“OK, imagine doing 20 yard Duck Walks right now, ” I said.
His face turned white as a ghost as he shook his head. We had just finished up training legs in my garage gym and I was using a little known technique called “Extreme Stretching” to add to the enjoyment of his workout. We had both held the “sissy squat” position for 90 seconds
While the picture above is a fairly good representation of a sissy squat stretch, to do it correctly you have to get down lower. You want to:
- Lean back so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle
- Get your butt down lower so that it’s just above your heels but not touching your heels
- Stay on your tip toes
- Hold onto an upright post, a partner, a rope, a tree and keep the arm straight
You’ll know it when you are in the right position. Now have someone count to 90 seconds. You may not make it. It’s hard – that’s why it’s called “extreme”. If it’s too easy then I’ll bet one of my kids that you’re doing it wrong. I’ve been using this method for around 10 years and not once have I thought “Damn, this is too easy!”. But if you want, you can add resistance. You can hold a medicine ball, dumbbell or a kettlebell.
Be warned though. Once you pick that weight up, you have to FINISH while holding that weight! That’s how we roll.
“Why should I do this, Scott?”
Good question. The answer is simple. As a fitness pro, you already know the benefits of stretching. “Extreme stretching” can be used to stretch the fascia, a membrane that surrounds each muscle. This fascia envelopes your muscle tissue limiting the space your muscle has to occupy. In doing so, this limits your progress. By stretching this growth limiting membrane, your muscle fibers are allowed the room they need to increase in size AND you get the extra benefit of increased blood flow to the muscle. Extreme stretching elicits responses in muscle groups that have reached sticking points in training. If you have a certain muscle that seems at a stalemate in size, strength or appearance, then extreme stretching will help you overcome these plateaus.” – John Parillo
I’ve been a fan of John Parillo since I started bodybuilding back in 1985. I’ve tried his methods and I know that they help. They will help you and your bootcampers as well.
HERE’S HOW YOU BENEFIT
Got a lady in your class who wants a shapelier butt and “has tried everything”?
Use extreme stretching.
Got a guy in your class who says his chest is hollower than my empty Christmas stocking?
Use extreme stretching.
Have a client who says she wants to run faster?
Try extreme stretching.
I know what you may be thinking. You may be thinking that this sounds like “bodybuilding stuff”.
Don’t worry – you won’t get big and bulky. This is stretching not lifting. Ever seen the stretching routine that a ballerina goes through? They don’t look big and bulky, right?
There are extreme stretches for every body part and they only take 60-90 seconds to complete. If you can go longer than 90 seconds – either the stretch is being done wrong or it’s time to add resistance.
Stretching makes your body more flexible, giving your muscles and joints greater range of motion.
Other benefits include:
- By forcing blood into the muscle, you push in nutrients and pull out the waste products. Isn’t that the goal? By getting more nutrients into the muscle, you get more of the muscle building amino acids and other nutrients into the muscle to repair the fibers you have worked so hard to break down with all of those burpees and squats. Want a shapelier butt? Add some muscle.
Increased flexibility means a decrease in injuries. Everyone knows that by keeping a muscle pliable and loose, you are less likely to strain or tear the muscle.
STRETCHING IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDERUTILIZED COMPONENTS OF FITNESS
Here are some ways for you to use extreme stretching in your fitness bootcamp.
- Partner up. Do up to a 90 second sissy squat stretch (as mentioned at the beginning of this article). Did you make it the entire 90 seconds? If so, try duck walking for up to 20 yards with your partner. Shake the legs out really well both before the duck walks and after.
- Do the same as above but race your partner during the duck walks. Or have the entire group do this and have a group race. Let them shake the legs out before the duck walks and then call out “ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!”
- Perform 90 seconds of extreme stretching using the sissy squat (or some other leg stretch – I’m sure you know a few) and then couple it with a Kettlebell Duck Walk for 10 yards down and back.
- Perform a sit and reach stretch for hamstrings for up to 90 seconds then rollover and hold the plank for 90 seconds. That’s 3 minutes of pure hell.
By now, you’re probably seeing the possibilities. You can do these stretches alone for up to 90 seconds or you can pair them up in your own unique way. I would recommend that you do them first before you have your bootcampers do them so you can adjust the stretch, the time, the resistance as needed.
Once again, these are extreme stretches so beginners should not attempt these. You’ll find stretches for every body part not just the legs. One of my favorites is hanging from a bar after a session of pullups and/or rope climbs. See if you can hang 90 seconds.
Bootcamp training is evolving. It’s much more than just recycled old push ups, squats and situps. Try something new. It’ll keep your bootcampers interested, keep them progressing and give them something new to talk about at the water cooler that will help promote your business.
P.S. On instagram? Me, too. I post videos and pics of workouts and more at http://instagram.com/scottyorkfitness/
P.S.S. Working on a new bootcamp resource (no, it has nothing to do with extreme stretching). It’s a competitive, fun way to add another element to your bootcamp.