The video is hard to watch. Even as the teen screamed, she’s held down and forced to hold the position.
Co-owner of LA Athletics, Jimbo Gravois, said as a cheer coach it was emotional to see a student in agony. But Gravois also said that type of stretching, called static stretching, isn’t unheard of. “It’s an old way of doing stretching,”
He said years ago, it was thought that if you held static stretches long enough, you’d become more flexible. But Gravois said techniques evolved when research showed forced stretching could cause long term damage.
“Research has shown there’s a better way of doing it. It’s coming around, slowly but surely people are starting to adapt to new ways but that is, unfortunately, things that people still do,” Gravois said.
Now coaches use dynamic stretching. “You have to understand these kids, they’re muscle composition and if they’ve had 10 hours in the gym versus 10 years in the gym. Their bodies are going to be composed in a different way,” explains Gravois.
He said these newer techniques also achieve more flexibility but it won’t’ happen overnight.
Gravois believes the viral video could be used as a teaching tool for coaches who might need to educate themselves on updated techniques that will achieve the same goal. “I really do think it’s actually great that the light was kind of shined and so now people are paying more attention.”
“Condition is most important and then condition again because the stronger the athletes are, the safer they and the better they all perform in the long run,” said Gravois.