151216 "The top 5 things you need to know about stretching"

While stretching may be tough to get into, especially on cold mornings; the benefits are immediate. No matter if you are about absolute performance or just all around fitness, you should be stretching each day. What you will find is that not just your physical abilities will continue to progress, but your daily life will be more pain free and your ability to react to any situation will be guaranteed.

Warm Up and Cool Down stretching is simply the best hedge against injury. All the physical training that you do in between does wonders for health but you are nothing if you cant move or have good range of motion about the joints. In general, stretching does the following for your muscles and joints;
- Increases blood flow to muscles .
-Breaks down and prevents scar tissue from forming. 
-Develops better coordination through neuromuscular training.
- Improves balance.
- Improves Range of Motion and feels pretty damn good!.

Developing muscle flexibility will not only make you better at the splits but you help train your brain. 

Have you ever stretched your hamstring so far that it begins to do a little (or large) contraction almost like its bouncing or fighting you? That is a stretch reflex, a message sent from your muscle to the brain saying , WOOH big daddy... we don't go that far! The feedback from your brain is a natural defense mechanism against over stretching and injury. So don't curse the leg bobble, train it!

Holding your stretches for a long duration and often will train the muscle spindle to go farther and relax when taken to its limits. If you train your brain to not just shut off and contract when stretched then you have less chance to tear your muscles when shocked. This is important when you are constantly exposing your body to new and challenging positions. 

Now for timing out your daily stretches. By design there is pre workout and post workout stretches. Both are all about taking you joints and muscles to their full range of motion but with different stimulus. Pre workout stretching should be dynamic. So instead of holding a hamstring stretch it is recommended that you instead do leg swings and squats. Obviously we are not going for intensity at this time rather easing into it while bringing our heart rate up. After your workout is when the longer holds take place. Static stretching allows for not only your heart rate to come down but by holding your muscles at their full range of motion, it imprints on your brain that the new established ROM is where their contractile end range truly is. This is where brain training occurs. 

Keeping mobility in mind will literally add years to your life and make you the optimal athlete you wan to be. Yogi's have done it for millennia, literally designing their athleticism by it. Maybe we should listen up. Remember the difference between dynamic and static and keep crushing and achieving your goals

7 x romanian deadlift
7 x snatch high pull
7 x muscle snatch
7 x tempo overhead squat @ 23X1
7 x snatch balance
7 x power snatch to OHS
7 x snatch pull under
7 x hang (squat) snatch

SKill Development:
15 Minutes of Quality Movement
In the complex,

3 Snatch Lift Off
1 Hang Power Snatch to OHS
1 Snatch Balance

3 Rounds for TIme
10 Squat Snatch 155/105
15 Shoulder to Overhead
20 Toes To Bar

* This is an oldie but a goodie. Use your hamstrings and use a weight that you are able to cycle at least 5 at a time.