"Releasing tight muscles warms soft tissue and facilitates your brain/body connection.
Organizing your small stabilizers creates support.
Strengthening large muscle groups boosts your metabolism, making your body stronger, and more efficient.
Stretching at the end of your session (not at the beginning) improves range of motion, reduces muscle soreness, and facilitates smooth, graceful, supple movement.
Release: Often when we"re injured or suffering from muscle tightness, we think, "Oh, I should stretch." Yes, that"s true, you should stretchafter you"ve done release work, stabilization exercises, and strength work. Most of us now spend a large portion of our day sitting in front of a computer. This can lead to neck, shoulder, and hip tightness.
By starting with even a minute or two of release work you encourage these chronically tight muscles to relax and you train your body to work more efficiently.
Organize: Our next step is organization, or stabilization. Now we ask the small organization muscles to get on board. These muscles maximize efficiency by kicking in a millisecond before your large prime movers. For example, as you reach down to lift a heavy box, your pelvic floor and deep abdominals engage, then your legs, back, shoulders, and arms activate to lift the box.
Strengthen: Ok we released, we organized, now it"s time to strengthen. The American College of Sports Medicine strength guidelines call for 2 -3 days a week of strength work, including exercises that train all major muscle groups.
Think about this, as you"re lifting weights or executing body weight exercises can you breathe, maintain proper form, and perform your movements in a controlled manner and through a full range of motion? If not, stop and reorganize yourself.
Depending on your strength goals, shoot for 2-3 sets, with 8-15 reps of each exercise. My favorite no-equipment body weight strength workout is a quick warm up (brisk walking or stair climbing) followed by two to three rounds of squats, pushups (or plank hold), lunges, and dips.
Stretch: Now we stretch! The manner of stretching I do with my clients (and myself) has changed quite a bit over the years. Instead of holding long static stretches, I try to find ease and incorporate gentle movement while stretching. For example, focusing on breathing, and slowly lifting and lowering your leg during a passive hamstring stretch.When we force ourselves into an overstretched position, our brain sends a message to our muscles that we"re in danger of injury and our muscles contract to protect the joint and soft tissue. If we breathe into a stretch, moving with curiosity rather than force, our muscles naturally lengthen and relax.
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