5/3/13

I Wish I Always Knew This About Stretching


In middle school P.E. I was told to just lock a joint out and then passively stretch  over that. You know what I’m talking about, the limp arms to toe touch. Lock your knees out and then see how far you can dangle towards the floor. The goals of stretching are to relieve a neuromuscular problem due to tight muscles, and to lengthen muscles in a way that benefits the athlete. A muscle that can be stretched to a longer length can contract more and produce more force. That’s right weightheads, yoga isn’t just for girls anymore. The book FIT points out that if you move into a stretch too quickly the antagonistic muscles and safeguard muscles will be fired by the CNS [nervous system]. In theory you should be a rag doll when stretching and allow the muscle to be slowly pulled with no opposing force. To my knowledge there is no research that agrees with this; it’s just a theory that a bunch of big dudes came up after a heavy lifting session.
not mobile, less mobile [BBT]

So probably like me, you’ve spent your entire life rag-dolling into stretches. I don’t have anything against stretching this way; I just assumed this is the only way to do it. That was before I bumped into the vast knowledge of K-starr. This guy is a physical therapist that has worked with crossfit for years now. He opened my eyes to many things, but most impactful is “active” stretching. Remember how we just rag doll into position and assume that as long as we feel a pull its working. What if that relaxed stretch did move our muscles, but it moved them in the wrong direction?

When I lift with poor form I am training my muscles to grow in that direction. Then when I put 500 lbs on the bar and try to squat right, I hurt. Same goes with stretching. I may feel a nice stretch in my hamstrings, but what if I mess my hips up by placing them awkwardly. I [we, them, everybody] need to begin stretching, and flexing.


This lucky guy is using a band to pull his femur into optimal position for movement. Explaining why he’s doing that is for another post. What he will then do is create a neutral spine, and flex his glutes (butt). This sounds a lot more complicated then touch your toes right? He’s doing what a chiropractor would do with the vertebrate, and what a physical therapist would do with the muscle. He is aligning his bone structure and then changing the muscle to work under that environment. In essence he is stretching without stretching, and performing good technique without performing.

There is a time and place to go limp and feel a stretch. And then there is a time and place to align your body and just flex-stretch for 120 seconds of pain [soft tissue requires at least 2 minutes of stretching to change/adapt].

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.