Health Tips

Are You Dangerously Inflexible?

Can you touch your toes with your legs straight? Are you chopping at golf balls? While sitting on the floor, can you spread your legs out 120 degrees? If not, you may be DANGEROUSLY INFLEXIBLE! One of the hottest topics in golf today is flexibility. Everyone loses flexibility as they age regardless of lifestyle. With proper stretching this process can be slowed down. Some people are simply genetically inflexible. It’s estimated the majority of “lower back” problems can be attributed to tight hamstrings. According to Butch Harmon, “Flexibility and having or improving range of motion is the most important physical attribute to focus on for any level golfer.” Harmon also states, “By increasing one’s flexibility their club head speed will automatically increase. For the aging golfer, an improved range of motion will help regain their full fluid swing. They will not lapse into punching the ball that almost always follows the loss of flexibility due to age. “

Most golfers have enough strength to swing a golf club. Even though strength is important, it is usually the lack of flexibility that inhibits most golfers from performing a full fluid back swing, which allows them to create greater club head speed and finish with a full follow through. Improved flexibility will help your swing stay “on line” and you will get maximum benefit from your hips and shoulders, not just your arms.

The ProFlex stretching machine, used at the Butch Harmon School of Golf, was developed to keep stretching simple, effective, and address the three critical components that must be present for maximum results. 1. It keeps the user in the correct “biomechanic” position. 2. It allows the user to remain relaxed, a requirement for proper and safe stretching 3. It measures your improvement. Golf Digest gave it their highest rating and Sports Illustrated rated it the #3 new golf product. Tom Kite and many other tour professionals are now using the ProFlex in their training programs. Upon using the machine for the first time, Tom Kite stated, “this is the golf swing.” Dr. Bob Rotella stated that it is essential to relax while stretching. The ProFlex accomplishes this task.

David Dise | ProFlex Stretching Machine Inventor

David Dise | ProFlex Stretching Machine Inventor

ProFlex Stretch Commercial Demo

ProFlex Stretch Commercial Demo

Three Critical Factors For Increasing Flexibility

Trying to improve flexibility and range-of-motion can be extremely frustrating, which is one of the main reasons why many people don’t stretch. There are several important elements of proper stretching; however there are three critical factors in realizing fast and consistent results. All experts agree that a proper warm-up prior to stretching is critical; therefore, the three areas discussed in this article are in addition to warming up.

Basic psychology states that humans react much better when progress can be quantified. Anytime a goal can be set and backed up with measured results, people will tend to stick with and progress within that system. Regardless if it’s an individual trying to become more flexible, a physical therapist or a coach wanting improved flexibility, it’s critical to be able to set and achieve goals with measured results. There’s a big difference in “perceived results” and “proven results”.

Most people have no idea how to stretch properly, especially static stretching (holding the stretch). Correct posture or spine angle is extremely important due to the fact that if the low back is rounded (poor posture), it’s very difficult to safely and effectively isolate the targeted muscles. The majority of people when stretching, round their lower back when sitting on the floor, which puts great stress on the low back, causes tension, in addition to causing poor isolation on the target areas.

Relaxation is paramount in trying to become flexible. This is the main factor in the benefits of partner or assisted stretching. Bottom line is that the target muscles must be relaxed (opposite of contraction) in order to realize the benefits of static stretching and most people are tense during their stretch.

Stretching For Enhanced Athletic Performance

ProFlex Stretching Machine

Over the years there has been growing controversy regarding the different types of stretching methods and if any actually help increase athletic performance. It’s difficult to prove scientifically however if you ask most “world-class” strength and conditioning experts most agree that enhanced flexibility has a definite impact on many areas of athletic performance. The benefits are vast and only a couple will be covered in this article.

The two topics (benefits) discussed here are speed and injury prevention and how stretching to increase flexibility has a direct impact on both. Where is concerned, it makes since that a person’s range of motion would have a direct impact regarding increased or enhanced physical efficiency. Injury prevention is yet another area where it’s agreed, yet hard to prove that enhanced flexibility is beneficial.

There are different beliefs regarding when to stretch as it relates to speed, however, it’s basic physics that support increased flexibility and range of motion will increase speed. A law of physics states that by decreasing friction between two moving parts, the outcome is increased speed1 As a person increases flexibility, it allows them to relax. Relaxation in an athletic movement decreases friction which in return increases speed during the athletic movement. In essence as a person becomes more flexible they should be able to increase speed.

Injury prevention is again, difficult to prove, however it makes since that as a person’s range of motion increases, there’s less stress on the body when performing a specific movement. An example being that if during physical activity, a person is suddenly required to move beyond his or her range of motion, they can be easily injured. Even though this knowledge seems basic, it’s amazing how people argue that stretching and increasing flexibility has little impact on injury prevention.

The American Council on Exercise states that flexibility training is oftem neglected. This neglect is regrettable, because flexibility training:

· Allows greater freedom of movement and improved posture
· Increases physical and mental relaxation
· Releases muscle tension and soreness
· Reduces risk of injury

Some people are naturally more flexible. Flexibility is primarily due to one’s genetics, gender, age and level of physical activity. As we grow older, we tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of inactivity rather than the aging process itself.

The less active we are, the less flexible we are likely to be. As with cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, flexibility will improve with regular training.

Stretch for success

Before stretching, take a few minutes to warm up as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Begin with a simple, low-intensity warm-up, such as easy walking while swinging the arms in a wide circle. Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes warming up prior to stretching.

When performing any stretch:
· Start each stretch slowly, exhaling as you gently stretch the muscle.
· Try to hold each stretch for at least 10 to 30 seconds.

Avoid these stretching mistakes:
· Don’t bounce a stretch. Holding a stretch is more effective and there is less risk of injury.
· Don’t stretch a muscle that is not warmed up.
· Don’t strain or push a muscle too far. If a stretch hurts, ease up.
· Don’t hold your breath.

As you can see, there are many benefits to stretching and by stretching on a regular basis, enhanced physical efficiency is one of them.

For more information on the ProFlex stretching machine call 1-866-776-3539.

ProFlex Stretching Machine