I was recently asked why I don’t believe in stretching. In my mind I said, “Huh?” The photo would have been a better answer. I responded that I “kind of” believe in stretching. “Kind of,” because I think of what we do as more “flexibility training” than stretching. Every now and then a new person gets confused about why we do what we do in our 45-minute workouts for the women we work with.
We are not shy about letting people know that our primary concerns are strength and movement. The recent tragic and deadly assault on a subway platform here in New York validated this emphasis. A man was pushed onto the tracks by an assailant and killed by an oncoming train. Witnesses and others talked about the missing strength that would have allowed the victim to get back on the platform or a bystander to pull him to safety.
I should probably do more direct flexibility training myself but as it is, I only allow 30 minutes for my own workouts – that includes warm-ups. The mobility I have comes from the warm up and going full-range in my exercises. I’m not a stranger to stretching. I’ve taken teacher training with one of the best teachers in the world – David Swenson. It was an incredible experience and I should do more of it. It took me until my mid 50’s to realize I can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all.
I am not interested in being hyper mobile. Ask me about super strong, though. I want to be strong enough to resist my children when they try to put me in a home. That’s one of my main goals. Being able to put my leg behind my head won’t help me with that.
What’s your goal? One of the biggest challenges we all face is trying to make sure we keep the goal the goal. We don’t want to make our training sessions a gift basket of all the latest exercise fads. That’s we’re so focused in the workouts for the women who train here. Let other people go to those big chain gyms if they don’t care about being pressured into one-on-one training or paying to “rent” to an elliptical or treadmill. We’re going to get you strong and mobile and help you rebel against your work posture
We’re working with the 80/20 Rule and the Minimum Effective Dose. That gets me a more than double-bodyweight deadlift, 15 pullups, a one-armed pushup, and the ability to walk more than 15 miles with a heavy back. It will help me to eventually regain my cartwheel, and when I upgrade my health insurance I’ll be tackling a back flip. I can skin-the-cat and put my palms to the floor without bending my knees. I do need to work on my sprinting and jumping.
So no, we don’t do a lot of stretching in our sessions nor do we put people on an exercise bike for 30 minutes while we stand there with a clipboard and a cup of Starbucks. But we’re pretty happy with the outcomes we get with the people who put in the work.