Posted by chris @ 9:06 pm | No Comments
We said in the previous post that we would go through our 10 Principles
for stretching success with you, so here goes.
We have discovered over the years that instead of counting how long to
hold a stretch, athletes can stretch better by synchronizing their
breathing with their movement. Counting puts an arbitrary time
constraint on the stretch that competes with the actual release of the
Our experience has shown repeatedly that if the athletes instead
focus on how they are breathing during a stretch, they get an
optimal response from the stretch as well as an increased
awareness of their bodies. They realize that their muscles and
tissues have their own biological time clock for responding to a
stretch that does not follow some prescribed formula or arbitrary
Rather, it follows the state of the tissues and what they require at
that moment. In this way, the breath actually assists the stretching
movements by easing rather than forcing the athlete into increasing
ranges of motion. By focusing on breathing, an athlete is also better
able to gauge and adjust how much mental or physical tension he or
she brings to the stretch.
FAQs from our readers
From Victor K: “I have been reading the Stretch to Win book and of the
Ten Principles of Stretching, I do not understand the principle on traction.
I do not know how traction is being perform. I hope that you can help me
Victor, first of all thank you for getting our book! Over the next 10
posts, we will be reviewing the 10 Principles, including the one about
traction in more detail but for now please let me know if this answers
Since you are asking about how traction is being performed I will
assume you know the why, what and where about it. How traction is
being performed is a technique question & obviously we do not go into
detail on this in the book & is beyond the scope of this blog to describe it
for assisted stretching. But since traction is such a major component of
our technique & is clearly lacking in all the other assisted techniques as
well as most self-stretching programs, let me briefly explain how you
would traction yourself.
For other readers of this post, please go to p.124 & view the 4 photos of
the stretch. If you don’t have the book, just imagine the typical half-
kneeling hip flexor stretch on the ground. The big difference between
the way we do this stretch is by adding self-traction. This means that
you start by inhaling with an erect torso, then as you exhale into the
stretch you maintain a constant lift in the torso until you reach the end
of the stretch, at which time you inhale as you return to the start
In traditional stretching, there is no traction & instead there is
collapsing. Traction adds more complete stretch of the fascia & hip joint
capsule while collapsing compresses the joint.
The whole idea is to maintain space in your joints as you stretch because
as you age this space reduces & starts the downward spiral of joint
deterioration and osteoarthritis.