Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to stretch your Iliotibial band

Here's today's video. I have a lot of stretches for this area, this video just shows a few. Post any questions on the blog!

Friday, November 28, 2008


how tired you get after Thanksgiving dinner. After everyone went to sleep, I went downstairs to stretch. I got halfway thru my planned routine, and felt like I was nodding off. So I did. Funny how that is. I also find I do stretch better on an EMPTY stomach, and then afterwards, don't eat as much. Maybe I should write a diet book, Stretch Away the Pounds.

Hope all your holidays went wonderfully, we will have a new video up in a few days, so check back! Also, I have been getting a lot of emails lately with stretching questions, I think many could be answered by previous posts in this blog. So surf around, you may find what you are looking for. It is sometimes hard to answer all the emails I get, but I try.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An interesting note

I launched in 2000, basically as an archive for my patients and students to refer to. It has a huge life of its own. Yesterday, I was checking my webstats to see which page got the most hits. Wanna guess?

OK, I'll break the suspense. Iliotibial stretches, with 1.1 MILLION hits! When I asked readers to tell me which stretches I should demonstrate on my Youtube videos, the most asked for was iliotibial stretches. Who would have thought such a little muscle could cause such an uproar?

BTW, is a free site to viewers, paid for by me and supported by the advertisers on the site. So, go visit my advertisers and help keep the site up and running! We appreciate it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's video..

Got the Macbook back from Apple (port was replaced, glad we have Applecare!), so we are now able to get back to our regular video feature. Today, I discuss shoulders.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We planned on updating the blog with a new video every week, but the port on the MacBook went out. All the videos are on that computer. It should be back later this week, so the vids will be posted then.

Will update, in the meantime, keep stretching!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The REAL reason I started stretching

When I first started to study karate, I would strain/pull my muscles all the time. This resulted in pain. But, when you are a kid, that kind of pain does not slow you down that much. My Teacher, Dr. Sohn, told me I needed to stretch more, otherwise my skill in karate would be limited. He told me that when he studied in Korea in the 50's, the first thing he noticed as the difference between the Korean students and his fellow Caucasions, was that ALL the Koreans were flexible, and their bodies were not hampered by tight muscles restricting their movements. The Caucasion students, on the other hand, were all tight Americans who could barely touch their toes. When Dr. Sohn returned to the States to teach, he placed great emphasis on body preparation. It took me a few years to value this myself, but when I did, my ability to kick like in the photo became a reality.

Only later on in life did I find that was just the beginning of the benefits of stretching.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stretching and the Economy

Worldwide, everyone is feeling the effects of the state of the economy. What does that have to do with stretching? Muscles tighten as part of the fight or flight reaction in the body. The fight or flight reaction is a response to stress in the environment. In primitive times, if there was the threat of an attack, man would experience a change in his physiology to deal with the circumstances. For example, the trapezius muscles (shoulders) would tighten to protect the spine from being pierced by an animal's teeth. The heart rate would elevate to allow an instantaneous shift to running mode. Senses were alert. Then after either a fight, or after the threat has been neutralized because primitive man ran from it, the change to the body would subside and the body would relax and return to its normal state. Most battles were over territory, food, and security.

See the connection? Our muscles tighten as a result of major changes to our environment. The economic climate now threatens our personal territory, food and security. Sure, we don't hunt, we go to the supermarket, and we don't live in a cave, but the human body goes through the same changes as primitive man.

Many people today are waking up to face the day with tighter muscles than before, due to the stress of the times. Help the body return to its natural state by stretching and opening up the tight joints in the body. It will only help.

Monday, November 10, 2008

About that last video

There are probably a gajillion stretches I could show as a "last minute" stretch. The reason I picked that one is because most folks ask about what to do before going for a walk, run, or gym workout. So, I picked one that is a large scale "stretcher" of hamstrings, gluteal muscles, lower back muscles, groin, calf, and iliotibial bands. The stretch shown really gives you the most stretch in the least time for those areas. It won't stretch the upper body much, and if you added a little upper body stretching, it wouldn't hurt. Next weeks video is a quick shoulder/upper body warmup.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A couple of details....

about the stretch in the first video (below).

1. It is best to hold onto something. Taking out the balance component allows you to concentrate on releasing the quad muscle. Also, to balance requires a little tension in some alternate muscle groups, so you may not get the desired level of stretch.

2. As you hold the heel to your buttock, try to feel the leg release from the inside (your femur, or thigh bone) to the surface of your skin. This simple idea allows you to get much deeper stretch sensation.

3. Make sure your hips are level.

5. Breath. It helps to relax no matter what, especially when you are trying to stretch a muscle.

6. Try this: After doing both legs, and rolling your hips as shown, repeat the exercise. You will be rewarded with much greater stretch than you started with.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Plans for

Thank you for all your positive emails regarding the video, I appreciate it. It seems Web 2.0 is moving towards more interactivity! (Web 1.0 was just looking at pictures). A few folks have asked me to demonstrate/teach specific stretches, and that's a terrific idea. If you have a stretch you would like a video of, let me know.

On the production end, we need to increase the resolution. I find the videos grainier than what I would like. The camera we are using has 3ccd technology, so the videos should present clearer than they do. Its probably a setting we need to adjust.

I may revamp the howtostretch website and embed videos within each catagory. That's a bigger project, but its on the blackboard. Also, I have many, many more exercises that are not on the site at all, so perhaps instead of photos, they will just be videos. The plan is to do a couple of videos a week, and my daughter will edit/title/upload them, and we can launch them on each weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The First Howtostretch Video on Youtube!

Check out our first Youtube video, we plan to do one weekly (we have shot three so far). Fun stuff!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today's Project

We are working on a 3 to 5 min Youtube video to demonstrate different stretches. Should have it done today, and get it posted tomorrow. Check back!