We all make mistakes…
It never ceases to amaze me how incorrectly most of us stretch. The way we have been taught our entire lives is the reason why we stretch incorrectly. Some of us are taught static stretching where we hold a stretch for 30 or 60 seconds hoping the muscles will decide to release. Others have been taught Dynamic stretching where we bounce up and down trying to coax the muscle. How long do we hold it and how hard do we pull? Are there any gadgets I can use to force my muscles to let go? It is insane just how bad we are at stretching. Even more sad, is how bad the professionals are at stretching too even though they should know better. How did this happen? Surprisingly in the muscle world, no one really believes enough in stretching to believe it is worthwhile. The macho guys, and girls, want to stretch like they are trying to pull their head or foot off as they believe we need to show our muscles who is boss. Then there are the people who are scared to death they will hurt themselves and stretch so lightly, nothing happens. Of course, the majority of people are somewhere in-between. Today, I will share with you the 3 biggest mistakes I see most people make when stretching with my Stretch n’ Release Technique. What most clients do not realize is, my Stretch n’ Release Technique will bring more relaxation into their lives throughout the day, both mentally and physically, and this could improve your performance throughout your day.
Pulling Way Too Hard- This one I see every single day, especially from athletes and people who work out regularly. I realize that when you are lifting weight you must have a mindset to push through discomfort. I do too. However, that mindset will not work when stretching. Your pain or discomfort will not leave you in 24 hours. For your brain to relax and release that muscle, you must reduce the stress of making it happen quickly as the muscle will tighten in response. You must understand that your brain is what is contracting the muscle making it tight. I see many people going through this fight with themselves as if their muscles are mad at them. I know for many people relaxing is difficult, but if you can persevere and learn to relax while stretching, you will see that many injuries will not occur or will be minor. I treat my stretching time like my meditation time. I get in a quiet place mentally, listen to the sounds around me without judgment, breathe gently, and allow my body to just relax into the stretch. Stretching is not something you can do in a hurry.
I Can’t Seem to Make the Time- Like #1, this one is very common as well. You may know intellectually that stretching is good for you, but emotionally you have no clue. If you did, this would not be a problem. It is fun for me to watch someone finally get it and they cannot wait to share with me what they feel. One of my clients has been fighting with herself for weeks until she finally got it. Another client, a man, spent a whole year before he figured out the tennis ball massage. As most of you can attest to, these moves are not hard and that may be the problem. Since it is not difficult, it is hard to measure in order to compete with your friends, and it doesn’t appear to do anything. We have no patience in pursuing the stretches. That is where you would be making a mistake. No, it is not cutting-edge stuff and not on the cover of every magazine, but if you do them consistently, over time you will notice a change in how you move or the amount of pain you feel. No, there will not be a bright light or shining star signifying your accomplishment. The change may sneak up on you in some cases. A few times the pain leaves the person within 24 hours, but that is rare. The key here is consistency.
Isn’t There a Gadget I Can Use? – I am sorry to tell you, but there is not. I know there are many things out there that promise to stop your pain and even your doctor, PT, or Trainer swears by them. I’m here to tell you they do not work. In fact, many of you have told me they did not work and yet you keep using them, WHY? It is interesting to listen to someone speak of how a specific treatment did not work, they did it for several weeks to months, and yet, if my Stretch n’ Release Technique doesn’t happen overnight they want to go back and do what did not work before. I know, it is confusing to me too! I understand the frustration and the need to stop the pain right now, but first we must find the true cause, and then learn how the brain will keep a muscle tight for fear of more pain. Since we are not taught this by other professionals and teachers, it becomes difficult for all of us. I get it. Take a moment and think about what you are doing. Running from place to place looking for a miracle will only increase your stress and make your condition worse. Getting MRIs and X-rays is a great way to see if there is damage, but understand, it only sees what has happened, not why it happened. Even if you have surgery, if you do not fix the true cause, the pain will only come back. To me that is more frustrating.
You can overcome these three mistakes in your life, but it will take some time. Stressing over these three things will actually increase your chronic stress making your pain worse. This is why I stretch first thing in the morning and the last thing of the day. At these times there is little to distract me and it begins and ends my day with relaxation. It may be difficult at first, but be consistent and you will find your place.
In using my Stretch n’ Release Technique, you are allowing the brain to release the muscles versus brute force that you see in many gyms and physical therapy. It takes practice, but once you get it, and you will, your body will feel more energized and vibrant.
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About The Muscle Repair Shop
Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese, and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop Founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday. Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs. Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles of living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique.
Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allowing clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.