Resistance Stretching

Contract your muscles while stretching them and get a workout worthy of an Olympian

Illustration by Mark Matcho for TIME

One of Dara Torres' trainers is walking all over me. Literally. I'm lying on my stomach as Steve Sierra concentrates his entire 160 lb. (75 kg) on my glutes and hamstrings. It hurts, but in a good way.

It's all part of the flexibility- and strength-building regimen that Torres, who is making history as the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics, credits with getting her 41-year-old body in good-enough shape to race athletes half her age. But resistance stretching, as it is called, is not just for the Olympians among us. Its focus on maximizing muscle flexibility has been useful...

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