Stretching Your Second Heart – Nic Bartolotta
Injury Prevention Through DCT
Have you ever found yourself taking inspired action towards a new workout program or training regimen, only to wind up succumbing to an injury that keeps you from progressing? Have you ever been curious as to why some people get injured far more than others?
Exercise scientists and anatomists have been writing for centuries about the power of exercise as medicine, not only for cardiovascular heath, optimal strength, and blood circulation, but essentially for a better quality of life, supported through a body that can withstand the demands of our modern, sedentary, and even sometimes even over-trained population.
In the USA, where desk posture and upper cross syndrome are affecting millions of men and women every year, what are the fundamentals we can all do at any age or athletic ability to progress our training, flexibility, and fortify our muscles to prevent injury?
Today on the podcast, we're learning about a training technique called DCT or Dynamic Contraction Technique, that addresses these questions and much more from our friend, Licensed Physical Therapist and Founder of The National Resistance Stretching Association, Nic Bartolotta.
We're delving into new topics like flexibility vs. flex-ability, how to properly train our muscles using eccentric loading, and why Nic believes from working with thousands of clients and some of the top stars in the NBA that we all have what he calls a “second heart” in our lower extremities, and what stretching this second heart can do for our overall movement quality and wellness.
If you've ever had an injury or circulation issue that sidelined you on your wellness journey, or if you've been looking for a way to build up the proper range of motion without compensating your joints, this is going to be an insightful and thought provoking episode.
Be sure to listen until the end of the show where Nic discusses how to train flexibility using the ProFlex and RolFlex, and listen as he uncovers the most common mistakes that people make when training flexibility in new exercise programs.
He'll also finally answer the question that so many fitness pros have debated for years:
When exactly is the best time to stretch? And his answers may surprise you.
Stretching Your Second Heart
Can stretching mean more to our health than just something we do to warm up, cool down, or relax the body?
When was the last time you took time out of your day to focus on your body and stretch? Whether you constantly work out, have an active job, or work all day at a desk, stretching has this incredible power to heal our bodies.
At the age of 19, Nic Bartolotta was simply told by doctors that after years of gymnastics and diving, there was no more cartilage in his left knee and therefore no solution to his injury. However, Nic didn't believe that was possible and turned to both alternative medicine and resistance training to help him fix his knee. With passion and continuous persistence, Nic is changing the way we see stretching and physical therapy.
On today's episode of Wellness Force Radio, Nic will share with us how proper stretching, leg movements, and exercise can help power the “second heart” in our calf muscles aka the soleus muscle.
Get ready to heal, relax, and strengthen your body through restrictive stretching.
Listen to Episode 113 as Nic Uncovers:
- How his personal background became a huge part of developing his professional career in alternative medicine and resistance training.
- The challenge to find the right answers in order to fix Nic's knee.
- Common misconceptions about what stretching actually is and how to properly do it.
- What is DCT and what are the benefits?
- What is myofascia and how can a massage heal other parts of the body because it connects every tissue of the body.
- Which stretches can affect the myofascia or general muscles?
- The difference between the fascial tension and muscle tension.
- Why the calf and the lower leg is considered “the second heart” of the body.
- How to reach out to a professional to help you with restrictive stretching and DCT.
- What you can do on your own to improve your restrictive stretching and DCT ability.
- The wide use of DCT tools like the ProFlex even among professional basketball players.
- Flexibility vs Flex-Ability: what's the difference and how does Flex-Ability apply to everyone?
- What creates knots and muscle tension in our bodies?
- Common mistakes people make when beginning a new exercise.
- When is the best time to stretch?
DCT ProFlex Indiegogo Campaign Video
Top 3 Takeaways From The Show
- Physical movement throughout the day is important to ensure that we're pumping blood from our calves (the soleus muscle) back to our heart. Every time you run, jog, or just walk, you're working your second heart.
- If we can learn how to treat our injuries on our own with different tools on a daily basis, this can be more efficient than going to see a physical therapist several times a week. Not that we don't need to see a specialist if we do have an injury, but it's so beneficial to our overall health when we have the ability to know what our bodies want and need.
- Passive stretching is not as beneficial for our bodies as we might have once believed. What's better for our bodies is active stretching and always feeling at least a bit of tension in our muscles when we stretch.
Power Quotes From Nic Bartolotta
- “When I initially started to work with clients, they would come in with all of these beliefs about muscle tension and stretching. Through this dialogue process, I would show and prove to them what stretching is supposed to feel like and what's possible in the body. After explaining all of that to them, they could never go back again to their original thoughts about stretching.” – Nic Bartolotta on helping his clients to better understand the process of stretching through DCT.
- “Most people believe that stretching is supposed to be painful and that the sharp pain you feel when you relax into a stretch is what you're supposed to accomplish. However, when you resist with a muscle during the stretch and you don't relax, the muscle actually protects you from that pain. That pain is your guideline for how far you should go during the stretch.” – Nic Bartolotta on common misconceptions about stretching.
- “With this understanding of how tension can affect blood circulation, you can turn your attention towards what it takes to mitigate problems and injuries.” – Nic Bartolotta from his article, Stretching Your Second Heart
- “The calf or the lower leg is full of capillary beds and vascular veins so when you walk, jog, or run, the soleus muscle in your calf is pumping blood out of your legs and into your heart.” – Nic Bartolotta on why the calf muscle, the soleus, is like our second heart.
- “If a person has edema, all they have to do is pump their ankles a bit to get the blood in the soleus muscle circulating again. However, if the soleus is so restricted with fascial or muscle tension, it won't be able to pump blood to the heart and that's when we want to use restrictive stretching and exercise.” – Nic Bartolotta on what can happen if the soleus muscle is restricted and how restrictive stretching and exercise can help.
- “With the word, “flexibility,” people think of someone who can lengthen their muscles or be able to do the splits. However, if we break up the word and change it into “flex-ability,” flex means to flex or to shorten a muscle. The ability to be able to flex a muscle is actually far more important than the ability to lengthen a muscle.” – Nic Bartolotta on the difference between Flexibility and Flex-Ability.
- “We can avoid traumatic injuries by looking at which joints need to flex and shorten versus which muscles need to lengthen and we get far more results when we do that.” – Nic Bartolotta on the importance of joint flexing vs. muscle lengthening.
- “Going to physical therapy two or three times a week is good, but to learn how to do certain things on your own and to be able to do them a couple of times a day, is how you're really going to change your body.” – Nic Bartolotta on the power of taking change into your own hands to heal your body.
- “Passive stretching is absolutely something that should never be down before or after stretching. You should never completely relax a muscle into a stretch. You should always hold at least a little bit of tension in the muscle because that's going to tell you whether or not you're beyond your range of motion. If you can't contract a muscle, you shouldn't be in that position in the first place. “ – Nic Bartolotta on how we should be stretching and how to do know if we're doing it right.
- “If I can go out there and change one person's perspective on health, than I can affirm with myself that I'm doing the right thing.” – Nic Bartolotta's personal mantra.
About Nic Bartolotta
Nic Bartolotta is the founder of the national resistance stretching association, and is a licensed physical therapist and holistic health practitioner specially trained as a flexibility and myofascial release expert. He is the co-founder of Range of Motion Products, maker of the Rolflex, and the creator of Dynamic Contraction Technique (DCT).
Nic got his start in alternative health as an injured athlete when he was 19, and fell in love with the profession and successfully resolved his own knee injury in 2001. So for the past 17 years plus, Nic has dedicated his life to learning about the body and pushing the limits of human performance by applying the principals of DCT to his own training and that of his clients and patients, including NBA favorites from the LA Lakers, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and others
Discover The Rolflex For Myofascial Release
Resources Mentioned by Nic & Josh
- Find out more about Nic Bartolotta and his work
- Connect with Nic and DCT ProFlex via:
- Learn more about the Dynamic Contraction Technique (DCT)
- Buy your own DCT products
- Purchase the DCT ProFlex
- Check out the RolFlex
- Connect with RolFlex on Twitter
- Join the National Resistance Stretching Association
- Listen to Nic's Keynote Speech on Optimizing Flex-Ability
- Find out more about the Meridian Flexibility System
- Read The Genius of Flexibility by Bob Cooley
- Read Nic's articles:
- Check out Nic's interview in the blog post Resistance Stretching: The PT That Fixed My Screwed Up Neck
- Read Nic's article on Breaking Muscle: Prevention and Treatment of IT Band Syndrome
- Watch What the Bleep do We Know?
- Learn more about Buckminster Fuller
- Find out more about NBA Trainer Gary Vitti
- Check out Johnny Blackburn
- Learn more about Dr. Stephen M Levin and Biotensegrity
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About The Author, Lauren Bryant, Podcast Production
is the Podcasting Assistant and Show Notes Writer for Wellness Force Radio. She has a BBA in both Marketing and Spanish for Business as well as certificates in Advanced Business Communications and International Business from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Lauren’s wellness journey began at a young age when she joined her local YMCA swim team, The Wave, of La Crosse, WI. One of the most profound views on wellness that anyone has said to her was when she was an assistant swim coach for that same YMCA swim team.
One day during a practice, former head swim coach, Jon Brenner, shared with her that the most important thing about coaching the swimmers was that “It doesn’t matter if they become the best athletes in the world. What’s important is that we give them the tools and guidance they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”
Since hearing those words, she has taken it to heart to not only focus on continuously living her own healthy lifestyle, but to help others pursue their wellness goals as well.
Lauren’s not only an avid swimmer, but a fan of running, yoga, cooking, and doing any activity outside that involves being surrounded by nature. In the Fall of 2014, she completed a long-awaited goal of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.