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chronic pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, which may affect nerves and muscles.
Degenerative joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis, which produce chronic pain and inflammation.

Extended lack of use, such as a lengthy recovery period after a procedure, that can cause the affected area to feel stiff or “frozen.”

Areas of internal scar tissue buildup that can restrict neighboring muscles and connective tissues.
General muscle weakness, due to poor posture or an unbalanced body, that can cause knots or spasms.

Modern medicine tends to turn to drugs early and often, in an effort to alleviate pain problems. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t always work in the long run. The drugs may mute the pain while they’re in your system, but the underlying problem that’s causing the pain remains untreated. As long as that untreated condition persists, so will your long-term pain – meaning an endless cycle of drugs, pain, and then more drugs. This may force you to use more and more medication as your pain continues to linger, which can become problematic as certain drugs can come with harmful side effects and addictive chemicals.

Seeking natural treatment through physical therapy:
Physical therapy is an effective form of long-term treatment, which is something that drugs simply cannot do in the long run. Once we understand the actual origin point of your pain, we can prescribe a physical therapy regimen aimed at reducing (or, in some cases, completely correction) that functional abnormality. Our physical therapists may start by addressing your immediate discomfort with passive physical therapy techniques. These natural treatment techniques can include any combination of:

  • Hot and cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Deep tissue massage to decrease inflammation of your internal tissues.
  • Ultrasound therapy to enhance blood flow and relax tight muscle fibers through sound waves.
  • Electrical muscle stimulation to stimulate your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins) through tiny amounts of electrical current.

Once you’re responding to passive physical therapy, your physical therapist will introduce you to an active physical therapy plan. They will prescribe exercises that address both localized pain and referred pain problems. For example, gentle stretching exercises can loosen tight, painful muscles and increase mobility in arthritic joints, while core training exercises can correct your balance and relieve chronic strain or neurological symptoms in the body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), non-pharmaceutical pain treatment is actually preferred over pharmaceutical pain treatment, and in most cases, they even do a better job at controlling pain

Monday, August 19, 2019

Product Review: Speed Hound - Compression Therapy

Product Details:


Accelerate your recovery and #crushtomorrow with the Speed Hound ProPerformance Recovery System. Provides on-demand, dynamic air pressure that massages your legs after an intense workout so you're fresher and ready to take on tomorrow. Note: Most men are size "long". Heights of 5'5" or taller should order size Long. 5'4" or below should order size Medium. Please read sizing carefully below before ordering.

  • More adjustable than other brands: Wide range of pressure settings (20mmHg - 250mmHg), On/off toggle for different parts of legs, Flush and Massage mode, Time settings of 10-30 minutes
  • Premium Quality: Attachments are made of high quality material that's durable, lightweight and easy to clean
  • Want to try? FULL REFUND & FREE returns within 45 days of purchase - If you're not happy, we don't want your money!
  • Peace of mind: We've got you covered in case anything comes up with the system!
Train like world-class Olympic, professional, and collegiate athletes by supercharging your recovery
with the Speed Hound recovery system! The system, which utilizes dynamic, sequential air compression, is based on important medical technology and principles proven to improve circulation, mobilize metabolites and other toxins like carbon dioxide from muscle tissue, flush out lactic acid, mitigate edema, reduce exercise-induced swelling, alleviate inflammation, and facilitate protein synthesis by increasing blood flow to muscles. In short, this speeds up your body's natural process of healing, allowing you to recovery quickly and consistently. The boots have other applications outside of sports medicine, including rehabilitation from injuries or surgery and treating lymphedema, poor circulation, tension, cramps, restless legs, varicose veins, sciatic nerve pain, and general venous insufficiencies.
My Review:
After much research and testing across several alternatives (including Normatec), I purchased the Speed Hound Recovery System. After 2 weeks of use, I am happy to report that it is the best recovery product I have EVER used.

Training for Spartan Races and Crossfit, my legs are constantly placed under significant training load. The Speed Hound System has allowed me to significant enhance (and shrink time required) for my recovery. The boots flush my legs of all lactate buildup and after 20 minutes (30 following really long workouts) my legs feel as though I could hop right back on my bike or pull on my running shoes.

Compared to other alternatives, I really appreciate the increased compression available with the Speed Hound System. In conjunction with a reasonable price point these boots are (in my opinion) the best option on the market.The  pressure range goes from 20 mmhg to 200 mmhg in 10 increments. (This is an increase of 20 mmhg at each level.)

If you are between sizes, go by your inseam. Some tall people have longer torsos and shorter legs in which case they would fit better in a shorter size. On the other hand, some shorter people have longer legs than torso in which case they would fit better in the longer size. When in doubt, we recommend people go with the size longer.

The boots are bladders covered in a stitched material. They have a zipper that runs down the middle of the boot with a second zipper for people with larger legs. I don't know who would use the larger size because they would have to have enormous legs though. The setup and use are very simple. It has 2 different modes, adjustable pressure and you can turn on/off different compartments. It comes with a nice travel case. Overall we've been very impressed with the quality.  We have 2 people that have been using them almost daily for 3 weeks so we can't comment on the long term durability.

Now for the normatec vs Speed Hound comparison. The quality of the two seems to be the exact same. I don't think that one is better than the other in that category. The Speed Hounds can go to a higher pressure than normatec. I doubt many people would be able to go to the highest pressure but it's available if you want it. Ease of use is the same also. A win for normatec is the size of the control. The Speed Hound puts the control on top of the pump box which is similar to the old model of normatec. The new normatecs have a smaller control that can be held in our hand while using the device but I'm not sure why you would need it. Once I started it I just let it do it's thing until it's done. The biggest difference was the price. Normatec retails for $500 - 1,000 more than Rapid Reboot. I wasn't even able to find a pair of used older model normatec's for cheaper than I was able get the Speed Hounds (obviously that could vary from what someone finds).

Overall I recommend the Speed Hound Recovery Boots System. They work really well and are cheaper than comparable options.  Finally, although not a buying consideration for many people, I also find the staff at Speed Hound to be extremely friendly, accommodating, and customer focused. As compared to being "just another number" like with other companies, I firmly believe my best interest is what matters to the team at Speed Hound.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

WOD Wednesday #109

For time:

Row 2,000 meters
21 cleans
15 thrusters
Row 1,000 meters
15 cleans
12 thrusters
Row 500 meters
9 cleans
9 thrusters

♀ 95 lb. ♂ 135 lb.

INTENDED STIMULUS: ¡Ay maldito!  In CrossFit when we have a descending rep scheme the aim is always to go faster at the end. We want you to be riding that threshold line where you are about to max out, but you never do. Today pick a distance and a weight that allow you to do exactly that. We don't need to pace or strategize that much here. The rep scheme is there to do that for us. We want to start at a sustainable but challenging pace on the first round. A pace we will able to keep on the second and the third if only because of the reduction of reps. This should hurt and sting. This is a longer effort. We want to aim for the 20-25 minute window. If you did 190506, use your notes to adjust your scaling optimally for this workout. Modify the distance in the rower if you don't think you can get those first 2000m done under 9 minutes without dying. Pick a weight that you can manage for the big sets with at most 2 short breaks per movement, on the first round. OPTION 1 For time: Row 2,000 meters 21 cleans 15 thrusters Row 1,000 meters 15 cleans 12 thrusters Row 500 meters 9 cleans 9 thrusters ♀ 80 lb. ♂ 115 lb. OPTION 2 For time: Row 1,500 meters 15 cleans 15 thrusters Row 1,000 meters 12 cleans 12 thrusters Row 500 meters 9 cleans 9 thrusters ♀ 55 lb. ♂ 75 lb.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The 7 Best Ways to Get Yourself Moving

It is easy to turn physical activity into an all-or-nothing” attitude. Our team gets it – you had a long day at work, you drove your kids all around town for their extracurricular activities, and on top of that, you still have to make dinner and prepare to do it all again in the morning. When it’s difficult to find a moment of rest, it can seem even more difficult to find time to exercise. By the time you get home from work, it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work out, on top of everything else you have to do. Fortunately, there are some simple tips you can easily add into your daily lifestyle that can get you moving without having to take too much extra time out of your day!

1. Get up more often – by tricking yourself.It is recommended that we all get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day, in order to stretch our bodies and initiate blood flow. But let’s be real – how many of us actually do that? We’re at work, sitting at our desks… and suddenly it’s three hours later and we’re still in the same spot. By tricking yourself into getting up more often, you can get those recommended stretches in throughout the day without even realizing it.

For example, you could keep a smaller water glass or coffee mug at your desk, so you have to get up more often in order to fill it. Or, you could avoid keeping some materials at your desk (such as a hole puncher or stapler) so you have to make a trip to the copy room every time you need to use one. We all try and make our lives more convenient by reducing the amount of time spent doing everyday tasks, but simply getting rid of some of those small “conveniences,” you can actually help yourself be more active. Plus, we all deserve those much-needed breaks throughout the day!
2. Use your lunch break to walk around.Your lunch break is a great time to get in some physical activity. For example, instead of eating in the cafeteria every day, you could walk down the street to order food. If you enjoy bringing your food, you can find a park or other scenic location nearby to eat your lunch. Or, you can eat at your desk and use your entire lunch break to take a walk or go to the gym. Whatever you choose to do, your lunch break is the perfect time to add some exercise into your day.
3. Avoid the easiest routeIt may seem counterintuitive to take the longer, more difficult route, rather than simply taking the quickest route possible – but adding in a little extra time can add some much-needed physical activity into your day! Instead of taking the elevator, parking close to the entrance, or entering through the door closest to you, try adding some more steps into your route. Make a habit out of taking the stairs at work, parking at the back of the grocery store parking lot, or walking to the bathroom on the floor above yours, rather than the one down the hall. These small habits can account for a significant increase in physical activity in the long run!

4. Consider the standing desk.If you work in an office, you spend a large amount of the day in a sedentary position. One of the best ways to get some physical activity is by investing in a standing desk – you get to burn calories simply by standing in place! While it may not seem like much, standing is significantly healthier than sitting.

You burn more calories by standing, and it can be incredibly helpful to your posture. Standing decreases the ability to slouch or hunch over, making it easier to maintain a proper posture throughout the day. It also helps in keeping blood sugar steady after a meal, and it encourages more movement overall. If you don’t like the idea of standing all day long (which, admittedly, can become a bit difficult) you can invest in an adjustable desk that allows you to stand when you want and sit back down when you get tired.
5. Don’t hide the equipment.
By simply keeping your workout equipment in sight around the house, it can help in motivating you to exercise. For example, instead of rolling up your yoga mat and storing it in the hall closet, leave it rolled out in front of the TV. Instead of keeping your hand weights in the garage, put them next to your coffee table. By keeping your equipment in plain sight, it’ll increase the probability of you using them. It’ll also be helpful if you make a habit out of working out around the house while doing your daily activities, such as watching TV, cooking dinner, or sitting at your computer.
6. Get those chores done.Organizational experts believe that you can easily achieve a healthier and cleaner lifestyle simply by doing chores for 20-30 minutes a day – and it’s also a great way to get a small workout in. Taking out the trash, doing dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry are all chores that require some physical activity. By taking time out of the day to do chores around the house, you’ll be able to get exercise AND do the tidying up that you’ve been putting off. Win/win!
7. Don’t put off your physical therapy sessions.Physical therapy can help address any aches or pains you may be experiencing. Your physical therapist can also create a workout plan for you if you are having trouble getting started. Additionally, most physical therapy sessions are workouts in themselves, meaning that you’ll be getting physical activity by attending your treatments.

If you are looking for more tips on staying active in your everyday life, your physical therapy is a great resource in providing advice for adding more exercise into your daily habits. If chronic pain is an issue, your physical therapist can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Product Review: Kratus and Chalk Monster Strongman Sand Bags

Product Details
Kratus StrongmÃ¥n Sandbags™are the most heavy duty 1050D Cordura construction material training bags in the market. Our kit includes 3 of our super heavy duty bags: 100-150-200 lb. ready to take your training to the next level! This kit is perfect for a home gym who wants to add to their collection or a gym that wants try out our product before committing to a big order.

Made from Reinforced 1050D Cordura Nylon with full seam reinforcement in the manufacturing process. The bag consists of two parts: Outer heavy duty cover which is essentially a cover with YKK Zipper and heavy duty Velcro coverage over the zipper and a separate heavy duty inner bag in which the sand needs to be filled. This give you two separate layers to distribute the force of the sand within the bag without mess or fuss.

Kratus loadable sand bags are provided empty and require clean dry sand to fill the inner bags and must be filled to weight using scales and are designed for their specific weights listed and not to be overfilled or filled with other products other than clean dry sand.

Quick filling guide:
  1. Place the inner bag within the outer cover
  2. Open the Velcro tab on the top of the inner bag
  3. Fill with sand to the weight listed (Do not over fill)
  4. Close the Velcro tab on the inner bag
  5. Fold the tab over twice and connect the exposed Velcro to triple seal the inner bag
  6. Zip the outer bag close
  7. Affix the Velcro tab over the zipper

Product Review:
Kratus and Chalk Monster Sandbags are currently available in 3 sizes, with max fill capacities of 100LB, 150LB, 200LB* Each Sandbag has a built-in filler bag with an additional zipper and hook-and-loop closure—ensuring filler material stays fully contained as you work through your regimen.  Because Sandbags can be emptied and then re-filled at another gym, field, park, etc., they function as uniquely portable Strongman training tools for athletes of any experience level.

Sandbags deliver a versatile, go-anywhere alternative to heavy balls and stones. They feature the same 1050D Cordura construction and reinforced, double-stitched seams as some of the other well known brands, in a new compact, customization form. These sandbags are heavy duty and able to withstand drops, but they are not designed to be slammed.

Purchased this sandbag after having issues using a 150lb DBall for while. Issues with the rubber ball are once you start sweating you have to cover it with chalk for continued use. Also shape does not hold.  After switching to the sandbag I have not had issues with either of those things. When sweating you can still have grip on the bag and holds its shape.
At first I used 150 lb bag and only fill it up with 100 lb of sand. I would probably advise against it doing that. Sure it gives u the ability to get stronger and add more weight down the road. But since there is so much "loose skin" per say Is hard to get a good grip on it when its of the ground. Nothing against the bag or material since it built to last if you are using it for the first time.  My suggestion is to purchase the exact bag for the size you want.

Lunges, over-the-shoulders, carries, squats... this will make a challenge out of any movement. I have it filled with about 140# (there is some room to spare in the bag so it allows a little more shifting of the sand when you move it). I have a barbell and a few weights, but sandbags have been a life-saver for me. You can drop them without cracking the concrete or waking the kids, and they are a lot cheaper than plates, barbells, and dumbbells. I have some canvas duffel bags filled with either rubber mulch nuggets or wood fuel pellets with weights going from 40# to 80#, but I wanted something that was specifically designed to hold lots of weight. I am very pleased with how easy this sandbag was to fill and how great a workout implement it is.

Aside from the barbell, this is the best piece of training equipment you can own, especially if you own multiple weight ranges. Squats, deadlifts, carrys, throws, cleans, presses, jerks, lunges, hill runs, the list goes on and on. HEAVY sandbag carries will change you in many ways, imo its the most grueling exercise you can do. Buy at least two different weight capacities. You wont regret it.

Order your Strongman Sand Bags and Chalk Accessories here:

Monday, August 5, 2019

Whats the Deal with Stretching?

Stretching is an important part of physical therapy, and many physical therapists will include specific stretches into their sessions. Strength and endurance are both undeniably important; however, stretching is a crucial part of anyone’s exercise regimen, whether you are an athlete or someone coping with aches and pains. Stretching helps in increasing flexibility, which can alleviate pain and make other aspects of treatment easier – even strength and endurance!
What does stretching do?

Stretching has a lot of benefits that we don’t always think about. Some of these benefits include:

Improving range of motion.
Range of motion consists of how well your joints can move in all directions. This influences every movement you make! If you have a constricting condition, such as arthritis or an injury, your range of motion can be hindered. Whether it’s turning your head to see behind you while driving, or bending your knee freely while running, range of motion is crucial for both daily life and for fitness pursuits. Stretching can help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility, therefore improving your range of motion.

Finding relief in unexpected places. Sometimes we forget how interconnected our bodies are. It is obvious that if we experience back pain, we should stretch out our backs. However, sometimes stretching your legs during physical therapy can provide unexpected relief to your back, as well. In fact, your hamstrings, upper thighs, and hips can all play a big part in creating lower back pain relief. Likewise, improving your posture through stretching your torso can provide the kind of support you need to keep your spine from compressing, which helps you avoid shoulder and neck pain. Essentially, stretching different parts of your body can provide relief to places you may not have considered!

Enhancing performance.
This point is especially true for athletes. The more you condition your muscles, joints, and ligaments, the greater advantage you’ll have in your sport. For example, bodybuilders recover from their reps much quicker when they stretch as a cool-down. Golfers can achieve a longer reach by increasing their range of motion in their hips and shoulders. Swimmers can even out their strokes by perfecting their balance through stretching. If you are an athlete, stretching can play a crucial role in your performance.

Preventing injuries. When muscles are tight or tense, the likelihood of injury increases. This occurs because that particular part of your body isn’t working at its peak performance, even though you might be. When you stretch, you’re loosening up your muscles, in addition to increasing range of motion and improving balance, which all factor into injury prevention. All of these factors can prevent you from making the types of moves that lead to injury, whether it’s coming down too hard on one foot, twisting your back further than you should, or taking a fall due to lack of balance.

Improving circulation. Stretching can reduce stress, but that isn’t the only reason it’s good for your heart and your musculoskeletal system. In fact, stretching plays a key role in almost every aspect of your physical abilities. Tight muscles constrict available oxygen supply, essentially robbing themselves of the nutrients they need. Stretches help reverse the process. When you stretch frequently, you’ll also get the benefit of increased blood flow to your joints and throughout the body.