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Stretching and Flexibility

 
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phayze



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:23 pm    Post subject: Stretching and Flexibility Reply with quote

Flexibility is a pretty important part of fitness to me for a variety of reasons, so I thought I'd share a little of my research into the subject.

Firstly, Shovelgloving really pushes the limits of wrist, forearm and grip strength for me, which seems to put a fair amount of strain on the various small muscles and tendons in those areas, so I like to keep them all loose with some Aikido stretches that I picked up many years ago. I like to hold each stretch for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, gradually increasing the tension as I go. Nikyo is my favorite. Evil or Very Mad

Like many people in our modern, push-button age I spend most of my 40-hour work-week sitting at a desk, so I have a lot of problems with my trapezius muscles getting stiff from sitting improperly, slouching and bending over my keyboard/paperwork. I like to stretch them out pretty regularly like this and by "hugging myself" tightly and sort of bending my upper back forward, but keeping my lower back upright (it's difficult to describe and I can't find any pictures of it).

I also like dynamic stretching, which earns a lot of weird looks from my co-workers when I'm doing it in my cube, but it feels nice and has helped get my kicks higher, so I'm willing to deal with them. They already think I'm a bit . . . odd. That site has a lot of really good stretching advice and excellent pictorial descriptions of a huge number of stretches, both static and dynamic.

(this part will probably get cross-posted to the Everyday Systems forum) I have an alarm set on my computer to make a little sonar sound every hour to tell me get off my bony hind end and stretch for 1 or 2 minutes. Every hour it's a random muscle group or two, usually based on what feels the stiffest, what I worked out that hardest that morning, and/or what's actively hurting at the moment. I got the idea from an ergonomist that I met at a health and safety conference in May. Regular, frequent stretching is great for the muscles, stimulates circulation and improves productivity. Best of all, 2 minutes or less is pretty solidly schedulistically insignificant, so you don't have to feel like you're taking time out of your day to do it. Just make sure your coworkers can't see if you're the type to get self-conscious. Wink

Kind of a random point to bring it all together, but there's a lot of talk among fitness gurus that stretching during and after a good workout increases strength gains by 20-30% by spreading the new muscle growth over a larger area and avoiding short, bulky muscle fibers. There's a lot of talk about static stretching being useless or even dangerous when done before a workout - I think it's because the muscles stretch better when "warm" because there's increased blood flow through them, so I usually do some dynamic stuff before doing statics.

This has gotten a lot longer than I meant for it to, so let's make it your turn: What do you do stay limber?
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VanillaGorilla



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 145
Location: MA Chapter Of The BLS

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There's a lot of talk about static stretching being useless or even dangerous when done before a workout - I think it's because the muscles stretch better when "warm" because there's increased blood flow through them, so I usually do some dynamic stuff before doing statics.
I've always avoided stretching too much because I always heard of stuff like this. That it was useless and could hinder strength gains in some areas. Plus, I just don't like doing it, really. Laughing

However...I must admit this portion of the post piques my interest:

Quote:
Kind of a random point to bring it all together, but there's a lot of talk among fitness gurus that stretching during and after a good workout increases strength gains by 20-30% by spreading the new muscle growth over a larger area and avoiding short, bulky muscle fibers.

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phayze



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've been really interested in the idea, too. There are a lot of "fitness myths" floating around so it's difficult to know what to make of it. Regardless, my own experience has shown me that it's much more productive, flexibility-wise. to stretch after a workout and between sets than to stretch beforehand. I couldn't say if it's caused and great increase in my strength because I don't have a basis for comparison, but it does make sense.

Agility is a major factor in my theatrical combat style, so my main reason for stretching is to really emphasize that. I'm not nearly as agile as I want to be, but I don't have enough faith in my upper body strength to hold me up for any of the cool stuff. I expect, though, that my faith will improve over the next few months . . . Wink
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gratefuldeb67



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 6169
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Phayze and VG!

Just a quick few comments here...

Firstly, Aikido is very cool!
I use a few of those stretches you mentioned, Phayze, for after I do massage.. Probably would be good before too, but after is when I really need them!

What post exercise stretching does is definitely very important for muscle strength... This is because when you have a tight muscle, that is shortened and contracted, it tends to stay that way... I can't go into too much of a long lesson in muscle physiology, but there are "organelles" within the tissue (Golgi Tendon Organs, and Muscle "spindles" and stretch receptors) which, unless signalled, through a slow, stretch, will tend to keep the muscle in a sorta contracted state.. Even after you have finished working out..

When a muscle stays contracted or semi contracted, it develops trigger points.. When a trigger point is present, it will, very substantially, lessen the potential strength of a muscles contraction under load..
In other words, in your next workout, if there's a trigger point there somewhere, your muscles will not be as strong.... The full potential to contract won't be there unless you can lessen the tonicity of the muscle...

Stretching the muscle resets the spindles and lengthens the muscle and reduces tonicity, which then helps to deactivate trigger points (which left on their own, without stretching or direct massage, will just keep on contracting indefinitely..)
So it's very good to do post exercise stretches if you want to maintain your muscles full contractile strength and get the most out of your next session...

Did any of that make sense?
LOL...

Peace and Love,
Cool Debs
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phayze



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you overworked my sparse knowledge of biology a bit, but it all made perfect sense to me! Thanks for helping clear that up, Deb! Very Happy
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VanillaGorilla



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
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Location: MA Chapter Of The BLS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, Deb! I have heard stuff like that before (I think...lol), but have a hard time making heads or tails of some of it. The price of being a lowly gorilla, I guess. Laughing

Regarding "fitness myths"....

It seems that for every one out there, there is one to debunk it. I guess the best thing is trial and error and finding what works best for each of us.
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gratefuldeb67



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the simple version:

Tight muscles don't work as efficiently, both in terms of range of motion, and in terms of contractile strength, as relaxed muscles...

There!
LOL..
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VanillaGorilla



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
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Location: MA Chapter Of The BLS

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THAT even a simian can understand. Laughing
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GanarLtd



Joined: 11 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great information. Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
Loans To Start a Business
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