You are browsing articles related to stretching.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 2 – Mobilizing Your Morning Commute

Written by Philip Walter on Apr 21 at 5:09 pm.

Okay, below is the second episode of BrickhouseBodymind TV. The movements demonstrated are designed to help you turn your morning (or afternoon) commute into a more positive experience. You may be intuitively doing some of this stuff already, and that’s great. This process is supposed to be an improvisational, intuitive practice that evolves as you identify areas of tension in your own body. The steering wheel can be a great tool, providing leverage for increased muscular traction during mobility exercises, but please remember to keep your eyes on the road. And special thanks goes to my cameraman, Robert for the use of his convertible!

As always, please comment below if you have any thoughts or suggestions. Hope you all enjoy!

The Truth About Stretching Part 2 – Aspects of the Intelligent Stretch

Written by Philip Walter on Apr 5 at 5:51 pm.

Photo courtesy of
hisashi_0822

So in Part One we learned about proprioception and how the myotatic stretch reflex helps us do a great number of things. We also learned that most muscle and tissue tear injuries (including strains and sprains) occur not as the result of a singular stretch beyond maximum threshold, but because of a combination of extreme stretch on one hand and sudden contraction due to the stretch reflex on the other hand. Finally, we discovered that the sensitivity of the stretch reflex varies according to several factors that affect its “gain.” In this part of the discussion we will establish the basic tenets of intelligent stretching in a practical setting.

The Aspects of Intelligent Stretching

An intelligent stretch accomplishes four main things: 1) it reduces the likelihood of injury, 2) it mitigates residual tension and pain by reducing compression in the various joints of the body and decreasing myofascial density, 3) it gives us access to a greater range of motion, and 4) it increases our neuromuscular connections. All of these things are accomplished by remaining active throughout the stretch.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Truth About Stretching Part 1 – What you thought you knew, and what you ought to know.

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 18 at 12:44 am.

Photo courtesy of j / f / photos

Okay, I have been reading a lot lately in physical fitness literature about how stretching is not as fantastic for your body as once thought. When I took basic health in college, static stretching was taught as an integral part of a complete physical fitness plan. Not sure what that curriculum looks like today, but a greater understanding of the stretching phenomenon has forced me over the years to rethink how it fits into my workouts.

I know what you’re thinking – But Philip, you do a lot of yoga … and “flexible” is part of your blog’s tag line, for cyrin’ out loud. Surely you’re not about to talk smack about stretching, are you?!

Well, yes I am, but it’s not because all forms of stretching are inherently bad for your body, it’s because the efficacy and proper methodology of stretching are so widely misunderstood, especially when it comes to yoga posture practice.

In Part One of this two-part series, I want to introduce you to the stretch reflex and debunk one of the biggest myths about stretching. I’ll warn you up front, this one does get a little technical, but if you stick with it, I guarantee you’ll be a smarter stretcher for it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Muscle Imbalances Due to Your Handedness and How to Work with Them

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 12 at 10:59 pm.

Photo of Rafa Nadal, courtesy of the ATP Masters Series online. Note the difference in size between biceps. (He’s a lefty).

In what became just one more in a long line of NPR driveway moments, I caught myself lurking longer than necessary in my car outside the grocery store, captivated by a story on the show, The Infinite Mind. The name of the episode was “Handedness,” and as you could probably guess, it centered on the phenomenon of left- or right-handedness.

The most interesting part to me was about the human being’s tendency toward right-handedness. As a species we are about 85-90 percent right-handed. According to a guest on The Infinite Mind, other species show no signs of such a skew. Research shows that animals do tend to have some paw, leg, appendage dominance that is analogous to handedness in humans, but that the split between right and left lateralization is pretty much even. So what gives?

Read the rest of this entry »

Improvements Made to BrickhouseBodymind TV

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 29 at 4:32 am.

Hey all. This is just a quick note to let you know that I’ve made a couple improvements to the first episode of BrickhouseBodymind TV originally released in this post about shoulder pain and stiffness. Graphics package has improved a bit, and I tried to place the exercises earlier in the video, while leaving technical exposition for later. As always, please comment below if you have suggested improvements or suggestions for future episodes.

Videos to Enhance Your Life

Books to Boost Your Evolution

Valid CSS!