Keep stretching the same muscles over and over, but not getting anywhere? I sound like a sales pitch from the radio. What I want to talk about is Post-Isometric-Relaxation. It’s basically a super-stretch, without feeling like you’re going to tear your muscle in half. You probably need a partner, like a Chiropractor, to help you with it until you get it down. But first, a science lesson.

A Golgi Tendon Organ(GTO) is a little sensory receptor that lies at the origin and insertion of every skeletal muscle fiber. Its job is to relax/inhibit the muscle.

Respiration can affect muscles in two ways. Inhalation enhances muscle activation, and exhalation enhances muscle relaxation.

In summary: we want to activate the GTO of the muscle, and exhale in order to relax the muscle.

To do this:

  • Stretch the muscle until you get to a barrier (you shouldn’t feel the “stretch” part yet)
  • Perform a gentle contraction of the muscle (10-20% of maximum force)
  • Take a deep breath in while the muscle is contracted, and hold both (breath and contraction) for about 10 seconds.
  • Relax the muscle, and exhale.
  • Your partner will then stretch the muscle to its new barrier.
  • Repeat until no further progress is made.

Give it a try!