Book Excerpt: 'The Genius of Flexibility'

Flexibility guru Bob Cooley, who founded The Moving Center in 1974, has discovered that by increasing the flexibility and strength of specific muscles you can experience improvements in your physiological and psychological health.

His new book and video, both titled "The Genius of Flexibility," highlight a unique method called "resistance stretching," in which you contract your muscles while lengthening them. Although it seems contradictory, Cooley has discovered this technique brings out remarkable results.

Stretching can bring changes to your body in surprising ways. For example, if you have back pain you should stretch out your hamstrings. And, you should lengthen your quads to lose hip fat.

"Stretches are both preventative and rehabilitative," said Cooley, adding that any time you stretch out a muscle on one side, you must stretch it on the other.

Below you'll find an excerpt from "The Genius of Flexibility." You can find more information about the Meridian Flexibility Center at www.meridianstretching.com.

Chapter 2: The Inside Secret to Stretching

The discovery that will change the way you stretch forever

WHY AREN'T PEOPLE AS FLEXIBLE AS THEY WANT TO BE? Is it that a handful of fortunate people are simply born flexible, while most of us are doomed to live the life of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz -- perpetually tight, stiff, creaky, and getting worse with age? What is that secret something flexible people just naturally do when they stretch, that special knowledge that's so obvious to them yet remains a mystery to the rest of us? What's happening inside of them that is somehow not happening inside most of us?

Give Me Ten Minutes!

Give me just ten minutes. That's all I need to show you that you can be more flexible than you ever imagined. What I am about to teach you is not something you already know. It is something completely new, something that you've never been told before.

Trying something new isn't always easy. You may feel uncertain and doubtful or think that you already know what I'm about to tell you. But if you hang in there for only ten minutes, I'm confident that you will realize that what I've discovered is truly transforming. I know that after you see how much more flexible you become after trying only a few simple stretches, you are going to say, "Ahhh, that's unbelievable. A new, organic way to stretch."

Discovery Exercise 1: Hamstring Stretch

Benefits of this stretch
Stretches the muscles on the back of your hip, thigh, lower leg, ankle, and foot.

Getting into this stretch
Lie on your back and bring your right thigh toward your chest. Then bend your right knee so that your right heel is near the back of your right hip. Your left leg can be either straight or bent.

Resisting: how to create a great stretch without pain

Grab hold of your right foot with both hands. Contract the muscles on the back of your thigh (your hamstrings) so that your heel pulls toward the back of your hips.

Keep contracting your hamstrings, but simultaneously use your hands to pull your heel upward, unbending your knee and straightening out your lower leg as you lengthen your hamstrings. You are lengthening but also contracting your hamstrings at the same time. Yes, you can contract and lengthen a muscle at the same time! And yes, you must maximally contract to discover your true flexibility range.

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