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Thread: How important is stretching?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    Also "Relax into Stretch" by Pavel.
    Thanks. How often do you stretch? What about foam rolling?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackie View Post
    Thanks. How often do you stretch? What about foam rolling?
    If I'm good about it I will stretch most days of the week, before practice and either after or on rest days. I get into spells where I'm bad about it for a week or more at a time and I suffer. I cannot remember the last time I foam rolled a muscle.

    Foam rolling is overrated for what most people often use it for (just mashing the muscles); it is best served as a mobility tool. Also everyone uses rollers that are too hard. There are two functions: lying with the roller vertically along the spine and using it to create some superficial tissue mobility. Lying on the roller (either with a full or half roller) with it along the spine serves two purposes. First is its use in spinal alignment and decompression which is only accomplished on a soft roller. Second use lying vertically on the roller (half or full) is proprioceptive feedback along the spine and hips for shoulder and hip drills, sort of like modified deadbug progressions. There are other uses besides lying on it for mobility but you can use other implements for such drills.

    The second function of the roller (again a soft roller) is to create superficial tissue mobilization on the skin, superficial fascia, and superficial muscle fibers. In fact, that is the only type of tissue mobilization the foam roller can accomplish. You cannot get into deeper fascia really surrounding the muscle tissue unless you can get your hands on it and you definitely want a professional doing this or else you're just creating shear along the tissue and potentially damaging a nerve or arteries. One of my athletes created massive bruising and swelling on his hamstring by aggressively foam rolling it and having his wife walk on his hamstring; he went too deep into the pain cave and had to take weeks off. I have also heard a horror story of someone having an aortic dissection because the "professional" was trying to release the psoas and didn't let up.

    It is also important to apply pressure against the grain of the muscle fibers and to make sure your force vector is oblique instead of compressing the tissue vertically against the bone. None of this should be extremely painful and the tissue should feel more supple and pliable afterwards.

    You're not ridding your muscles of waste buildups by foam rolling; it cannot accomplish that. If you want to perform lymph drainage and promote vascular flow (which is very effective both during exercise and post exercise) then you need to get hands on you to perform that.

    Sorry for the rant.

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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    If I'm good about it I will stretch most days of the week, before practice and either after or on rest days. I get into spells where I'm bad about it for a week or more at a time and I suffer. I cannot remember the last time I foam rolled a muscle.

    Foam rolling is overrated for what most people often use it for (just mashing the muscles); it is best served as a mobility tool. Also everyone uses rollers that are too hard. There are two functions: lying with the roller vertically along the spine and using it to create some superficial tissue mobility. Lying on the roller (either with a full or half roller) with it along the spine serves two purposes. First is its use in spinal alignment and decompression which is only accomplished on a soft roller. Second use lying vertically on the roller (half or full) is proprioceptive feedback along the spine and hips for shoulder and hip drills, sort of like modified deadbug progressions. There are other uses besides lying on it for mobility but you can use other implements for such drills.

    The second function of the roller (again a soft roller) is to create superficial tissue mobilization on the skin, superficial fascia, and superficial muscle fibers. In fact, that is the only type of tissue mobilization the foam roller can accomplish. You cannot get into deeper fascia really surrounding the muscle tissue unless you can get your hands on it and you definitely want a professional doing this or else you're just creating shear along the tissue and potentially damaging a nerve or arteries. One of my athletes created massive bruising and swelling on his hamstring by aggressively foam rolling it and having his wife walk on his hamstring; he went too deep into the pain cave and had to take weeks off. I have also heard a horror story of someone having an aortic dissection because the "professional" was trying to release the psoas and didn't let up.

    It is also important to apply pressure against the grain of the muscle fibers and to make sure your force vector is oblique instead of compressing the tissue vertically against the bone. None of this should be extremely painful and the tissue should feel more supple and pliable afterwards.

    You're not ridding your muscles of waste buildups by foam rolling; it cannot accomplish that. If you want to perform lymph drainage and promote vascular flow (which is very effective both during exercise and post exercise) then you need to get hands on you to perform that.

    Sorry for the rant.
    No rant at all. That was incredibly informative for me. Sorry for so many questions, but how long do you typically stretch for before and how long after/rest days? Is it typically the same routine or do you do something different before vs after/rest days?

  5. #14
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    Before practice is mostly dynamic stretches and some static stretches for ~15 minutes total. After or on rest days it's a lot of PNF and active static stretches for up to 30-45 minutes; each stretch I'll work for about 5 minutes at a time (but not necessarily straight through). Emphasis here is on relaxation and active release.

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    Before practice is mostly dynamic stretches and some static stretches for ~15 minutes total. After or on rest days it's a lot of PNF and active static stretches for up to 30-45 minutes; each stretch I'll work for about 5 minutes at a time (but not necessarily straight through). Emphasis here is on relaxation and active release.
    This might be a dumb question but, how do you know what to stretch? I mean, are you stretching only those muscles that seem tight or are you stretching pretty much everything each time?

  7. #16
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    stretching is a must
    especially for the lower back

  8. #17
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    The need to stretch, and what and how, is variable and often based on the individual's anthropometry, previous injury history and previous training history. Injuries are obvious, as any resulting adhesions and scar tissue or late effects of immobilization must be addressed, and usually on an ongoing basis. A bench presser/powerlifter will likely have shoulder mobility issues that need correcting. Some simply cannot move certain ways, for example, the hip joints have a wide structural variance, ante version, retroversion, femoral neck "anomalies", etc., that can limit bottom position depth.

    We used to stretch for 15-20 minutes prior to training. Now, I would just do empty bar work to warm up and stretch after the work out. Stretching was common on off days as well.

    As an aside, when my son was at the OTC they had specific flexibility/stretching sessions, mandatory and usually about 45 minutes. I never had him stretch, ever. When you can do a Sots press, with bodyweight at age 13, and your butt is a half inch from the platform, you're good to go. Those OTC stretching sessions actually proved to be detrimental to his lifting and after much protest, and some bizarre flexibility stunts, the staff was convinced he did not need to work on flexibility and he was finally excused.

    Point being, as with everything, there is no one size fits all approach to this.

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  10. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Wittmer View Post
    The need to stretch, and what and how, is variable and often based on the individual's anthropometry, previous injury history and previous training history. Injuries are obvious, as any resulting adhesions and scar tissue or late effects of immobilization must be addressed, and usually on an ongoing basis. A bench presser/powerlifter will likely have shoulder mobility issues that need correcting. Some simply cannot move certain ways, for example, the hip joints have a wide structural variance, ante version, retroversion, femoral neck "anomalies", etc., that can limit bottom position depth.

    We used to stretch for 15-20 minutes prior to training. Now, I would just do empty bar work to warm up and stretch after the work out. Stretching was common on off days as well.

    As an aside, when my son was at the OTC they had specific flexibility/stretching sessions, mandatory and usually about 45 minutes. I never had him stretch, ever. When you can do a Sots press, with bodyweight at age 13, and your butt is a half inch from the platform, you're good to go. Those OTC stretching sessions actually proved to be detrimental to his lifting and after much protest, and some bizarre flexibility stunts, the staff was convinced he did not need to work on flexibility and he was finally excused.

    Point being, as with everything, there is no one size fits all approach to this.
    Is there a way to tell if you actually need to stretch?

  11. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackie View Post
    Is there a way to tell if you actually need to stretch?
    Can you hit the positions needed to execute the lifts easily and without much resistance? Then you don't need to stretch.

  12. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackie View Post
    Is there a way to tell if you actually need to stretch?
    Can you move like Aukhadov or Xiaojun Lu? No? Then stretch.

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