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- Diet and Fitness
Flex Like an Olympian
Flexibility and the ability to perform downward dog like a true yogi are both pluses when it comes to getting in shape. After all, a bend-y physique helps to speed recovery after a workout and can lengthen muscles. Some athletes claim touching their noses to the knees can also help them to achieve Olympic gold.
By now we have all heard of 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres—the mother of two who is attending her 5th Olympics and hoping to bring home her 10th medal. She also has a washboard stomach and her biceps, triceps, shoulders, quads, hamstrings and every other muscle in her body aren’t too shabby either. Age has only made her stronger (her current time is quicker than her 50-meter freestyle world record she set in 1983) and she attributes her success to her two personal stretchers who use a lengthening method called the Meridian Flexibility System.
The program entails pushing and pulling limbs while another person resists the motion. Meridian training works in the opposite manner of the contractions involved in weight training—athletes undergo an elongation of the muscle through the force of the exercises.
The concept was developed in 1978 by Bob Cooley after he was in a car accident and his muscles did not respond well to the recommended physical therapies. Other Olympians such as speed skater Eric Flaim and sailboarder Michael Gebhardt have also used the method.
Stretching isn’t just for record breakers. Doctors say anyone can add Meridian training to their workout plan and benefit from the increased muscle flexibility (make sure you check with your doctor before adding anything new to your routine).
What are some of your favorite stretches and when do you do them—while watching television, before your workout, etc. Tell us how to do your stretches! [Miami Herald]
Ha, ha, Dadeeyo189! That is so funny ... my mom once challenged my fiance to a split contest(P.S. He is a professional dancer)and she is still feeling the pain -- three years later! (: One of my favorite stretches is pigeon pose. I love how it stretches my hips...it feels so good!
There was a period and time when I was OBSESSED with having a split. I mean my friend and I were having a contest to see who could do a better spread jump, so I sat in front of the TV for hours stretching my inner thighs.
Good times. Good times.