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Yoga vs. Active Stretching, what do you recommend and how often?

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  • Yoga vs. Active Stretching, what do you recommend and how often?

    I lift heavy things twice a week, been lifting weights for over 25 Years, I am now 42. The major exercises are focused on the squats, deadlifts, pushups, body rows, planks, etc., keep it at 30 minutes. Walk during the week.

    On the weekend it depends on the season. Downhill ski and snowshoe in the winter (that ended last week) and mountainbike and hike in the spring through fall, some bike rides go on for 2 1/2 hrs up some pretty steep mountains. Problem is I am not as limber as I was when I was younger, walk around a little stiff and have lost range of motion. I am thinking about adding in stretching or yoga to limber up a bit as I think this will help prevent injuries. Any opinions from any of you who participate in similar activities? Which would you recommend and what frequency, thanks.
    You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

  • #2
    I personally love Yin Yoga... it really gets into the muscles... is VERY relaxing... and will help with just about any sport you get into... as it really opens up your range of motion... I like to do a quick 20 minute session before bed... It's not stimulating by any stretch...

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      Look to your joints first...

      I don't really stretch any more. Don't get me wrong...I love yoga and related activities like it...but I recently got introduced to a "new" (really old) concept from the martial arts...loosen joints instead of stretching muscles.

      It may sound like I'm splitting hairs here...but a very limber instructor that I work with shared with me this concept. Prior to training, I had always dutifully stretched...because that was what CW had said to do. However, the old-school martial artists focused on the joints, since this is the real source of fluidity and mobility.

      However...if you focus on loosing joints, in many cases, the muscles get a warm-up benefit by doing this.

      Just a thought...but it has been working for me, and no muscle strains to date.

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      • #4
        For myself, active stretching prior to activity helps me more than just static stretching. So jog a little and do active, sometimes compound movements to loosen everything up (probably sounds like joint stretching). But the real goal here is to simply limber up before stressing your body. I'll usually throw in a couple static stretches for my problem areas once i'm warm.

        Now post workout/activity I like to do static stretches and it helps me a lot in preventing soreness/tears and increasing flexibility.

        You could also think about picking up a foam roller and doing some self massage to get the knots out. Sometimes it takes me upwards of an hour to release a nasty knot through self massage, but it feels way better once it's done.
        I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

        Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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        • #5
          I don't stretch before working out, just maybe a quick warmup on a cardio machine and some shaking about and limbering up. I love stretching after my workout because it helps me wind down and reduces DOMS, I find. I do yoga once a week (that's all that fits into my schedule at the mo) and I loooove how relaxing it is and how my body feels afterwards.

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          • #6
            Thanks all for the replies. I would be interested in learning more about this "loosening of joints" and Yin Yoga. I would agree with unchatenfrance, I don't stretch before working out, heck I don't stretch after either and I am starting to pay. Sad thing is I used to be super flexible when I was younger. I did take a fall on the mountainbike the other day and would have been less painful if I were more flexible.
            You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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            • #7
              i would like to get into yoga or pilates again. i enjoyed the flexibility and core strength it provided. unfortunately i quit my gym because the class i went to filled too much it went from 6-8 people in a small room to trying to squeeze in 20 in a tiny space and i felt uncomfortable with that many people in such a small room. i get slightly claustrophobic and feel i cant breath (same thing with airplanes, trains, buses...once i had a panic attack puked and fainted after getting off a very full train during rush-hour commute in the mornings on my way to university). ill have to find a studio that offers small classes in a large airy environment.
              "The first wealth is health."
              - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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              • #8
                Originally posted by twinmama View Post
                I personally love Yin Yoga... it really gets into the muscles... is VERY relaxing... and will help with just about any sport you get into... as it really opens up your range of motion... I like to do a quick 20 minute session before bed... It's not stimulating by any stretch...
                Actually Yin Yoga is aimed at specifically targeting the joints and connective tissue rather than the muscles. I've been curious to give it a try. I haven't decided whether it makes sense to me or not, but I guess the proof will be in the (coconut) pudding

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                • #9
                  I do not do stretching or yoga, but I think I achieve the same results with Makko Ho, Dao Yin, and Qi Gong (Chi Kung).
                  Tayatha om bekandze

                  Bekandze maha bekandze

                  Randza samu gate soha

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                  • #10
                    I totally want to check out Yin Yoga--I've never heard of it--sounds fascinating!

                    I LOVE yoga, practiced Hatha for years then switched to vinyasa-flow/ashtanga and am loving those. I'd always recommend doing it under the guidance of a teacher to start (to be sure you are doing it correctly.) I think yoga is awesome, so would recommend it to anyone--it's more about finding the kind of yoga that works best for *you*. I don't know what is 'better' for you, but the benefits I've gotten from yoga go far beyond physical for *me*.
                    My Before/After Pics
                    Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                    "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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                    • #11
                      check out Yin Yoga Here

                      I'm not an expert in the practice my any means... I used to be a ballet dancer... and my flexability although still considered better than average it total crap.

                      I've been using a DVD series by Jennifer Kries She's a dancer, that does Pilates, Yoga, YIN YOGA... oh, and Chi Gong that she calls Waking Energy... OMG... that is AWESOME for loosening up the body too! I like to do the Chi Gong in the morning... and Yin Yoga before bed... All I can say is that these practices are DELICIOUS! My ability to move around with more fluidity is improved tenfold by these 2 things!!!

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                      • #12
                        Hey Fairy... I think Yin Yoga would compliment any yoga practice. It's not really a style like the others. You seemingly collapse into poses that just allow the targeted area to just open up. I don't feel that you need to be "stronger" to hold each pose.. although the more you open up the deeper you go...

                        Here's a little sample on You Tube

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                        • #13
                          I take Karate, and am interested in joint loostening you speak of. Where can I fin out how to do it?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mainer View Post
                            Thanks all for the replies. I would be interested in learning more about this "loosening of joints" and Yin Yoga. I would agree with unchatenfrance, I don't stretch before working out, heck I don't stretch after either and I am starting to pay. Sad thing is I used to be super flexible when I was younger. I did take a fall on the mountainbike the other day and would have been less painful if I were more flexible.
                            I'll give some examples on exercises for loosening the joints...Tai Chi trunk twists at the waist (you swing the arms loosely from side to side as you twist at the waist), "a pat and a hug" where you swing both the arms loosely in towards the center of your body and they cross, one over the other...just swap the arm movements, one on top, then bottom, then on top again)...arm rotations (yes, just rotate the arms around and around at the shoulder), neck rolls, rolling the ankle/foot (done by rotating the foot, with just the ball of the foot on the ground)...elbow/shoulder stretches (reach over your shoulder to your back, and try to touch it...the other arm can gently assist...then on the next set, reach to your side around the opposite arm to the side of the back, ) knee rotations (both feet flat on the floor and touching one another, hands on knees, and then rotate at the knees only left, then right, in full circles), wrist twists, etc.

                            Just remember...when I same move something loosely, that does not mean "without energy".

                            These are just a few, and there are many others...
                            Last edited by Phil-SC; 04-24-2010, 08:28 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I am a yoga teacher (though I'm not teaching at the moment), trained in both Ashtanga and interdisciplinary yoga (more or less the kind of yoga you'd expect to find at a drop-in hatha class, though technically ALL yoga is hatha). Yin does indeed target the joints, and it is recommended that you do it before the body warms up. I don't stretch much before working out with weights or doing intervals, but I do a good half hour of yoga after and don't wind up stiff that way.

                              But if you want to use yoga for fitness, strength, stamina, increasingly lung capacity, flexibility, try Ashtanga. The full primary series, which takes a while to work up to, is an hour and a half and I sweat more doing that than anything else I've ever done - it's a kickass workout. But when I'm done I feel absolutely amazing. To me it's a perfect blend of strength, stamina, stretching, and most of all focus.

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