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 Stretching: A Missing Link

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McCoy

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PostSubject: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:20 am

After reading a couple articles on DD and Pavel's Relax into Stretch as well as a piece from PTTP, I've decided to share some of the knowledge I've collected with my fellow bar-brothers here.

The Cut and Dry Science:

While you go about life, doing daily movements, sitting in chairs for long periods of time, your CNS decides the perfect length for tendons and muscles to accommodate this movements. This, along with a decline of elasticity of tendons and muscles with age. When someone who has been affected by these things tries to perform an advanced stretching movement, like the dead splits, the nervous system shuts the movement down, freaking out thinking the body is going to harm itself by the range of movement, by tensing the muscles up.

Why do you care about flexibility?

Well, if you don't want to be stuck in a chair when you're 50 sowing knickers because you can't do anything else for lack of mobility, flexibility is for you.

Because the largest gain of muscle mass ever recorded was a result of flexibility training and stretching, or control of tension. 334% gain in mass in a bird's wing from stretching.

Because flexibility is a second function of a muscle, the other is to tense. If you only work on one (strength training), then you're missing out on the other, and they both suffer because of it. Working on both creates gains in both.

Now, the right way to stretch, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation:

Simply said, the way of stretching introduced here requires that while you are in a stretching position, you tense the muscles that you are flexing, sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for a minute or two. This brings in a muscular reflex called the Renshaw cell, which tells the muscles, which have been tensing due to nervous system resistance for fear of bodily damage, to stop tensing because you are contracting the muscle, after you release your own contraction, your muscle will be completely relaxed for a short period of time, now stretch a little bit further and repeat the process. Don't be too hasty in this process, you're not going to dip down into a full dead splits your first day. Take it slowly so your body has time to adjust, just like every other type of training.

Now, this develops a potent combination of both strength and flexibility. Most modern methods of stretching call for completely relaxed stretching, for non-committal periods of 15 to 45 seconds.

There are certain stretches that you should not use with this technique, mostly techniques that require that you already tense a muscle that you are trying to stretch to stay in the stretching position.

Additionally, you can find stretches and an advanced explanation with all the necessary science in Relax into Stretch:

rapidshare.com Pavel_Tsatsouline_-_Relax_Into_Stretch.pdf
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fkncody

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:54 am

hmmm...good read, great post man.
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Bdog



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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:40 am

Mccankles thankyou for this! I needed to read this. I used to be real flexible and now I keep slacking when it comes to stretching. I get done working out and am so ready to eat that I have been skipping it. Great read!
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Mdrop

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:44 am

bah... flexibility, my achilies heal
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McCoy

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:45 am

Mdrop wrote:
bah... flexibility, my achilies heal

I wasn't quite sure how many people worked on active flexibility on the forum so hopefully this will help.
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Mdrop

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:08 pm

McCankles wrote:
Mdrop wrote:
bah... flexibility, my achilies heal

I wasn't quite sure how many people worked on active flexibility on the forum so hopefully this will help.

I mean, i want to, but its just boring for me. Plus, i have never really read into it or seen any studies that link it to getting bigger or stranger. I guess it makes sense tho because it would increase blood flow to the areas.
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jessicajane

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:39 am

My father gave me a book on this concept... Seemed logical enough to me. But I still hate stretching!
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Kenc



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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:47 am

Hey man the link is down. Any chance of a reup? My flexibilty is terrible at the minute so this would be very useful.
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Fi

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:54 pm

Great post, and actually I was wondering today what sort of stretching you guys do. Another very good book (IMO better than Pavel's) is Stretching Scientifically by Thomas Kurtz. He too talks about isometric stretching, and gives you a routine to not only be able to do the box splits, but to be able to hold then between two chairs. I come from a martial arts background, so followed it for a while for my kicks, and I've honestly not got faster gains by any other method. It is hard and uncomfortable, but you definitely reap the rewards. You can download a video of it on the torrent sites, but you wouldn't regret buying the book.
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Fed X

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:02 pm

stretching is ABSOLUTELY critical... esp on weighted runs... you dont wanna start cramping and your 5 miles away from home wearing a vest
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freerunner

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:45 pm

I read Relax Into Stretch. It was pretty good. Now I do the side splits to build up my pain tolerance, as Pavel mentions.

But I have to disagree with the whole philosophy of stretching. Why would you want to get into a position that you wouldn't get into if you were carrying something? (like lower back stretches) I don't see a reason to train yourself to get into positions you don't use.

If you can back up the flexibility with stretgth, it's cool, though. Like doing hanging leg raises stretches your hamstrings.
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Fi

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:07 am

Quote :
But I have to disagree with the whole philosophy of stretching.

It's rare that I'm speechless, but... Surprised cyclops Question scratch

Quote :
If you can back up the flexibility with stretgth, it's cool, though.

That is the whole point of isometric stretching (what McCoy outlined, and what the book I mentioned also describes).

For example, to make a roundhouse kick stronger, you: lower yourself down in a box splits position (legs apart). You then push into the ground with your legs (let's say for 10s), then go lower. Repeat until you can't go any lower, then push and hold for 30s.

It's killer. Do it twice a week and I can tell you that it absolutely builds strength, as well as flexibility.

That said, I can also tell you that there is a place for both dynamic, static *and* isometric stretching in the training regime of ANY athlete, doing ANY sport. To dismiss it is very silly - you will lose mobility, be slower, more prone to injuries and not reap the rewards that a limber and flexible body could gain in your training.
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freerunner

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:17 pm

Phin wrote:

It's rare that I'm speechless, but... Surprised cyclops Question scratch

Haha, I know my thoughts sound weird.

There are two types of stretches I like:

1) loaded stretching (stretching with weights), and

2) active stretching (where you support your weight in a "stretching" position, like hanging leg raises or backbends, or Atlas pushups)


It's just passive stretching I don't like (and I include Iso-tension in the passive category)

I'm into freerunning, and I used to do a lot of passive stretches, but ever since I quit, I've had nothing but benefits.

I think passive stretching could help in therapy, like Icebergslim had mentioned helping relieve cramps.

Just my take. Has anyone here gotten good results from passive stretching (aside from getting better at passive stretching)?
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Fi

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PostSubject: Re: Stretching: A Missing Link   Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:32 pm

Ahh ok. I can get you on passive stretching. I think it's got a place to wind down after a hard session - to stretch out the muscles and get rid of the lactic acid build up - but that's all it's about to me - recovery. I don't expect to see any real gains from it, and I don't really get any, apart from feeling less sore the next day.

If I want to dramatically increase my flexibility I'd definitely go for isometric. I would consider hanging leg raises etc. a form of isometric I think, because there is some resistance coming from the weight of your legs, but I'm just guessing there! Smile
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