What is the significance of the numbers 1-4 on the One Stretch device and why is the 4 in the opposite direction of the other numbers? This question is one of the most common we get at One Stretch.
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the numbers on the One Stretch. No doubt I would also be confused if I had not invented the One Stretch. Looking back at the designing process, I honestly wish I would have never put the numbers on the device. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time. None the less, the numbers are on there, so let me explain their significance.
The purpose of the numbers, 1 through 4, are nothing more than general points of reference when you are stretching. In the simplest thinking, stretching on the curve opposite number 1 is the mildest stretch and flip the One Stretch around and you get the biggest stretch opposite number 4 and so forth. Aligning oneself precisely opposite the number 2 or 3 everyday, for instance, is not the intention. Knowing that the curve opposite number 3 is a more intense stretch than number 2 is what counts.
Interestingly, in my efforts to make sure everyone had a clear understanding of the curve and what it does, I am certain I grossly underestimated people’s ability to look at that curve and “get it”. As a result, people stop and think “hum….what are these numbers for? There must be some specific, crucial plan intended here with these numbers?” Nope, there is no cryptic objective and you are not missing anything. I would compare this situation to applying relative numbers to the accelerator pedal of a car, when simple logic or instinct will do. In fact all the numbers do is make us question what we instinctively already figured out: depress the accelerator pedal harder, and the car goes faster.
There is not a specific set position to start stretching, as all people are at different fitness and flexibility levels. Once you have found a position that provides a good stretch, you can work to improve from there.
Some people like to track their improvement, looking at their progress from position 1 to 2 and then to position 3 over time. This is great. Others, just like to hop up onto the device and settle into their stretch no matter the number, and this also works well. Feeling the intensity of the stretch is really where one gets the work done, not a specific number. The biggest thing that we want to accomplish is improved flexibility in your calves, and being compliant with your stretching so you can accomplish your goal.
Finally, there is position 4, another point of confusion that we commonly get questions about. Position 4 acts more or less like a step and some people like to use this side, and that is all personal preference. We tend to advise people to stay on the larger curved side of the device, positions 1-3. In almost all cases the intensity of the calf stretch is actually better low on the 1-2-3 side opposite the 3. The real problem with the number 4 side is some of us feel compelled to “move fast” and have a need to get to that number 4 position. We might even feel inadequate because we might never get to the 4 side. In fact, most of us should just stay on the 1-2-3 side. The intent here is not to strive to get to number 4, but to stretch your calves the best way possible, which happens to be on the larger curved 1-2-3 side for most of us.
Let us know what works best for you. What is your experience? And can your knowledge help others get more from the One Stretch? For more information on the numbers and the stretching protocol that we recommend, click here.