Friday, August 1, 2008

Meridian Stretching

With the upcoming Olympic Games, I can't help but be in awe of Dana Torres, who at 41 years of age is again in the hunt for medals. Read her amazing testimonial about meridian stretching, a technique developed by Bob Cooley.

After 3 Olympics Games (winning 2 Golds, a Sliver and a Bronze), retiring from the sport after the 92 Olympics, and not swimming for seven years after that, I got the itch to give swimming another shot. I was 32 years old (which is ancient in swimming terms), but my heart was telling me to give it another try.

All I wanted to do was to be an alternate on the 2000 Olympic team so I could say I made a 4th Olympic Team. No American had ever swum in 4 Olympics so I knew outsider's looking in would think I was a long shot and absolutely nuts to try this. But it was my dream and I wasn't going to let anyone tell me I couldn't follow my dream, or at least attempt to.

So, I began intensive weight training, bicycle and running aerobic training, and massive pool workouts. I had a lot of catching up to do after having been out of the pool for 7 years. But, I was really having a problem with my body being extremely tight, especially my shoulders from the added 20lbs I had gained in the first 5 months of training. I had a lot of specialists helping me in my Olympic Quest, and I tried Pilates and stretched on my own, but nothing seemed to help until I met Bob Cooley. Without the flexibility training that Bob developed for me, I could have never accomplished the 5 Olympic medals I won in Sydney. This program literally transformed my body into an elite bio-mechanical swimming machine. His Resistance Stretching technique and The Meridian Flexibility System were my secret weapon to changing my first goal of making my 4th Olympic Team as an alternate, to being so successful at the Summer Games. Other swimmers would see me being stretched by Bob at meets and they all wanted a part of it. In fact, every athlete that I asked Bob to help with their flexibility also won Olympic Gold Medals. On a more personal note, though I have a hard time trying to express what I’m about to say, I know that Bob’s program single handedly developed me psychologically in very specific ways. With this mental edge, I felt personally unbelievable. There was no part of me that wasn’t improved. The wild thing about all this, is that Bob knew exactly what he was doing. Everyday he did different things to me. No matter what training I was doing, the stretching always made me feel like a million bucks. The joke on the deck’ was that the last person that was cared for and educated this way was the Last Emperor of China. I have never felt so good and laughed so much in my whole life. He has helped me set the stage for the rest of my life. What he has figured out about stretching no one knows yet. The world will give Bob the Gold.
-Dana Torres

I wonder how many of our distance runners are aware of this technique?

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