Stretch to Lose

Every now and again, I let our athletes pick their own warm-up prior to a training session.

And every now and again, a little piece of me dies.

Why?

Without fail, one of them decides to perform some type of a static stretch.

Kids Making Themselves Worse

You would think that the athlete would know better.

You would think they would be tired of hearing me preach about the negative effects of static stretching prior to activity.

Me Preaching About the Evils of the Static Stretch

Nope.


COACHES ARE WORSE

What makes the situation much worse, is that COACHES are even bigger culprits of this static stretching epidemic. (That's right, I am calling it an epidemic).

As a high school football coach, I always look over to the other side of the field to see how the other team is warming-up during pre-game.

99% of the time I see this.


Why would a coach still make his players do this, even if it puts his team at a disadvantage?

I honestly cannot think of a legitimate reason - especially with all of the sound information on this topic that is readily available.

Regardless, this is still some of the garbage I hear:

"I want more time to talk to my players before a game"

"Stretch time is my only time to collect my thoughts on the field"

"The parents expect us to static stretch. What if a kid gets hurt?"

"This is the way football teams have always done it."

Old-Timers Making Themselves Worse

Unfortunately, not one of these excuses will help your athletes better prepare for competition.
The only thing it will do is make them worse.

Why Did I Static Stretch Before the Game?

But Coach, didn't you write about this already in Your Coach Is Ruining Your Career?

Yes I did.

So why are you writing about it again?

1. Because people still don't get it.

2. Because I got fired up by an article I read this morning in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal that talked about this exact same topic.

To me, the best part of the article was where they made it very simple:

"The current recommendations for stretching practices indicate that STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE VIGOROUS ACTIVITY IS DETRIMENTAL and SHOULD BE REPLACED WITH A DYNAMIC STRETCH ROUNTINE."
- Bruce Craig, "Preactivity Stretching Research and Current Coaching Practices: Why the Disconnect?", National Strength and Conditioning Journal, Volume 34, Number 5, October 2012

Stay Tuned:

I am not stating that static stretching is always a bad thing.
I am simply stating that it should not be done prior to activity.

So when should it be done?

That will be covered in my next article.

Related Articles:

Your Coach Is Ruining Your Career

The 4 Minute Warm-Up

The 2.5 Minute Warm-Up

5 Things That Really Bother Me


I have not blogged in a while, so I decided to get a few things off of my chest.

If you think any of the points below are about YOU

.... THEY ARE!

If you are offended

... GOOD!

Take it to heart and make yourself better.

5 Things That Really Bother Me

1. Pretenders


A pretender is someone who TALKS a good game, but does not take any ACTION to back it up.


I want to train with you Coach...


Stop telling me you WANT to train and then never show up.
Stop telling me you WANT to play college ball and then choose to sleep rather than make your morning lift.

Just be honest with yourself and admit you want to be average.


Want to be Average ... Sleep In.

2. CrossFit




Every time someone says, "You should do CrossFit!", I immediately respond with "YOU should do Crossfit".

Why?

If someone is telling ME to do Crossfit, they clearly do not like me very much.
Either that, or they don't know me well enough to tell me what I should be doing.




I train athletes to make them better at their sport.

I don't care how many hang cleans they can do in 10 minute circuit.

In fact, the more you can do, the less I am impressed.


3. How Much You Used To Do ....

I don't care how much you used to squat.

I only care about what you can do right now.

Getting older does not mean you have to deteriorate into nothing.

Look at this guy...




4. My Friends

This one actually references #11 on "30 Things I Learned Since I Was 30"

I met up with my high school buddies at a local restaurant last night for a Christmas Party.

I will let you fill in the blanks as to what they called me when I ordered a Grilled Chicken Salad for dinner.



So much for surrounding yourself with people that will make you better.

5. Throwing Paint on the Mona Lisa




With as much as I have talked about this type of thing, you would think that the athletes I trained would actually listen to what I tell them.

Nope ...

Instead of just executing their prescribed training program (the one I spend hours developing and reviewing), they decide to go out on their own and do "extra" work.

Luckily, they are "smart" enough to do value added things like long distance running or extra sets of heavy bench press.

Have we learned nothing???

Less is more ...

Grab a foam roller and stop destroying your body.





5 Things You Should Do Every Day

I don't care if it is your max effort day, your cardio day, your cheat day, your deload day, or your mother's birthday.

There are 5 Things That You Need To Do Every Day so you can stay healthy, jacked up, and mobile.

1. Perform Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

How do you expect to move big weight if you are always sore and stiff?

Perform SMR with a foam roller every night right before you go to bed.
Not only does it help your muscles the next morning, it will also help you sleep better that night.


The best $20 you will ever spend.

2. Perform Hip Hinges

Think about all of the powerful movements you perform that involve some form of hip hinge.

The hang clean, the snatch, the vertical jump, the squat ....

In each one of these movements, the #1 limiting factor is the athlete's ability to hinge his hips backward properly.

The best way to improve this limiting factor --- perform some form of hip hinge every day.

My personal favorite hip hinge movement is light load good mornings.

Hip Hinge with a Good Morning

3. Drink a Gallon of Water

It keeps you hydrated.

It keeps your organs healthy.

It helps you control body fat.

Enough said.
Don't Be Ashamed To Do This At Work

4. Actively Work On Your Posture



Make a concerted effort to walk with your chest out, your shoulders back and your head held high.
I would even go so far as to make the same effort while you are sitting down.

Why?

Good posture helps you breathe better, it reduces stress on your back, it helps improve self-confidence, and it reduces neck pain.

Most importantly, it helps strengthen your core and upper back.

In turn, this will help you look leaner, lift more, and not get mistaken for the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

"I Always Slouched As A Boy"
5. Dorsiflex Your Feet

Even me, the guy who advocates training with minimal footwear, must perform additional dorsiflexion throughout the day.
While I wear Vibram Five Fingers or Nike Minimus in the gym, I spend a good portion of the rest of my day walking around a chemical plant in construction boots.

To compensate for that, I will actively work on performing dorsiflexion while I am sitting at my desk or watching TV with my wife.

If your life is anything like mine, I recommend you do the same.



Challenge

While each of these things sound simple, I highly doubt that any of you are actively doing any of these things every single day.

For the next week, I challenge you to pick one and do it every day.

After the 7th day, post a comment and let me know how much different you feel and look.
(Make sure you change nothing else but this one thing.)

I guarantee you will see major results.

Now ... imagine what it will be like when you do all 5.