FORTITUDE - January 2006 - Issue #9

First, I want to announce the launch of the Fortitude Fitness website, I want to thank my good friend Matthew for setting this up for me. I am in the process of getting a logo designed by my brother whom is a artist and graphic art designer. So in the next three months this website will be updated to get its final look!

In the December 2005 FORTITUDE we started a series of training programs that will allow you to see how you can progress through a program using PERIODIZATION.

This month we are going to talk about specific self stretching routines to improve your overall flexibility.

Benefits of Stretching:
  • Improve range of motion.
  • Relieve muscle soreness.
  • Relieve muscle cramps.
  • Increase strength.
  • Prevent injury.
  • Improve performance in your life activities and sports.
  • Increase mental and physical relaxation.
  • Promote development of body awareness.
  • Reduce risk of back problems.
  • Reduce risk of joint sprain and muscle strain.
  • Reduce muscle tension.
  • Reduce the severity of painful menstration for women.

There is a controversy about stretching before or after the workout according to research. The most important thing is that you feel good. So if stretching before the workout allows you to be more mobile then do it! But I recommend you stretch before and after as this will improve your overall well being. Stretch for about ten minutes. I recommend Pavel Tsatsouline's excellent book Relax into Stretch : Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension for detailed stretches.

Tips For Stretching
The aims of stretching are to gently lengthen muscles before and after any form of exercise, and to improve tissue elasticity and flexibility. If done correctly, stretching will help prevent injuries and increase athletic performance.

The following key points should be remembered whilst stretching:
  • Begin with gradual mobility exercises for all joints, i.e. simply rotate the wrists, bend the arm and roll your shoulders. This will allow the body's natural lubrication (synovial fluid) to protect the surface of your bones at these joints.
  • Always warm up the body prior to stretching, as this increases blood flow around the body, which in turn makes the muscles more supple.
  • After exercise, slowly bring your heart rate down before you begin stretching in order to avoid blood pooling within your muscles, which can lead to cramp and dizzy spells.
  • If you are sweaty, take a bath or shower then stretch, as the hot water will help relax the muscles, and prevent you from catching a chill.
  • Never bounce whilst you stretch, unless you are doing specific stretches for certain sports, i.e. ballistic stretching for martial arts.
  • Hold the stretch until you feel the muscle loosen off, then repeat for a further 15 seconds.
  • Whilst stretching you should feel some slight discomfort, if you don?t feel anything, then you may be doing the stretch incorrectly, or simply the muscle has eased off.
  • Stop immediately if you feel any severe pain.
  • Remember to breathe regularly and rhythmically do not hold your breath.
  • If you have a bad memory, start with your legs, and work up the body, in order not to miss out any of the stretches.

Next month we'll be taking the program to the next level.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: "Energy and persistence conquer all things."

Continue to train towards your goals while having fun!


"My heart and soul is vibrating like a volcano, and I am breathing like a dragon, The Fire of Life."