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Thread: How important is stretching?

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    How important is stretching?

    Assuming that you are fine mobility wise (can hit every position with good form and proper technique) and pain free, how important is it to stretch? Can doing the lifts keep you mobile enough to continue with proper form, or should you constantly be stretching? If stretching is a necessary task for keeping enough mobility to train/compete, how often is the minimum (is twice a week sufficient for keeping current flexibility and mobility)? By the way, by stretching I’m talking about stretching the hamstrings, quads, chest, etc., and not sitting in the hole, etc. (the latter I think would be called mobility work, but I’m not sure).

    How about for recovery, does stretching help more than say active rest?

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    In my opinion stretching serves two purposes: to demonstrate control over specific ROM (Andreo Spino's work and Pavel/Kurt falls into that category) and to reduce CNS hyperactivity (subsequently decreasing muscle tonus). When stretching with either of those intents I have noticed it is significantly more effective than just lazily sitting there in a stretch for the sake of stretching. Allowing myself control over my ranges and emphasizing my breathing in the attempt to rid myself of excessive tension has been most beneficial.

    When I fail to do this with some regularity I quickly find myself with more joint pain or stiffness than usual, and often my muscle tone increases to a detrimental point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    In my opinion stretching serves two purposes: to demonstrate control over specific ROM (Andreo Spino's work and Pavel/Kurt falls into that category) and to reduce CNS hyperactivity (subsequently decreasing muscle tonus). When stretching with either of those intents I have noticed it is significantly more effective than just lazily sitting there in a stretch for the sake of stretching. Allowing myself control over my ranges and emphasizing my breathing in the attempt to rid myself of excessive tension has been most beneficial.

    When I fail to do this with some regularity I quickly find myself with more joint pain or stiffness than usual, and often my muscle tone increases to a detrimental point.
    Do you have any good stretching routines for what you are talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post

    When I fail to do this with some regularity I quickly find myself with more joint pain or stiffness than usual, and often my muscle tone increases to a detrimental point.
    This is the best reason. I have found that light/long duration stretching for the hamstrings and rectus femoris are very beneficial for prevent knee and back pain. Not increasing ROM, but reducing tension.

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    It is absolutely, vehemently, paramount. Its my opinion that the elite weightlifters are far more flexible than is commonly believed (i mean, even by us who know the sport). Even thick, jacked guys like Klokov are near gymnast/dancer levels ov flexibility. Even if you come all bendy as hell, you can get better. The more athletic you are, the better you'll move. You'll also get stiffer the stronger you get (the thicker/tighter your muscles and tendons get essentially), so you'll wanna mitigate that by keeping up on mobility.

    As far as lifters/gym rats my size and shape go, i am extremely flexible. But compared to the average 'good' North American 105 weightlifter, i'm stiff. Compared to someone like say, Aukhadov... i might as well be a bodybuilder. I can hit the positions very well, GOOD positions, and i'm not slow into them, but god damn... it takes me a LOT ov stretching before i get under that first rep. And even if i stretch 90 minutes beforehand, and loosen up throughout the ascending warm-up sets, and i do a lot ov warm-up sets... i'm still fighting my own body like hell to get into and stay in those positions once there is decent weight on the bar. I'd say as far as weightlifters i've seen go (all levels) i'm about average/above average flexibility... and i use up a LOT ov my strength just getting into and keeping good positions... thats wasted strength, obviously.

    Stretching and mobility is exceedingly important. Stretch every day. It definitely reduces injuries too.
    Last edited by Judas; 03-09-2018 at 04:27 AM.

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    I do almost zero static stretching and I get by but I do know that my left and right hamstring have different tightness that probably affects my hips somehow. This is demonstrated by comparing the depth of my front splits on each side (no, it's not off the deck anymore, more like 4-6" off on each side).

    I'm gonna guess one side is tighter than the other because of split jerking but my front splits never were even anyways when i did have them.

    While my handbridge isn't as good as it used to (it's bleh on floor), I have no problems with OH flexibility. I have thought about trying to squat jerk more to see if it helps my upper back mobility/flexibility but well I haven't.

    How about for recovery, does stretching help more than say active rest?
    Doubt it since actually stretching does create microtears like eccentric damage. Also, when you are sitting and lying on the floor, you're not really moving around enough to create heat or much blood flow. But something you are doing when you stretch is learning how to relax while dealing with that tension and that's probably beneficial.

    Something like shadow yoga or yoga that isn't static will be training mobility, besides moving to create blood flow and heat. That is good for recovery I would think. Maybe not end ROM like splits, bridges, fancy poses, or locust position I would think. For instance, if I were to test my splits and bridge after a dynamic warmup, I probably have nearly as much ROM if not more vs just trying to go down into a front split cold. This should be a bit easier though after say a 5-7 wu of jump rope, lunges, chasse, jumps, animal walks, etc. Always seemed so when I would do those and test splits and bridges. I'm pretty sure that's also why power production is impeded after stretching besides the eccentric damage as the body cools down and stops pumping blood so much.

    Stretching does affect the parasympathetic pathway so doing some ROMWOD, YOGA, TaiChi is good. Same like going for a walk or hike or casual swim, bike ride, etc.

    One of the reasons muscles get so tight is that the golgi tendon sense there is a possibility of damage or injury and tightens everything up. So doing things that relax those areas, in a sense telling them it's ok, releases them a bit.

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    I just freestyle it from what I did in gymnastics and track, on top of what I learned from those three sources. Both Pavel's and Kurz's books are cheap (may even find them online), and Andreo Spina puts so much free content online you can easily extrapolate his ideas to whatever routine you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    I just freestyle it from what I did in gymnastics and track, on top of what I learned from those three sources. Both Pavel's and Kurz's books are cheap (may even find them online), and Andreo Spina puts so much free content online you can easily extrapolate his ideas to whatever routine you want.
    I will take a look at those sources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    I just freestyle it from what I did in gymnastics and track, on top of what I learned from those three sources. Both Pavel's and Kurz's books are cheap (may even find them online), and Andreo Spina puts so much free content online you can easily extrapolate his ideas to whatever routine you want.
    I forgot to ask for the names of Pavel's and Kurz's books. Do you mind telling me?

    Edit: I have found Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training by Thomas Kurz

    and Super Joints: Russian Longevity Secrets for Pain-Free Movement, Maximum Mobility & Flexible Strength by Pavel Tsatsouline

    Are these the two?
    Last edited by jackie; 03-09-2018 at 10:40 AM.

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    Also "Relax into Stretch" by Pavel.

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