Not bad, at a stretch

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Resistance Stretching with Dara Torres: Legs
99 US cents
Rating 9/10

Dara Torres, the name behind this app, is a 12-time Olympic medallist famous for winning silver at the 2008 Olympics at age 41. Torres is also reputed to have spent more than US$100,000 a year on her retinue of trainers, physios and other experts, two of whom were stretch experts, Anne Tierney and Steve Sierra.

Tierney and Sierra devised this resistance stretching system. They say the system can be used by anyone from fitness buffs to sedentary office workers with lower back pain and stiffness in the hips and groin.

The app comes with nine short videos showing resistance stretches for the legs (in-app purchase required for upper and full body) - which are mostly done while lying down.

Resistance stretching combines stretching and strengthening, a more holistic way to prevent injury. It is recommended that you first do the strength component to warm the muscle. In this phase, you contract the target muscle providing firm resistance, usually with the opposing leg, which works that leg as well.

In the stretching phase, you take the target muscle from its contracted position to an extended, stretched position while gently resisting the stretch. You also combine strength and stretch for a short burst of aerobic training.

This is difficult to explain in words, and even with the videos I found I needed to concentrate hard on which muscle was pushing, and which was pulling.

One exercise is the inner thigh routine, described as splits in the air. Lying on your back, you splay your legs as if attempting the splits, and then draw your legs together, providing resistance with your hands placed inside your knees. This works your inner thighs and your arms and shoulders. It also stretches your shoulders and back. Use your arms to gently push your resisting legs open. Because your legs are straightened, you will work your adductor longus as well as the maximus (the muscle that usually gets the workout), which helps strengthen your knees.

I found all the routines to work well. The only disappointment is that there is no single video to run you through the routine once you have mastered the individual components.