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  • Stretching to increase flexibility

    Hey,

    I wanted to ask about stretching. If I want to increase my flexibility, (particularly in my hamstrings) can I just do static stretches throughout the day without a warm up?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I stretch all day long and it does help. I don't find that not warming up hurts me, but I start my stretches gentle and slow, and never push to the point that it hurts. A little discomfort is fine, pain is not fine.
    High Weight: 225
    Weight at start of Primal: 189
    Current Weight: 174
    Goal Weight: 130

    Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012

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    • #3
      Originally posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
      I stretch all day long and it does help. I don't find that not warming up hurts me, but I start my stretches gentle and slow, and never push to the point that it hurts. A little discomfort is fine, pain is not fine.
      Seems legit. That's pretty much what I thought. Thanks!

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      • #4
        Hamstring tightness could be due to a lot of different factors. So the short answer is that just stretching your hamstrings through the day may not release them. The tension might be in your hips or even your back or thighs (quads) that's creating the problem.

        That's why yoga is so good. You can get a full range of motion through the body and ultimately solve the problem.

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        • #5
          I have been reading that dynamic stretching is better. My son swears by Magnificent Mobility and my wife would +1 on the yoga.

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          • #6
            I do muscle release stretching, which is very much like dynamic. It's amazing how much deeper you can go in the stretches when using a dynamic method rather than static!

            I used to think I had tight hamstrings (and probably do), but it's actually my calfs that are so tight I can't put my palms flat on the floor.

            Yoga, Magnificent Mobility, or MRT (Muscle Release Technique) are all awesome programs that will give you a greater range of movement. Focus on the whole body, not just the one area. When you focus on just one area, you're asking to be injured somewhere else from one part being more flexible than the others. Not fun, trust me

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            • #7
              stretching has been getting knocked around a lot lately. hell, you have to call it 'mobility' now, you can't even say stretching.

              whatever, stretch! i admit that i don't like static stretches before lifting weights, but the idea that they have no place (which is in vogue) is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jakey View Post
                stretching has been getting knocked around a lot lately. hell, you have to call it 'mobility' now, you can't even say stretching.

                whatever, stretch! i admit that i don't like static stretches before lifting weights, but the idea that they have no place (which is in vogue) is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
                My problem with stretching is that is it often abused by people. By that I mean that in many cases, people are destabilizing their joints in order to increase their flexibility.

                We are all born with a certain genetic predisposition toward a particular range of motion. It's a big mistake to observe someone bending their body with an extreme range of motion and try to emulate them when your body is not capable of that same range of motion. Many foolishly injure their joints, including their backs, as a result.

                So, yes, there is nothing wrong with stretching per se, as long as it's done intelligently and responsibly. Personally, I do very little. Just some light stretches before weightlifting and sprinting. I believe it's more important to strengthen my joints and bones through resistance training.

                And I'm a golfer!!! I have every reason to attempt to increase my natural range of motion. But I don't think the risks are worth the rewards. i.e. yes I can increase by range of motion by aggressive stretching, but not to the freaky level of a pro golfer anyway. It's much more likely I'll injure myself and not be able to play golf at all, rather than marginally improving my golf game.
                Last edited by dbalch; 12-28-2012, 09:02 AM.

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                • #9
                  Without doing something to counteract it, we lose both muscle mass and flexibility as we age. And that means we start losing both of those at about age 35.

                  The reason you don't want to stretch to pain is that muscles will contract in response to pain. This means you'd be sending conflicting messages to your muscles and that could lead to discomfort.

                  I like stretching after exercise rather than before because it just feels better than a cold stretch. Nothing contortionist. It can be something as gentle as standing on a step with my toes and lowering my heels until I feel the stretch. Just a little something for each muscle group so I'm still able to get in and out of a car without assistance when I'm 90.
                  "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                  B*tch-lite

                  Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                  • #10
                    good,I stretch all day long and it does help. I don't find that not warming up hurts me, but I start my stretches gentle and slow

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                    • #11
                      I consider stretching to be separate from mobility work. Mobility work includes stretching but goes beyond it, at least that is my experience. I have to do quite a lot of mobility work after a lifetime of being too sedentary. Much of it includes some pretty extensive exercises, some of which includes the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, and dowel rods to help me target the appropriate areas. This aggressive approach is paying off in ways that less, intense, methods were not. Stretching is very important, though the question of doing it before or after exercise will have a different answer depending on who you ask. Personally I won't do anything without at least some light stretching and foam rolling prior, and depending on the workout I may do extensive stretching afterwards.

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                      • #12
                        I stretch in between sets of weightlifting and also do weighted stretching in some of the movements like bench flies, stiff-legged deadlifts, good morning etc. I pulled a hamstring a few weeks ago so be careful if doing weighted stretching, but it is very effective, and my mobility and strength are now better than ever…
                        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                        - Schopenhauer

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                        • #13
                          Here are my favorite stretches, they're specifically for improving your mobility to squat and perform the olympic lifts but they're still my favorite all around lifts.

                          Stretches and Mobility Drills to Prepare for the Snatch and Overhead Squat | FITNESS PAIN FREE

                          Contains all video demonstrations. I'd do these stretches after exercising or before squatting or olympic lifting if you do those exercises.

                          Hope that helps,
                          Dan Fitness Pain Free

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the answers. Certainly learned some new things about stretching and mobility.

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