Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Genius of Flexibility Video 1.0 Review
Yesterday the DVD I ordered showing how to do resistance stretching finally arrived. I wrote about resistance (or meridian stretching) here: Resistance Stretching: This is what Dara Torres does! and here: More on Resistance Stretching. This DVD is the one I ordered from Bob Cooley's Website: Meridian Flexibility Center. What little I have learned in the past couple of weeks about Resistance stretching I have learned from from Bob Cooley's book The Genius of Flexibility and the few web sites and videos I have posted in the above two blog entries. This information gave me a start but reading and seeing pictures in a book is not always the best way to learn a stretch, particularly ones that are so new and different. That is where this DVD comes in handy.
The Genius of Flexibility DVD 1.0 includes instructions for 16 stretches for level 1 stretching (you can do them by yourself). Seeing the stretches and hearing the instruction make the stretches easy to understand and accomplish. I could easily do all 16 stretches while watching the DVD for the first time. I never tried them all when reading the book. If was easy to see the movements, the exertion levels, and the range of motion to shoot for when stretching. Two people would demonstrate each stretch. The stretchers looked athletic and like normal people. There was no new age music playing in the background as the stretches were demonstrated. Overall the instructions were easy to follow and I didn't have to be concerned about doing the stretches in a wrong way. The stretches can also be played one by one or in a 20 minute stretching workout. While I don't usually worry about stretching some of the muscles in the video it felt good doing some stretches like the ones for the shoulders. I will definitely keep using the video and should be able to transfer what I learned about resistance stretching to other similar stretches. One thing I wonder about is that I don't think any of stretches are geared towards some muscles that runners use a lot, like the calves of anything below the knee. I might be wrong about this and more advanced stretches may work these areas but I would really like to see a calf and soleus stretch using this method. The DVD was more about the stretching and did not get into all the meridians and the psycological and emotional parts of the stretching that the book gets into. You will have to read the book if that is your interest.
In addition to the stretching routines there is an introduction to resistance stretching, some testimonials including Dara Torres, some previews of more advanced DVDs that use partners or equipment and other information. For the price of $20 plus postage I think the DVD is a great purchase if you want to check out resistance stretching. It is so very different from any other stretching routine you may have tried so it is worth seeing it on DVD to get a good handle of the technique. I have ordered another DVD from Innovative Body Solutions but it is not shipping until the end of the month. It sells for the same price and I hope to learn more about resistance stretching and see some different stretches. It is put out by the stretchers who work on Dara Torres. I believe they also helped on the DVD I just reviewed.
So far I am finding more range of motion in my hips and a better balance when running since undertaking resistance stretching. It really seems to start getting out the junk and tightness that is in my hips and is starting to loosen up things more. I also think my stride is lengthening again as my hips are not so tight! Other stretching routines, particularly static stretching where you try to pull and stretch a relaxed muscle, often leave me tight and sometimes in worse shape them before I stretched because it pulls things out of alignment. Resistance stretching, on the other hand, does not leave me stiff or sore, even though so much force is generated as you stretch. This is a marvel to me as it is not what I would expect from such a routine. I even do the stretches before I run and my legs feel fresher because of it.
If I can get this stretching working correctly I feel it may help me in my quest to recover my stride. I have now run three days in a row. I did 8 miles Monday and again on Tuesday (although both heels were a little sore after that run). Today we had a track workout. We were supposed to do 5 miles on the track (yech!) at marathon pace. I finished in exactly 33:00 minutes which is a 1 1/2 minutes faster than the Bil Luti 5 miler I did in July and I was running much more efficiently. I friend even said I looked much smoother in my stride as I was running and if that is true I am pleased. The timed 5 miler was the longest paced run I have done on the track since college when I did a 50 mile solo run once. Fortunately the workout went quicker after the first 2 miles. I have to admire the people who race 10,000 meters on the track. That is a lot of laps!