Have you ever seen someone sprawled out at the gym? A trainer stretching them like a pretzel after a workout? Or maybe you’ve noticed massive football players on the sidelines getting an aggressive stretch before the game? It turns out this service isn’t just available to elite athletes or those who can afford personal training sessions. I recently discovered that there are places where mere mortals (like me) can get stretched out just like the pros. See, I somehow got talked into attempting to summit Kilimanjaro. As a mere mortal in preparation for this feat, I’m on an active search for anything that will improve my resilience, flexibility and endurance. Basically, I want to suffer less and actually enjoy the journey. It’s always a challenge to make time to work out and train but in my quest, I discovered StretchLab, a new business that extols the benefits of taking time (like actually making an appointment) to be deliberate about stretching, something that most of us do in a rush after a workout, if at all.
Knowing I could use some help, I visited the Sugar House studio (there are multiple locations) and had a session with Amber Alizondo, a “flexologist.” After a tour of the modern space, I was led to “the machine” (AKA a TRX MAPS). The device analyzed my movement while I performed three body-weight squats. There’s no judgment here. It’s just a benchmark of your strength and flexibility that will help you see progress (hopefully). The machine identified areas where I could improve in mobility, activation, posture and symmetry. I like measuring things and appreciated a way to see progress other than just checking for how I feel afterward.
Score in hand, Amber and I talked about my future fitness goals. With Kilimanjaro looming in my brain, we went to one of the stretch tables and got to work. I had a head-to-toe deep stretch. I can most definitely say she found the areas that need attention! “It’s all in the hips,” she chided as pulled me around like taffy. After one session, I was able to tell that assisted stretching has benefits. Like most runners and cyclists, I’m generally tight in the hips and she shared ways for me to alleviate that between sessions.
The StretchLab has a variety of stretching services to accommodate all ages and fitness levels. There are one-on-one and group-assisted sessions and a variety of membership options. StretchLab also trains its ‘flexologists’ with extensive classroom work. What I liked most about the experience was the focus it gave me on this often overlooked (or ignored) part of my fitness routine. Actually, going to the studio, and taking the time to concentrate on mobility and flexibility along with Amber’s expert advice and guidance was hugely appealing. I’ll be back.
IF YOU GO: StretchLab Sugar House (additional locations in Park City, Midvale, Bountiful, Farmington and St. George) 675 E. 2100 South, SLC 385-722-4656, stretchlab.com
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