Discovering Resistance Flexibility For Yourself & Others
Recommended to Better Understand This Topic:
Bob Cooley, with the help of Erika Winston, giving an introduction to many beginner resistance flexibility concepts and principles by explaining and demonstrating the difference between muscle and fascia by showing a simple D.I.Y. experiment on the biceps and triceps.
The Difference Between Strength Training and Resistance Flexibility, Fascia Generating More Force Than Muscle, Lack of Sensation Stretching Compared to Strengthening, Balancing Pairs of Muscle Groups and 8 Directions of Movement, Muscle Group Kinematic Patterns and Physical Actions, Flexibility As A Tool to Increase a Muscle’s Ability to Shorten, Differing to Your Body and the Physical Part of Stretching, Your Attention and the Psychological Part of Stretching, Breathing and the Emotional Part of Stretching, Resisting/Yielding and the Spiritual Part of Stretching
Bob: Hi, everybody. It's Erika and Bob.
Erika: Hi, Everyone.
Bob: We wanna show you something about real flexibility training. There has been a paradigm shift in flexibility training. There's a discovery that will change the way people actually can become flexible, instead of always thinking, some people are born flexible and some people aren't, it's not really like that. The people that are flexible are doing something you are not doing, and I think we know what that is. And we're going to have you have that same discovery with yourself. I'm going to do it with Erika, she's going to do it with me, then you do it with yourself and friends, and then find out if you can make the same discovery we did. And then if you can, then we can apply it to all the muscles all over your whole body. Let's back up, let's start with strength training. Everybody understands strength training. You start where muscle's long, is at your bicep, you add additional weight into that arm and then you lift up that weight and then your bicep contracts and shortens. And it hypertrophies the muscle fibers, and then you develop strength and everybody knows it works and you can do it with any part of your body. So that's called resistance training because resistance is on the outside of the body, so you could keep lifting up your arm, but you added additional weight so that's called resistance training. Well, when you stretch, most people just lengthen a muscle and they think the longer and longer they make the muscle, the more it stretches, that's not how muscles stretch. Here's the paradigm change, it's known, scientifically understood and identified that when all animals stretch, they contract the muscle they're stretching while they stretch it, that's the change. And when you do that, the muscle will get tense and relax and give you greater ranges of motion. But there's some things about that that you need to know. Let's make that discovery. Erika, why don't you strengthen your own bicep and stretch your own bicep and then strengthen your own tricep, and then stretch your tricep and talk about it. Let them know about it.
Erika: Okay, so now I'm gonna strengthen it, so I do feel that little muscle coming and now I'm going to stretch it, and I feel the resistance at, so much force, more so than the strengthening.
Bob: Do it again. So when you're strengthening your bicep you can feel in your body and feel the muscle contracting, and you can feel how much force it takes with your other hand to strengthen your bicep.
Bob: But then when you stretch it,
Erika: When I stretch it, I could, if I use full force, I can't move myself, but if I yield a little bit--
Bob: Much more force, somehow being generated when you stretch a muscle than when you strength it, Do it once more. But muscles actually contract and shorten when you strengthen or they contract and lengthen when you stretch them. So in both cases, they're contracting, but when you contract and shorten the muscle for strength, the fascia that surrounds the muscle, just kind of crinkles around the muscle, doesn't create any resistance. But when you stretch the muscle, so the muscle is short as possible, and now it's contracting and shortening and you're lengthening it using an outside force to lengthen that muscle, the resistance is now inside, but that resistance is now in the fascial material. The muscle is tensing, that's creating some force but the greatest resistance is coming from this fascial material that surrounds and impregnates all your muscle tissues. And when you shorten a muscle that fascia just kind of crinkles, but when you stretch the muscle, that fascial material is like a yoga mat. It has huge resistive forces that are involved up to six times, the strength of when the muscle contracts. So when you strengthen a muscle, you have a lot of feeling in that, because that muscle is connected to your brain, the nervous system. So then you can feel how much sensation you get when you strengthen a muscle. But when you stretch a muscle, that force that's generated is not coming mainly from the muscle, it's actually mainly coming from the fascial resistance, the fascia being changed. And when you do that, you get that. Watch this. Erica, listen, I'm going to strengthen your bicep, you wanna support your elbow with your other hand, let me bring your arm down here. So to strengthen again, the muscle starts long and goes short. I'm going to give her external resistance, up yourself. And then you can see, I could beat Erica's strength on this but I'm just going to give her the amount that feels good. And that's how you strengthen a muscle and you do a bunch of reps. But now I'm gonna have her still contract the muscle and I'm going to lengthen and watch what happens. You can see, I can barely lengthen that muscle out and that's my total strength. Let's try strengthening.
Erika: And I don't feel like I'm working hard at all, but you are.
Bob: Yeah, and again, strengthen. You can see that for strength, I can use a couple of fingers and beat the strength of the contraction of the muscle but when it comes to stretching that, when the fascia has all that resistance, I can barely move her arm and that's from the fascial material. So it takes two to six times the force to stretch a muscle as it does to strengthen it. So if you're on a weight training piece of equipment or even a free weight, and you lift it up, say 20 pounds, you would need 40, 60, 80. 100 pounds in order to stretch the same muscle. Otherwise, if you weight train 20 pounds and lower 20 pounds, you just become muscle bound, not flexible. What's happening inside when we're doing this, when you're stretching a muscle, what's happening inside? Well, what people don't know is that the muscle needs to be contracting, that's the whole concept we're talking about, and because the resistance is coming inside of you, when you stretch the muscle, that's why we call it resistance flexibility, because strength training is called resistance training for strength. And so resistance, flexibility only in strength, the resistance is outside and in stretching, the resistance is inside.
Erika: Can I just tell you, my whole left arm feels so expansive and fluid and light and warm, like my whole left side, even my leg. So that's amazing what happens in such little time.
Bob: Yeah. So what we found out from scientific studies is that when your muscle contracts, all animals, when they contract muscles when they stretch, that when they do that, the muscle releases enzymes and those enzymes cause transfiguration positive upgrades in the fascial structures and regeneration of your muscle tissue and your tendons and your ligaments and the tissues that surround your circulatory system and your lymphatic system. All the tissues get this regeneration. So that's why animals stay flexible and humans don't look that way so much. And they don't because they just don't stretch the way all the other animals stretch. And all the other animals are looking at you like, look stupid every day I stretch like this, I show you how to stretch and you still don't do it, like what's the problem here.
Erika: I think if people just did this of what we're explaining, that they could see the results very quickly.
Bob: So do this with a friend and have them strengthen and stretch their own bicep and tricep, and then you create the resistive force for either the strength or the stretch and how feel different it is. And then you'll make another discovery, and the other discovery is that when you strength train you can feel sensation in your muscle while it's strengthening, and the more it works, the more sensation it produces. But when you stretch a muscle, that force is not mainly coming from the muscle, it's coming from the resistance of the fascia, and the fascia is not connected to your brain, the way the muscle is, there's almost no feeling. So you let your friend strengthen and stretch their bicep and tricep, and then when you do it and you help strengthen them or stretch them, notice that on the stretch that they don't look like they're working very hard and you're really putting out huge amounts of force because that's what it takes to stretch the tissue, and they don't feel very much the second idea, the fascial resistance doesn't give you sensation. So you have all these forces in you that are actually affecting your flexibility that are not producing sensation that you're expecting. So you're going to have to learn that. So again, anytime that you stretch your muscles, so if Erika strengthened my bicep. So be here. Okay, she's going to resist me. I'm going to pull up, you resist me. So that's her helping to strengthen my bicep, and you do it a bunch of reps. Can you beat me on the strengths? See she can beat me on the strength, and now we stretch I'll be contracting the muscle just like I did with strength, help yourself and pull away and see, I don't look like I'm doing very much and she's struggling and I'm not having very much sensation. And now this time I'm actually going to try. Here we go. Help yourself, yeah. And that's my bicep. Guess what? The fascial structures are not very dense in the bicep, anywhere on the front or inside of the body. It's on the outside and back where most of the fascia is. So you wanna strengthen my tricep now, so resist me and I'll extend my lower arm. I'm going to push out toward you. I mean, look, that's my maximum force and she's not struggling. See that triceps, not nearly as strong, but now I'm going to try to stretch the tricep instead. Help yourself, stretch my tricep. Notice, I'm on like vacation and she can't do that at all.
Erika: Not at all.
Bob: I'm not having almost any sensation and I'm thinking she's weak. No, no, no, no, she's not weak, that's the resistive force in the fascial structures. Same thing for herself, watch this. Support yourself, let your arm come here. So when she pushes out, I'll resist her and it'll be strength training for her tricep. You wanna push out, please, I'll support you so help yourself. Okay, so that's strength for her bicep, right? Do it again, for her tricep, yeah. Okay, cool, so you could see I could beat her in the strength of her tricep. Now keep pushing out and I'm going to try to stretch your tricep, push out towards me, start straight here. Yeah, do it. That's the resistive force in the tricep. So what we're recommending, what Erika and I are recommending is make this discovery yourself. So get together with a friend, strengthen and stretch your bicep and tricep and see if you don't discover this new idea that in stretching, the muscle needs to contract, and there's something else in there, which is actually your fascia that is causing huge resistance when you're stretching. So instead of thinking, flexibility is all about the muscle being more flexible, it's not that the muscle isn't involved, it's very involved actually, but it's really the fascial structures that need to change and become upgraded in their health in order to become more flexible. Let's learn some more things now.
Bob: So we want you to try that. Now let's learn some more things about this. Everybody knows you have to move in eight directions, so that means you must have muscle groups as groups of muscles that contract that would move you in eight different directions. So your leg has to go forward and backwards and open to the side and open in and go diagonally away and diagonally towards you and diagonally away the other way and this direction. So there's eight directions. So there has to be like eight groups of muscles, kind of whole contiguous groups of muscles that contract that actually move your leg or your arms or your trunk in eight different directions. So there must be eight for your lower body and eight for your upper body, right? And they actually work in pairs, so in other words, the muscle on the outside of your leg and your inside of your leg are pairs of muscles where they balance each other with a muscle on the outside when it contracts generally takes your legs sideways and the muscle on the inside takes your leg inward, so they happen in pairs. And then the muscle in the front of your thigh, and the back of your thigh, the front of the thigh essentially lifts you up and the one on the back essentially takes you backwards, and the other diagonals take you in the other directions. So when you're working on any of the muscle groups, both of these pairs are actually involved. So when you're strengthening the outside of the leg, the outside of the leg muscle groups are actually shortening while the inside leg muscle groups are lengthening, and when you go in the opposite direction, the outside are actually stretching and getting longer and the inside are getting shorter. So these are pairs of muscles. So there's eight, there's four pairs below and four pairs above. And the four pairs, actually, each pair is associated with one of your major joints. So your muscles groups on the outside of your hips and the inside of your legs affect your hip girdle, your pelvis girdle here. Your muscle groups that are next on the outside angle, an the inside back angle actually affect your hip joint, the muscles on the front and back of your thigh affect your knee and the muscle groups on the outside back of your leg and the muscles on the inside front of your leg affect your ankle and foot. And the same thing's true for above. So you have these eight muscle groups, they're in pairs and each pair affects that particular joint. So if you needed more flexibility to a particular joint, there's a pair of muscle groups that can be used to do that. And these muscle groups balance each other in function. Because joints can either flex, at any joint, say your shoulder joint, you can flex the arm or you can extend the arm back, you can adduct the arm, you can abduct the arm, you can rotate it in, you can rotate it out. that's called six degrees of freedom. But when you combine those together, say example, this particular muscle group on the front of your shoulder and arm, it doesn't just lift your arm, it rotates your arm externally, and it adducts your arm across. See, it's one of each of those pairs, you have flex and extend, abduct adduct and inward and outward rotate. And each muscle takes one of each of those to create a kinematic pattern is what it's called. Those muscle groups can also be described as what movement does it practically make for you. So for example, the muscle groups on the back of your glute, down the back of your leg and up your back when they contract and shorten, makes you jump up into the air. So the muscle groups on the other side of your leg, when they contract must squat you down, muscle groups on the outside of your leg, when they contract move your body forward and the muscle groups from the back of your leg contract and move your body backwards. So you have both a kinematic pattern, which is either flex extend, abduct, adduct, inward, outward rotate, one of each of those, that's called kinematic for each one of these eight muscle groups of above and below or kinetic. Jumping, twisting, turning, throwing, catching, all of these are the same thing just described as a kinetic pattern. There's a fabulous aspect about flexibility that is completely overlooked by most people, and what that is is that the ultimate gain for movement is not about the flexibility, it's about the flexibility gives you the capacity for the muscle to shorten. So if you want to jump higher and you make these muscle groups more flexible on the back of your leg, back outside of your leg and glute, yes, they would allow you to bend more, that part of your body. But those muscles can now short more, and when they do, they make you jump higher. So when you make a muscle more flexible, it doesn't just give you more range of motion, it gives you more capacity for the muscle to shorten and the rate of shortening, the speed of shortening and the rate, or the acceleration. So you can stretch somebody's arm, they can stretch their arm, muscle groups, or be assisted doing that, and you'll get an increase, not only in the ease of making the movement by mechanically, but you'll get a change in the speed they can throw the ball and the acceleration of throwing the ball, that's unbelievable. So the goal in flexibility is really not really flexibility, it's really to gain the capacity for the muscle to shorten. That's what it's all about. I'm going to take a break for a second, I'm going to turn my page here. Let's talk about it personally, in terms of stretching, you know, you have four parts of yourself. You have a physical part, your physical body, you have a psychological part, you have an emotional and desire part, and you have a spiritual part, your value systems. Well, that corresponds exactly to stretching, there's four parts to stretching. So when you're stretching a muscle, besides this discovery that a muscle needs to contract when you stretch it, and then you're not going to have very much feeling because the fascia is going to create most of the resistance, some other things are happening with you, as a person. You're going to have to find out how your body wants you to do that. How much force do you use? How much repetition, what's the exact angle? What speed do you do that at? What exact direction do you stretch that muscle in? That's called deferring to your body to make those choices. The other thing is that you're going to have to pay attention to the area that you're stretching. And when you do that, it's going to tell you exactly what's happening in that part, and it might educate you about how it affects you psychologically. Then there's the breathing part, your emotional part, every muscle you stretch wants you to breathe in different way. So when you're stretching, you have to find out how does your body want you to breathe in order to get a great stretch? And then the fourth part is, are you resisting or do you need to yield when you're stretching? That's the spiritual part. So just like you have four parts of yourself, they map exactly into parallel, into the four ways that you need to consider yourself when you're stretching. So two people stretching their hamstrings, one person might be spending all their time, finding out how their body wants them to breathe and get a good stretch. And on another day they're going to spend all their time identifying their tendons or their ligaments or how that's affecting them psychologically. And the person next to them might be spending all their time, repositioning themselves all the time and figuring out how many reps they like to do and how much force they like to do that feels good for their body. And somebody else might be very aware that, wow, I'm resisting too hard when I'm stretching this muscle, that's locking up my joints. I need to not resist so hard, I need to yield a little bit more, whereas somebody else might need to resist more to actually get a stretch. So those are the four parts of stretching. The whole concept of stretching is to develop yourself to be flexible in all ways. So when you stretch, you won't just get flexible physically, you'll also get flexible in how you can interface with yourself in other people's psychologically. How you can be with them and get the desires that you actually want satisfied and so that you can help them get their desires satisfied and for you to be flexible enough to have the life that you really want to be having. That's called being more balanced, that's what that's all about. We're gonna do workshops in the future, so when you see any of these videos that we've produced, that you can sign up as 20 people in a Zoom, everybody's going to watch each other, and we're going to show you and be with you on that particular concept. And you'll put in questions before when you sign up so we'll know specifically what you want to know about, and we'll tailor that to you and we'll do these 20 people workshops, and then there'll be always available for you also. So we look forward to that in the future.
Erika: I look forward to it.
Bob: Me too.
Erika: Unwinding more.
Bob: Yeah, that's great.
Erika: Getting better and better.
Bob: So I'm glad we got to show you that, and it was great that Erika got to show you how much force it takes, I couldn't even stretch muscles in her body, right? And with mine, obviously it's the same thing. Remember half of the time you'll probably spend self stretching and then you're going to have to pair up with somebody else to assistant stretch. So in our next video, we're gonna show you how to assist stretch instead. Okay, great. Have a great time.