Last Updated on November 21, 2008 by Jimson Lee
Last year, Dara Torres’s comeback at the age of 40 was the talk of the swimming world. Now that she has earned a spot on her 5th Olympiad (and let’s not forget she retired twice and did not compete in 1996 and 2004) at the age of 41, she will be under the microscope from her Speedo swimsuits, supplements, and even her religious Resistance Stretching routine.
What the heck is Resistance Stretching?
Resistance Stretching is based on a book by Bob Cooley, “The Genius of Flexibility: The Smart Way to Stretch and Strengthen Your Body”
There no doubt that this book, the concepts, her endorsements and testimonials to Innovative Body Solutions will skyrocket based on her performances in Beijing.
In USA, The Genius of Flexibility: The Smart Way to Stretch and Strengthen Your Body
In Canada, The Genius of Flexibility: The Smart Way to Stretch and Strengthen Your Body
Here is a quick product review of the book:
After a life-threatening accident, Cooley developed a series of 16 resistance stretches that he says gave his body a degree of flexibility that far surpassed his pre-accident levels. Cooley explains that program here, organizing the stretches into four difficulty levels and addressing personality traits, since, he says, stretching certain muscles can affect nonphysical areas in one’s life.
Once he used the program to heal himself, Cooley began to work with professional athletes and others suffering from injuries, including Olympic gold medal swimmer Dara Torres. While these athletes’ testimonies and Cooley’s own enthusiasm for his subject are inspiring, the principles he describes will be “familiar and hardly groundbreaking” to yoga students.
Cooley’s more direct approach and language, however, will appeal to those who find cues in yoga class too subtle or unclear.
The chapter on adjusting the intensity level of stretches for maximum benefit without overstretching will be particularly useful, as will the charts listing physiological, spiritual, emotional and psychological concerns and associated stretches; organic meal plans; and an extensive resource list.
A Stretch with Dara Torres Video
Here is a 3 minute video on YouTube that you may wish to fast forward the first minute. However, it doesn’t go in detail on her stretching routine; you just see her getting stretched.
More on Dara Torres
Here is a good read from the June 29 magazine of The NY Times.
Torres’s retinue includes a head coach, a sprint coach, a strength coach, two stretchers, two masseuses, a chiropractor and a nanny, at the cost of at least $100,000 per year.
After her swim, Torres returned to her hotel to eat lunch, nap and tear two LZR swimsuits worth $1,000. Speedo failed to send Torres’s size, 27 long, and suggested she squeeze into 26 regular. Then she headed back to the aquatic center in the late afternoon. Gone was the morning’s big smile. Torres was now 149 pounds of focus. Her body kept warm in a knit cap and Ugg boots, she lay on a yoga mat in the gymnasium, readying herself for the preliminaries of the 50-meter freestyle. Most swimmers prep for races by pinwheeling their arms and trying to relax. For Torres, the chore is far more elaborate, as her two stretchers work in tandem to contort and flex her body, in a 20-minute pre-swim version of the two-hour sequence they do three times a week at her home.
Swimmers refer to the 50-meter freestyle as “the splash and dash”. You dive, hit the water, go all out for about 20 seconds and then reach for the wall. In the preliminaries, Torres streaked down the pool in 24.89 seconds, placing second behind the 22-year-old Kara Lynn Joyce. She was pleased with her performance.
The next morning, back at the aquatic center for the finals, Torres appeared more interior. As her stretchers made last-minute adjustments, during competitions they stretch her five times a day as she stared at the ceiling, listening to her iPod. Up on the blocks, Torres looked taller and fitter than the seven other women, who were between 12 and 20 years her junior. Torres dried her block with a towel, bent down to start and this time touched the wall in 24.85 seconds, just ahead of Natalie Coughlin and again behind Joyce.
Great training and regeneration insight on Dara Torres. Now, how do the rest of us expect to have the time and money to be stretched like pizza dough everyday? Damn, are we compelled to buy the book now?
Jimson Lee says
@Fred- yes, we have a hard time trying to fund our physio, chiro, ART, and massage services for our Track team.
That, plus travel expenses, account for 90% of our budget.
Our coaches usually end up doing the massage.
I guess I’m fortunate after all as I only have myself and my non-competetive training to consider. Things apparently haven’t changed since I first read Charlie Francis’ training book a while back. What about incorporating interns like many production companies do in this town? Also, the nursing programs in California require students to volunteer for 2 years at the local hospitals while going to class. Maybe you could steal a couple of bodies by offering accreditation for pre-physio students.
Jimson Lee says
@Fred – yes, we try to use interns from the WCCMT (West Coast College of Massage Therapy).
Charlie used to massage his own athletes in his early days as a coach. Even when he was a National coach, he would massage other athletes when Traveling overseas.