Stretch or Die at Bootcamp!

Hey all, hope you are all well!

Well… funny word, the base of the word wellness. Wellness of which can be defined as a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit resulting in an overall feeling of well-being and bootcamp awesomeness.

Key word to wellness is balance.

So what do you define as your ultimate wellness???

To me, it certainly wouldn’t involve feeling pain in my shoulder or lower back….

And although I can do 40 pullups in a row and have visible abs, I feel that unless I can walk around pain free, then I am lacking true wellness.


I mean, you can put it off right? Because what happens when we don’t stretch?

Honestly? Nothing. For a while.

  • Just more time to get strong.
  • Just more time to get lean.
  • Just more time to improve good and bad cholesterol

But stronger muscles are more unyielding and they pull our body out of it’s natural and neutral position.

See below:


Which one are you?

Before the picture, I said stronger muscles are more unyielding and pull our body out of it’s natural and neutral position.

And that means we can start to lose our natural range of movement. This is reinforced by sitting all day which tightens up the iliacus and psoas (hip flexors) and pulls the pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt (causing that exagerated arch in your lower back). Our posture goes to hell in a hand basket and we start to ache. Calves, hamstrings, and adductors (inner thigh muscle) also tighten up. We start to lose the natural curvature of the spine and eventually, under heavy load goes the lower back and POW…chronic pain. This could happen anywhere, lifting up your kids, lifting stuff at work, doing deadlifts at bootcamp…

And that’s the last thing we want to deal with when we are exercising hard at bootcamp, setting personal bests, and becoming an overall fitness machine.

#BEMachine. That’s for you twitter folk.
Maybe I’ll make a shirt that says that (post below if that interests you… #sidenote – I’m seriously not a fan of twitter at all – this was inspired by a late show skit…)

I’m serious about the shirts though…

There’s no BEMachine with chronic injury. Machines don’t deal with chronic ailments, they feel no pain and do their job.

So don’t go chronic at bootcamp. Read this!

Any ache and pain, anything attributed to “old age”, any soreness or chronic injury can be reversed and fixed by improving flexbility and mobility!!!! If you lack flexibility or mobility then that is a glaring weakness and an area where you are susceptible to injury.

So why aren’t you stretching more?

I’m always preaching it! Always saying feel free to hang out and do more stretching after the workout!

Just to give you some background on me, I didn’t work my chest or shoulders out for 2 years in my mid 20’s to get rid of a shoulder pain. 2 YEARS!!! IN MY 20’s!!! No bench press, shoulder press, pushups, db raises, etc… I didn’t do this because I felt that pain in the front of the shoulder, and had chronic knots in my lats, and was way too tight in my chest muscles.

You know why right? I never stretched. I was hell bent on getting results and was a student sitting down all day further making the situation worse… I created chronic pain…

I went to health specialists…

I was told to activate these small back muscles and shoulder blade stabilizers which should fix it (didn’t fix it as the tight muscles were too tight and overpowered any activation of these smaller weaker muscles!), I went to see chiros, physios, massage therapists, naturopaths, orthopaedic surgeons, mrt specialists, rolfers…

You know what fixed it?

Stretching my chest and doing more rows…

And you know what pain I am talking about don’t you…

I’m talking about that creaking in the shoulder joint and that uncomfortable pain on the front of the shoulder, the chronic knots in the trap muscles, the feeling that something isn’t right in the shoulder, the chronic fatigue…

YEP, all that. Fixed by stretching on a regular basis. I wish someone would have stressed this to me more when I was younger.

If you are currently seeing a health practitioner, whether it be a chiro, physio, or massage therapist, and you are not feeling better after a few treatments, then you should reconsider seeing a different practitioner. Find the right person to treat your body.

If you don’t want to go see someone, THE GOOD NEWS IS YOU HAVE THE POWER TO FIX YOU.

If you have a tight muscle, you can foam roll it shortly for any knots, stretch it (at least 2 mins), then activate the antagonist muscle (the opposing muscle group), as this will help in establishing a better position and improving posture. This is a great thing to do before workouts.

Here’s a few common antagonists and what you can do with them…
Stretch chest/work back (trx rows)
Stretch hip flexors/work glutes (hip extension hold)
Stretch biceps/work triceps (skull crusher)
Stretch quads/work hamstrings (1 leg hip extension)

A quick aside about foam rolling…

It’s not nearly as important as stretching, not even close, foam rolling is like spraying water on a fire, stretching is preventing the fire from ever occurring. Foam roll for like 20 secs to get rid of knots then stretch! If you are lacking flexibility at any joint and doing these hard as heck boot camp workouts, then you are at risk of injury. If you are lacking flexibility in your lower back and hamstrings and putting the dishes aways, you are at risk for injury.

All you have to do is hang out 10 mins extra after a session and stretch more! The Bootcamp Effect coaches are more than happy to help you with any questions.

If you have any questions about certain areas, please post below. This is by no means an exhaustive approach to mobility, it is the bare minimum and a wake-up call to everyone to stretch or die from lack of mobility! You work out so hard and push your bodies to amazing limits, please do some extra stretching after the workouts to compensate for this effort, so you can feel, and look your best.

BE Machine,
Josh Saunders
The Bootcamp Effect

Josh Saunders is the founder of The Bootcamp Effect, an award winning health and fitness center in Langley, B.C. He is an internationally certified strength and conditioning specialist with the NSCA and holds a degree in Biology from the University of Victoria. Beginning as a certified Personal trainer and Weight trainer with BCRPA, he now holds the CrossFit level 1 certification with other certifications in progress. Josh’s passion in life is fitness and he tries to balance life by only working 12 hours a day 😉