|It was cold but sunny, so I bundled up and moved the weights and the squat stands outside. Nothing beats squats and vitamin D.|
Hail to the Dinosaurs!
When I was a kid, stretching became the
new craze in athletics training.
The coaches were told to have all of their
athletes do plenty of stretching drills before
and after every practice, and before and after
Most of this was static stretching, where you
get into an extended position and hold it for
10 to 30 seconds -- or ballistic stretching,
where you would go close to the extended
position and then move back and forth or
up and down for 10 or 15 reps.
It was supposed to prevent injuries.
Did it work?
Darned if I know.
I remember talking to NFL Hall of Fame
coach Paul Brown one summer when I
worked a job selling popcorn and cokes
at the Cincinnati Bengals training
"I don't know about all this stretching,"
he said. "They say it's good for the players.
But I think about Jim Brown."
Jim Brown had played for Coach Brown
when he was the head coach of the
Cleveland Browns. He was the best
running back in football -- and he
finished his career with an all-time
rushing record that stood for many
He also was one of the few football
players in history who ever played
his entire pro career without missing
a single game due to an injury.
He was both unstoppable and
"Jim Brown never did any stretching,"
said Coach Brown. "He was so tight he
couldn't put his hands any lower than
his knees when he bent over with his
That was interesting information -- and
it sure as heck got me thinking.
Here's something else to think about.
I've had shoulder problems since I was
in high school.
That's because I hurt my right shoulder
doing pullovers on a Nautilus Pullover
Back in those days, the Pullover Torso
machine had an enormous range of
motion. Your elbows would go way
back behind your head on every rep.
They said it was good for you -- that
it would strengthen the shoulders
and help make them injury-proof.
In my case, the reverse happened.
Many trainees have similar problems
with exercises that over-stretch the
shoulder joint -- including the press
behind neck, behind the neck pull-
downs, straight arm barbell pull-
overs, flies, and bench presses with
a McDonald bench press bar.
The same thing can happen with dips.
If you go too low, you're just asking
for trouble. especially with a ton of
extra weight -- or if you bounce.
But back to the original question.
Is stretching your friend or your foe?
I'll give you my answer later in the
But in the meantime, let me hear from
YOU! Shoot me an email and tell me
what you think.
As always, thanks for reading and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a
Yours in strength,
P.S. Gray Hair and Black Iron tells you how to
train for lifelong strength and health -- and how
to preserve and protect your joints:
P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- including
links to my e-books on Kindle -- are right
here at Dino Headquarters:
Hard-copy and PDF
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Start young and
keep going for the rest of your life. If you're
not young, start NOW and keep going for the
rest of your life." -- Brooks Kubik