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We've all tried stretching to get more flexible, right?

What if I told you that there's a school of thought that says that stretching is a highly ineffective way of getting more flexible? And that there are quick ways to get more flexible without ever going near that feeling of stretch?

 

If you've never done a bicep curl, I suggest you do one now. Grab something, like a coffee cup or a tin of Spam (is that just me who has one to hand?) and lift it from the position where your elbow is fully straightened to a full bend of your elbow so that the object you have hold of is just in front of your shoulder.

Your bicep has contracted and shortened in order to bend your elbow. You may even have a bulging 'gun' to admire in this top position which illustrates this point.

Use your free hand to feel the muscle on the back of the working arm - your tricep. It feels softer than the bicep, right? That's because you've had to decontract it to allow yourself to contract your bicep. 

This is basic muscular antagonism.

Know notice this: does your tricep feel like you are stretching it? For the vast majority of people reading this, the answer will be no.

If you were to feel a stretching sensation in your tricep while doing the bicep curl, many would label your tricep as being ultra-tight and they'd be kinda right. The only way this could happen is if you could not unconsciously let-go or decontract the tricep in response to the contraction of the bicep. The stretching feeling would be that of the muscle trying to contract as you try to lengthen it. 

If this is done for a while, the tricep will tremor and fatigue and eventually let go a little. This is what we commonly know as a primary means of increasing our flexibility.

It's uncomfortable, taken too far too regularly it can be painful and worst of all, it's very temporary.

That stretching feeling is just a feeling of a faulty antagonistic relationship.

 

I just worked with somebody this morning who is by my guesstimation in the 90th percentile of flexible people. She wants to be even more bendy.

Stretching has not served her mission. 

Within a few minutes of playing around this the movement she wanted to be able to go into a deeper range with, she was there.

We'd not stretched her one iota.

In fact, we worked completely away from that feeling of stretch. No trembling, no sweating, no difficulty to breathe. Just easy, unfamiliar movements in her already comfortable range.

 

I said in the title that a feeling of stretch is doing it wrong. Let me qualify that. 

If you like that feeling of stretching, keep doing it. Some people like watching "Made in Chelsea", some people like S&M, you like stretching. Spending your time doing what you wish is all good. 

If you want to get more flexible, however, you're going about it the wrong way by stretching. You're wasting your time doing something that ultimately doesn't achieve what you're searching for.

 

If you want to get more flexible, stay away from that feeling of stretch and sort out your faulty antagonism by exploring novel movements within your current easy range.

 

Arton "Stretch less, bend more" Baleci

P.S. we're finishing our early bird offer for the upcoming course very soon. Booking now is like bending, waiting for the price to go up and then booking is a stretch you don't need. Get it done now here www.floatsting.com/events/theartandscienceoflearning