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  • #46
    STRETCHING AND FLEXIBILITY
    Everything you never wanted to know
    by Brad Appleton
    STRETCHING AND FLEXIBILITY - Table of Contents



    STRETCHING AND FLEXIBILITY - Flexibility

    According to Gummerson, flexibility (he uses the term mobility) is affected by the following factors:

    Internal influences

    the type of joint (some joints simply aren't meant to be flexible)
    the internal resistance within a joint
    bony structures which limit movement
    the elasticity of muscle tissue (muscle tissue that is scarred due to a previous injury is not very elastic)
    the elasticity of tendons and ligaments (ligaments do not stretch much and tendons should not stretch at all)
    the elasticity of skin (skin actually has some degree of elasticity, but not much)
    the ability of a muscle to relax and contract to achieve the greatest range of movement
    the temperature of the joint and associated tissues (joints and muscles offer better flexibility at body temperatures that are 1 to 2 degrees higher than normal)

    How Connective Tissue Affects Flexibility

    How Aging Affects Flexibility: (next subsection)
    Factors Limiting Flexibility: (beginning of section)

    The resistance to lengthening that is offered by a muscle is dependent upon its connective tissues: When the muscle elongates, the surrounding connective tissues become more taut (see section Connective Tissue). Also, inactivity of certain muscles or joints can cause chemical changes in connective tissue which restrict flexibility. According to M. Alter, each type of tissue plays a certain role in joint stiffness: "The joint capsule (i.e., the saclike structure that encloses the ends of bones) and ligaments are the most important factors, accounting for 47 percent of the stiffness, followed by the muscle's fascia (41 percent), the tendons (10 percent), and skin (2 percent)".

    M. Alter goes on to say that efforts to increase flexibility should be directed at the muscle's fascia however. This is because it has the most elastic tissue, and because ligaments and tendons (since they have less elastic tissue) are not intended to stretched very much at all. Overstretching them may weaken the joint's integrity and cause destabilization (which increases the risk of injury).

    When connective tissue is overused, the tissue becomes fatigued and may tear, which also limits flexibility. When connective tissue is unused or under used, it provides significant resistance and limits flexibility. The elastin begins to fray and loses some of its elasticity, and the collagen increases in stiffness and in density. Aging has some of the same effects on connective tissue that lack of use has.

    Overflexibility

    Strength and Flexibility: (previous section)
    Flexibility: (beginning of chapter)

    It is possible for the muscles of a joint to become too flexible. According to SynerStretch, there is a tradeoff between flexibility and stability. As you get "looser" or more limber in a particular joint, less support is given to the joint by its surrounding muscles. Excessive flexibility can be just as bad as not enough because both increase your risk of injury.

    Once a muscle has reached its absolute maximum length, attempting to stretch the muscle further only serves to stretch the ligaments and put undue stress upon the tendons (two things that you do not want to stretch). Ligaments will tear when stretched more than 6% of their normal length. Tendons are not even supposed to be able to lengthen. Even when stretched ligaments and tendons do not tear, loose joints and/or a decrease in the joint's stability can occur (thus vastly increasing your risk of injury).
    Last edited by Scott F; 09-10-2013, 02:48 PM.
    Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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    • #47
      Ideally, you want your tendons to have elasticity for sports (throwing a baseball or jumping). I could see tendons getting stiffer (no shorter) with weight training only...full-time heavyweight powerlifters. Most people don't lift like that, though. Myself, I've never experience tendons getting shorter nor muscles getting tighter through bodybuilding. My hamstrings have always been tighter than I wanted (martial arts with a lot of stretching). But my quads are very flexible despite a lot of lifting and very little stretching to them. It's actually difficult for me to feel a stretch in my quads.
      Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

      Comment


      • #48
        Tendons as a prologonation of the fascia shortens by repetive contractions and must be pulled back either by antagonist exercise or by stretching. Musclefibers are wrapped up inside the fascia and will become shorter too...
        "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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        • #49
          Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
          Real hypertrophy IS strength, the only way to become stronger in a physiological sense is to grow it! A more muscled up you is a stronger you, even if you could bench or squat more before becoming larger...
          I guess my point is that I've seen some strong people who don't look overly bulky (particularly women). They seem to be able to lift a lot more than most, without looking comparatively larger.

          The strength they gain is generally from lifting heavy to failure, rather than doing a lot of reps at lighter weights. I've never seen anyone (particularly a woman) getting strong by doing lots of lighter weights.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Iron Fireling View Post
            I guess my point is that I've seen some strong people who don't look overly bulky (particularly women). They seem to be able to lift a lot more than most, without looking comparatively larger.

            The strength they gain is generally from lifting heavy to failure, rather than doing a lot of reps at lighter weights. I've never seen anyone (particularly a woman) getting strong by doing lots of lighter weights.
            Nearly every workout I get a comment from someone at the gym who's bigger than me but doesn't lift as heavy weight.

            Sent via F-22 Raptor

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Mr. Anthony View Post
              Nearly every workout I get a comment from someone at the gym who's bigger than me but doesn't lift as heavy weight.

              Sent via F-22 Raptor
              I'm the same. I think some of us have a higher acclimation (possibly genetic) for neuroadaptive response and ability to contract the muscle we do have to a greater degree than others. If you have that then it is not advantageous to pack on more and more bulk from a evolutionary and survival perspective. Why waste resources? This could be the classic hard gainers or anyone who doesn't build muscle up easily. On the other hand consider those with a low neuroadaptive response to exercise. They would have to build more and more muscle to keep up with the demands of their enviroment (lifting heavy shit).

              Thats my theory anyhow. Shoot it down or expand on it if you like.

              Comment


              • #52
                It would take a marathon of unweighted squatting for me to reach failure. So squatting to failure without a barbell is pretty ridiculous. Who's got that kind of time? I also know that if I add heavy (for me) weight I'm VERY reluctant to squat to failure. What any of that means, I don't know.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #53
                  Well I'm sure glad that light weights are okay since that's all I have.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                    It would take a marathon of unweighted squatting for me to reach failure. So squatting to failure without a barbell is pretty ridiculous. Who's got that kind of time? I also know that if I add heavy (for me) weight I'm VERY reluctant to squat to failure. What any of that means, I don't know.
                    Squat is a bit of a different animal. In terms of more complicated lifts (or at least technique based), for safety reasons I (and most who lift this way) consider any break in form to mean you have reached "failure". If you are using a leg press then break in form is of no concern. You can keep working until you reach complete muscular failure rather than technique failure.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                      I'm the same. I think some of us have a higher acclimation (possibly genetic) for neuroadaptive response and ability to contract the muscle we do have to a greater degree than others. If you have that then it is not advantageous to pack on more and more bulk from a evolutionary and survival perspective. Why waste resources? This could be the classic hard gainers or anyone who doesn't build muscle up easily. On the other hand consider those with a low neuroadaptive response to exercise. They would have to build more and more muscle to keep up with the demands of their enviroment (lifting heavy shit).

                      Thats my theory anyhow. Shoot it down or expand on it if you like.
                      That's what I believe, too. I started think about build types/size in relation to hunter/gatherers by in the 80s. In doing so, it wasn't hard to realize that a big bodybuilder would be less adaptable to a tribal environment than a more spelt muscular build. Ask a man or woman which build is more attractive in the opposite sex. Women will more often choose this https://www.google.com/search?q=mens...ih=651&dpr=1.5 over this https://www.google.com/search?q=mens...icial&tbm=isch

                      Yates' build would be a handicap if he suddenly had to survive in a paleo tribal environment. He would lack the stamina needed to travel long distance and his build requires a lot of calories just to fuel its muscle mass.
                      Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                        It would take a marathon of unweighted squatting for me to reach failure. So squatting to failure without a barbell is pretty ridiculous. Who's got that kind of time? I also know that if I add heavy (for me) weight I'm VERY reluctant to squat to failure. What any of that means, I don't know.
                        Go somewhere inbetween unweighted and heavy! At least, that's my current theory . I find it hard to push myself to squat to failure on what is very heavy for me... BUT I can squat to failure using 40kg, for example. I figure I'll just keep myself at this kind of medium weight until I can do too many reps at it (haven't worked out what "too many" is, yet) and then increase the weight, rather than trying to lift just about as much as I can (which kinda freaks me out a bit when squatting... maybe I'm worried I'll look like an idiot if I get stuck on the floor??!)

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                        • #57
                          Hey folks I just picked up the book FRAMEWORK that discusses the whole idea and concept of long term thinking for health. I def recommend it!

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            I'm the same. I think some of us have a higher acclimation (possibly genetic) for neuroadaptive response and ability to contract the muscle we do have to a greater degree than others. If you have that then it is not advantageous to pack on more and more bulk from a evolutionary and survival perspective. Why waste resources? This could be the classic hard gainers or anyone who doesn't build muscle up easily. On the other hand consider those with a low neuroadaptive response to exercise. They would have to build more and more muscle to keep up with the demands of their enviroment (lifting heavy shit).

                            Thats my theory anyhow. Shoot it down or expand on it if you like.
                            Neckhammer,

                            I think you are correct in your assumption. To add to your theory I think a lot has to do with the age a person started any sort of resistance training. If you started earlier in life lifting or doing gymnastics, or played any sort of sports, etc... Then you have enhanced neuromuscular recruitment over someone who started later in life. Now I don't think this is true of everyone as always outliers will exist but overall I believe that this is true.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                              It would take a marathon of unweighted squatting for me to reach failure. So squatting to failure without a barbell is pretty ridiculous. Who's got that kind of time? I also know that if I add heavy (for me) weight I'm VERY reluctant to squat to failure. What any of that means, I don't know.
                              You are missing the whole point. It doesn't matter what weight you use so long as your last rep is to failure. It doesn't matter if you do a million reps with body weight or 1 rep moving a car.... so long as the last rep is to failure. Find your own comfort zone... how hard is that?

                              Please note that for now science defines failure as your last rep is with poor form. That is it. Science has not confirmed what the body defines as failure to stimulate muscle growth.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Vick View Post
                                You are missing the whole point. It doesn't matter what weight you use so long as your last rep is to failure. It doesn't matter if you do a million reps with body weight or 1 rep moving a car.... so long as the last rep is to failure. Find your own comfort zone... how hard is that?

                                Please note that for now science defines failure as your last rep is with poor form. That is it. Science has not confirmed what the body defines as failure to stimulate muscle growth.
                                No, those extremes don't work. You need a higher percentage of maximum effort than you get from even a hundred reps and you need more total work than you get from one(unless it's a 20-20 rep or something unusual)

                                This study actually showed significantly less 1RM strength gain for the higher reps.
                                The article headline is simply incorrect.

                                Interestingly for HIT folks it also showed equal strength gain for 1 set and 3(for about the 888th time) but this study showed only about 1/2 the hypertrophy gain for 1 set vs 3 at the 'heavy' (really medium by weight training standards) weight

                                The amazing thing to me is that the study authors seem to be advocating higher reps as an 'easy' approach. I can't think of many things more miserable than 30 reps to failure!

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