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Just Breathe

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In this video clip, I explain to Dave Phillips and Dr. Greg Rose – Founders of The Titleist Performance Institute, precisely how breathing is crucial for superb flexibility.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, my staff and I have asked virtually thousands of our students who come to our golf instruction schools if they stretch?  For many years, it “used” to surprise me how many people said they did!

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, my staff and I have asked virtually thousands of our students who come to our golf instruction schools if they stretch?  For many years, it “used” to surprise me how many people said they did!  Yet, after testing them, very, very few people had actually attained maximum flexibility, especially to perform a fundamental golf swing. The truth is; that if a person stretches “properly”, they’ll increase the range of motion in their bodies – and in their golf swings.

Although this statement seems quite obvious, so many people still don’t give it a second thought that they still haven’t become flexible, and usually write it off because they think that they’re just inherently inflexible.  All the time, I hear statements such as “Hey, I’ve never been flexible, even as a little kid”, Or, “I’ve never been able to touch my toes”, ad infinitum.  It seems that most of the people I’ve encountered just think that stretching is really just a way to warm up, so they won’t feel too tight.

I feel that there are two main reasons why people don’t achieve maximum flexibility.  1). Is because they don’t breathe properly during the stretching motion, and 2) because they don’t do the stretches in the proper sequences in their respective muscle chains..

Let’s talk about the breathing.  Although muscles do stretch, the truth is that they really contract and expand.  Within the muscle, the fascia is filled with nerve spindles and nerve fibers.  These nerves are obviously connected to the spinal cord – which goes up into your brain.  As the stretching motion begins, the nerves become disengaged somewhat from the oxygen that they so desperately need.  As the stretch goes deeper, the nerves then begin to “cry out” for more oxygen, and we feel that as the burning sensation begins to appear.  At this point, we want to breathe deeper and send more oxygen down into the nerve spindles to oxygenate the nerves (See the accompanying video)  Upon receiving oxygen, the nerve then says, “Hey thanks for the oxygen”, now you can go a little deeper fascia.  And so it goes on.

If however, we don’t breathe in harmony with the stretching motion, the muscle we’re trying to stretch will actually tighten up to protect the muscle from tearing.  This type of Stretching will not only prevent flexibility from happening, but will often times begin to create muscle tears, ischemia, etc. So the next time you stretch yourself, or your clients, remember to “Just BREATHE”.

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