Parents Hands on stretching

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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2012
My 5 yr old boy goes to gym once a week. He is naturally very stong and coaches are now hands on with strecthing him. He has little to no flexibility but lots of strength and skills. My 5yr old is really focussing on the strecthing and starting to not want to go. He cried last week when he was being strecthed and found the hands on strecthing really difficult. He really has a long way to go for flexibility.

Any advice on how to manage this with him? He loves gym but hates the pain of being pushed down. He's only 5 and I want him to enjoy it but I understand the need for him to be more flexibile to prevent injury and be capable of more moves when he is older.

Is being pushed the only way to improve flexibility in stiff kids or are there any other ways, or do they just not get it naturally. I'm not sure if hard and fast is better than slow and gradual and as a parent it's really hard to watch your child in pain but I really don't want to not watch him and not be there for him.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you
Since your boy only goes once per week, some more frequent stretching at home might help. Stretching only once per week it will be hard to improve flexibility, you want to be doing it at least 3 times per week. It doesn't have to be painful, but there is usually some discomfort in a stretch. With more frequent stretching, the discomfort tends to reduce over time (and eventually it starts to feel good, honest).

Is being pushed the only way to improve flexibility in stiff kids or are there any other ways

The pushing never worked well for my DD (in fact being pushed resulted in a hamstring injury), so we have found other ways to improve her flexibility (we have been seeing a St John Neuromuscular therapist). As well as stretching techniques, there are also some massage techniques that can help flexibility. Sometimes the restriction is not actually in the muscles being stretched. For example, poor pike flexibility could be from tight hamstrings, but could also be restricted by tension in the neck, back, or calves. Poor bridge flexibility could be from tight shoulders, but could also be restricted by abdominal and pectoral muscles. Look up Lisa Howell's videos on YouTube for a start - she is an Australian dance physiotherapist who has a lot of interesting techniques for improving flexibility.
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My ds (6) hates the stretching too. He loves gym but the stretching came as a shock to him and he didn't want to go because of it. His friend did quit because he hated it and used to cry. I told the coach and they have stopped pushing him on the agreement that he tries harder himself and is less "resistant" to working his splits in class and practices at home when he can. I'm hoping that when he sees the other boys getting stretched and dealing with it maybe he'll give it another go in time...hoping but not hopeful!
Tell the coaches. They won't force him and can change things. Maybe try some time together doing a yoga DVD which will have gentler stretches and he can see you working to improve as well.
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I can suggest exercises to be done at home that provide results without pain. They require a partner/helper and take about 10 to 20 minutes daily depending on how many exercises you choose to do.

Message me for details if your son wants to spend that amount of time on them, and has a person who can be the helper.
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