Why does stretching feel so good? Why don’t more people stretch? And when did humans first start stretching? I never feel quite as good as after a good stretch. It’s almost euphoric. So why do most CrossFit athletes avoid stretching like the plague?
I imagine it went something like: a caveman had a kink in his lower back from dragging a gazelle carcass back to the cave the day before, and in an effort to find some relief from the discomfort, he started moving around. And viola! Yoga was born.
Although it may not have been that simple, the act of elongating muscle tissue for therapeutic purposes has been around for centuries. When people feel “stiffness” somewhere in their muscular chain they logically assume the best way to reduce this feeling is to stretch.
Consider its many benefits: Relaxation, pain relief, rehabilitation, even enhancing performance. Stretching is a simple movement that when done regularly and correctly, can generate huge returns on your investment.
As athletes, we need to create a strong foundation of support for our muscles to work against. Mobilizing and stretching allows the nervous system to release the brake that’s currently holding your tight muscles hostage and allow an increase in range of motion.
Mobility and stretching should be a proactive approach, not a reactive one. There’s a great deal we can do to improve performance, speed recovery, and prevent injury. Stretching is a great tool for improving mobility and for resolving any positional problems you might have.
Remember, take care to improve your flexibility and your flexibility will take care of you.