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Fitness Wisdom Wednesday – Dangerous Stretching?

Ahhh stretching…the one thing we know we should do but don’t often spare enough time for while we’re rushing in and out of the gym, or on/off your Total Gym at home! We barely make enough time for exercise – how are we supposed to squeeze in stretching? You’ve also probably heard conflicting advice on when is the best time to stretch: before or after a workout? Well, the quick and dirty of it is that stretching is important, so make the time!

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), recent research shows that stretching before a workout when your muscles are cold could be dangerous. And for those of us that only remember stretches that we learned in high school P.E. class could be hurting ourselves with prehistoric, static stretches! In fact, research shows that holding a stretch without movement before exercise could lead to muscle strains and pulls.

Click here for more information about safe stretching from the fitness experts at ACE.

The unique thing about Total Gym is it’s the only machine where you can both stretch AND strengthen muscles while you’re working out. Watch the video below to see sample stretches on Total Gym. Our experience in the rehab market over the past 35 years tells you we know a thing or two about safe stretching:

Cassie is the Communications Manager for efi Sports Medicine/Total Gym and a published fitness writer. Her “Fitness Wisdom Wednesday” posts appear twice a month on Total Gym Inside. Leave a comment below with suggestions for future posts.


Total Gym and the Shoulder

This post was written by Susan Joseph P.T., a GRAVITY Instructor and physical therapist based in Orlando. She has worked in hospitals, home health, spinal cord injury and outpatient rehab. She recently opened Coreworks Pilates (, offering Post Rehab Pilates, Group Equipment and Mat Classes and Personal Training.

I am a physical therapist of many years, and one of my secret weapons is the Total Gym. I shoulder_pain_dyndo primarily Outpatient Rehab. Working in a small setting I have really had to make use of the space. The Total Gym really helps me do this well.

When I get a patient with a shoulder injury and we are ready for neuromuscular reeducation the Total Gym is my first choice. Starting out supine working towards sitting, and kneeling, the number of exercises and the changes in planes allow for a first class treatment. I like to start with really light resistance at a low level working combination rotational movements to improve flexibility.

Then I begin to move the patient through many of the Pilates exercises such as Saw, Scarecrow, Thoracic Lift with a Pull Up, Thoracic Twist, Swan Dive 1 & 2, Crouching Tiger. These are just the beginning and help to build stability in the upper back and shoulders.

To develop specific shoulder strength  shoulder flexion, abduction, internal and external rotation can each be addressed individually. Patients move from supine to prone, then to sitting and finally to kneeling. Resistance can also be changed by changing the levels on the tower.

Patients like the fact that they can start with an easy exercise and continue to do the same exercise and see progress as they move with confidence to do more resistance by just changing the position of the Total Gym, or their position on the equipment. I also find that the combination workouts train not only the shoulder muscles but all the support and core muscles that allow for smooth control of shoulder movements.

By the time patients are ready for discharge, they feel confident, having been challenged to try all movements relative to their job requirements and activities of daily living. I find patients easily transition back to their everyday activities with the help of the Total Gym.

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