Resistance Flexibility – Is This Your New Workout?

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Bob Cooley doing Hamstring Stretch

Having just written about deeper listening, I’m keeping the theme going with deeper stretching. Stretching before exercising, although a little boring, is a good thing. I’ve used foam rollers, but typically I just stretch. I’d pretty much accepted that my hamstrings are tight and will always be that way. However, now that I’ve discovered Resistance Flexibility, a program created by Bob Cooley (Oprah and Dr. Christiane Northrup are big devotees), I’m realizing there is a deeper way to stretch and my hamstring muscles are very happy. Before I dive in to explain, I should mention that Resistance Flexibility was created by Bob Cooley after he got hit by a car going 70 miles per hour while he was crossing the street. Throughout a long and incredibly difficult healing process, he discovered that by contracting your muscle continually while you stretch it out gives you a deeper and less painful stretch. This is what lengthens your muscle. Seeing is understanding, so check out this example of how Resistance Training works with a bicep stretch.

But let’s go deeper. This approach to stretching is focused on the fascia, which is a continuous web-like tissue that surrounds and penetrates the bones, muscles, and organs. According to Cooley, “Throughout a person’s life, repetitive movements or trauma dramatically increase the density of fascia, which significantly impairs movement and health. The secret of Resistance Flexibility is to naturally resist and generate tension while stretching, which causes this accumulated dense fascia and scar tissue to break down.” That’s the physical angle, but on a deeper level, it also helps us to release deep emotions trapped in these tissues. Many practitioners describe a feeling of deep release almost close to a state of euphoria. (I’ll take it!) This is similar to that feeling at the end of a yoga class when you’re lying down on the mat in corpse pose, feeling spent yet energized, and at times very emotional.

I love an approach to movement that taps into this kind of deep release. If we can free ourselves of feeling stuck on both a physical and an emotional level, I’m in. So back to my hamstrings where, incidentally, some of our deepest fascia is located. Here is the video that got me started with my new stretch.

The Genius of Flexibility