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  • I Hate Stretching

    I know I should stretch, but after a workout (elliptical and weights) I'm ready to go home. What would be a quick, easy stretching routine? If I could do two or three stretches a day, and if it didn't take longer than 5 minutes, I could probably bring myself to stick to it. BTW, I do upper and lower body on alternate days.

    Thanks. I always get the BEST fitness advice here.
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    The Donut Shop : A Cop-Friendly Forum

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  • #2
    It is a known fact that many people lack the necessary flexibility in their hips and hamstrings.This is often caused by too much sitting which can eventually "shorten" the muscles.In time, this can lead to low back pain.
    Keeping this in mind, I think many people, especially those that are prone to sitting for extended periods, should focus on hip and hamstring stretches.

    The lunge stretch, where you hold the lunge position is great for hip flexibility, as are lunges themselves.For the hamstrings, you could do a simple hurdler's stretch, where you place one leg up on a waist high object and lean forward slightly to stretch the hamstrings.Another good hamstring stretch is the bend and touch.From a standing position, bend done (while keeping an arch in the lower back) and touch your right hand to a spot 12 inches in front of your left foot.Return to the upright position and touch your left hand to a spot 12 inches in front of your right foot.Repeat back and forth for the desired amount of reps.This is what some people call and active stretch because you are not holding the position for any length of time.

    One other thing to consider is performing a quick stretch between sets for the muscle group you are working.There was a well known bodybuilder/trainer named John Parillo (sp?) who was a big advocate of this and swore by it's use.This way, you finish your strength work and flexibility work at the same time.Keep in mind that there are some studies that have shown that stretching prior to strength work can hinder your strength levels.

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    • #3
      You may be surprised to find out that...

      Stephen B. Thacker, Director of the CDC Epidemiology Program Office recently conducted a study of injury data and stretching. Basically, the conclusion was that athletes like gymnasts, dancers, and anybody else whose actual athletic activity directtly relates to extreme flexibility benefit from (and reduce injuries by) stretching before a workout.

      On the other hand, generally, stretching was found NOT to reduce the incidence of injury at all. According to them, what's much more important is doing a thorough warm-up consisting of very light movements that are exactly the same as (or very similar to) the athletic activity itself.

      They also cautioned that athletes already used to stretching before workouts should probably continue the routine to which their bodies have become accustomed. Also, the study related to stretching and injury prevention; it doesn't negate the fact that flexibility is important in general, as you pointed out, in connection with low back pain and sedentary jobs, etc.
      Last edited by ProWriter; 02-11-2005, 06:06 PM.
      No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.

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      • #4
        If you have the discipline to train your muscles then I'm sure you could live through the stretching phase. Just convince yourself that the stretch is part of the workout and if you leave without doing it, then your cutting your workouts short.

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        • #5
          I do a quick stretch before workouts, and stretch while sitting at home doing nothing
          We don't need no stinking badges!

          If there ain't no waves, you ain't rowing!

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          • #6
            Flexibility training is the red-headed step child of most people's exercise programs (including mine until a couple of years ago) - most people either give it very little attention, or skip it altogether.

            There are multiple advantages to increasing your range of motion - and those advantages relate specifically to improved athletic performance and (in some cases) decreased chances for injury. Some examples:

            1. Increased physical efficiency - flexible joints require less energy to move through the range of motion

            2. Increased blood supply and nutrients to joint structures

            3. ROM (range of motion) exercises increase the quantity (and decrease the viscosity - thickness) of synovial fluid = better nutrient exchange. Healthy synovial fluid allows for greater freedom of movement and "may" slow down joint degeneration

            4. Decreases the risk for low back pain (particularly ROM exercises through the low back/hips/hamstrings)

            5. Reduces stress - stretching promotes muscle relaxation, and gives your body time to move gradually from its' exercising state (ie. higher body temp, BP, HR etc.) to it's normal and everday state. Taking a few minutes to stretch at the end of a workout also mentally gives you time to move from exercise to everyday.

            I agree with what ProWriter stated - there's been increasing evidence over the past year that stretching may not reduce the incidence of injury after all (contrary to the popular belief that's been held for....well....forever).

            Having said that though, I'm still convinced that improving the flexibility component of stretching is important for the reasons I listed above.

            Originally posted by Toupalik
            It is a known fact that many people lack the necessary flexibility in their hips and hamstrings.This is often caused by too much sitting which can eventually "shorten" the muscles.In time, this can lead to low back pain.
            Keeping this in mind, I think many people, especially those that are prone to sitting for extended periods, should focus on hip and hamstring stretches.

            The lunge stretch, where you hold the lunge position is great for hip flexibility, as are lunges themselves.For the hamstrings, you could do a simple hurdler's stretch, where you place one leg up on a waist high object and lean forward slightly to stretch the hamstrings.Another good hamstring stretch is the bend and touch.From a standing position, bend done (while keeping an arch in the lower back) and touch your right hand to a spot 12 inches in front of your left foot.Return to the upright position and touch your left hand to a spot 12 inches in front of your right foot.Repeat back and forth for the desired amount of reps.This is what some people call and active stretch because you are not holding the position for any length of time.

            One other thing to consider is performing a quick stretch between sets for the muscle group you are working.There was a well known bodybuilder/trainer named John Parillo (sp?) who was a big advocate of this and swore by it's use.This way, you finish your strength work and flexibility work at the same time.Keep in mind that there are some studies that have shown that stretching prior to strength work can hinder your strength levels.
            I'm one of those people that sits at a desk for a good part of each day. Over the past few years (because of the job and because of the age) I have noticed an increased tightness (particularly through the hip flexors). Flexibility training, consequently, has taken on an even greater importance because it was affecting how I felt (and how I was performing) physically.

            Re: Toupalik's exercise suggestions I would just take a couple of exceptions. The first is that lunges are a strength move, not a "stretching" or flexibility move.

            Another is re: the standing hamstring stretch. Bending down towards your foot, coming back to a stand, then bending down to touch near the other foot IS a hamstring stretch. However, the sudden and abrupt change in head position (standing, to leaning all the way down towards the floor, to standing again) can make for very sudden changes in blood pressure (and dizziness). The other issue with this exercise is that unsupported forward flexion (ie. bending forward at the waist) puts very large amounts of strain on your lower back.

            The other thing I would mention is that for the majority of people active and/or dynamic flexibility is not the safest way to go - static (holding) stretches are safest and will decrease your chances of incurring injuries actually derived as a RESULT of stetching the wrong way.

            Here is a site with some basic and pretty sound looking stretches to get you started:
            http://familydoctor.org/147.xml

            I picked the site specifically for the pictures but don't agree with their "hold for 10-15 seconds and do 6-8 times" statements.

            Re: the "how" of stretching I would suggest:

            1. Do it at the end of your workout (when your muscles are warm). And I agree with ProWriter in that a "rehearsal warmup" is more appropriate at the start of your workout (ie. lightly working the same muscles in the same way that you will during your actual hard workout)

            2. Hold your stretch for 30 seconds - it'll seem like an eternity, but suck it up

            3. Come out of your stretch, then do it again for another 30 seconds. More than likely you'll be able to go deeper into the stretch the second time around

            4. Concentrate on breathing throughout your stretch (it's very common to want to hold your breath)

            5. Concentrate on mentally telling yourself to relax (it's very common to tighten up, which makes stretching a tough thing to do)

            6. Go onto the next stretch and do steps 2 through 5 all over again.

            You should be able to do an effective down-and-dirty stretching component in under 10 minutes. Do it three times a week and do it consistantly (just like the weights and running) and you'll see improvements in performance.

            You may or may not ever find that it gets "easy" for you to stretch - but it WILL get easier if you stick with it.
            Last edited by krj; 02-14-2005, 11:48 AM.

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm going to get serious about stretching. But holding a stretch for 2 sets of 30 seconds? Oh well, I'll try to work up to it. Any suggestions for upper body stretches would be appreciated.

              There aren't any stretches that cover several muscles at once, are there? Like if I lie on my back and bring my knees to my chest, can I consider both my glutes and my lower back to be stretched? I guess I'm still trying to make it easy.
              Last edited by Entre Nous; 02-17-2005, 07:46 PM.
              ..................................................

              The Donut Shop : A Cop-Friendly Forum

              (Please PM me for faster admittance.)

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              • #8
                For stretching your neck/torso lay down pull your knees to your chest, hold them there with your hands and roll up on your neck about 15 times. The ones I do for everything else thats upper involve another person standing back to back with you, lockin arms, and pickin you up so you hang over their back.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rudegyal
                  For stretching your neck/torso lay down pull your knees to your chest, hold them there with your hands and roll up on your neck about 15 times. The ones I do for everything else thats upper involve another person standing back to back with you, lockin arms, and pickin you up so you hang over their back.
                  Wow, that sounds like it might require coordination. I'm afraid I don't have any of that.
                  ..................................................

                  The Donut Shop : A Cop-Friendly Forum

                  (Please PM me for faster admittance.)

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                  • #10
                    lol sorry. My PT instructor has us do some funky stretches.

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                    • #11
                      I've read about stretching not preventing injuries too but I think that is somewhat of a generalization. I don't think that stetching cold does anything at all other than risk getting hurt. I also think there's a lot more going on when one pulls a muscle. Look at athlete who tear muscles and they are usually pretty flexable However; I stretch for sports performance for two reasons: 1.) I play competitve paintball and let me tell you at 6'4" 245+lbs I got to be able to get small fast and stay in that postion for periods of time. I'm also a DT instructor and it helps there too. 2.) Lifting wise streching between sets of an exercise can increase strength by allegedly delaying the golgi tendon response (the automatic repsonse in our muscles that shuts them down when the resistance is too much).

                      I hate streching too but I find the best time to do is right after cardio when I'm too hot and sweaty to walk out into the cold or to sit sweating in my car. I put on some music or talk to someone and just do it, period. It really ony takes a few minutes anyway.

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                      • #12
                        JRT, two quick points:

                        1. I think the types of injuries they measured included things other than muscle strains (or pulls). I believe they found that extremely flexible athletes might be somewhat more prone to joint injuries, because tighter muscles restrict injurious joint movement as well as motion in the direction and planes joints were designed to move.

                        2. My understanding of Golgi reflex differs substantially, in that the literature that I read suggested that, rather than shutting muscles down, their function was to protect joints by firing muscle fibers automatically whenever they detect that a joint (and muscles connecting via their tendons) is being stretched close to it's limit. I believe that was one element incorporated in the original Nautilus cams, which were designed to allow what they called "pre-stretching" even though that's a misnomer, because it just means resistance at the "fully stretched" range. I've always taught that this is only another reason to emphasize a full range of motion, specifically to take advantage of the Golgi reflex, rather than to stop a movement short of a full range.

                        You're the first person I've ever heard even mention it though. There was a similar mechanism that I used to mention in the same breath, whose name escapes me at the moment with which I may or may not have it confused. You happen to know what I'm talking about?
                        No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.

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                        • #13
                          Pro,
                          Your right on the golgi thing. As soon as you mention the stretch part I remembered it correctly and it makes more sense that way with stretching before a set.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ProWriter
                            2. My understanding of Golgi reflex differs substantially, in that the literature that I read suggested that, rather than shutting muscles down, their function was to protect joints by firing muscle fibers automatically whenever they detect that a joint (and muscles connecting via their tendons) is being stretched close to it's limit. I've always taught that this is only another reason to emphasize a full range of motion, specifically to take advantage of the Golgi reflex, rather than to stop a movement short of a full range.

                            You're the first person I've ever heard even mention it though. There was a similar mechanism that I used to mention in the same breath, whose name escapes me at the moment with which I may or may not have it confused. You happen to know what I'm talking about?
                            Not sure if it's the response you're thinking of, but are you talking about autogenic inhibition?

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                            • #15
                              The more I think about it I think the golgi reflex a combination of what Pro and I said. I should just look it up.

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