T Nation

Flexibility Training

I need all you guys imput (weight trainers, powerlifters, martial artist, atheletes, Coach Davies, Chris Shugart, et.al):


1)What is the GENERAL concensus by the fitness community on where to place flexibility training in relation to our resistance training? Before training? After training? Other?


2) How often?


3) Anyone have a good flexiblity program that they can recommend or one that that they can outline? (Most that you see, like Pavel’s, will give you a lot of exercises, but not an overall program per se). THANKS!

this is a very good thread. i would like to see what everyone has to say. in terms of flexibility, i always felt that static stretching right after training was best. also stretching on non-training days will facilitate recovery and improve flexibility. my question is how do we make stretching fun because i rarely do it but i know i need to.

I agree with Scott - great training thread. I cannot stress the importance of developing your flexibility. I perform different range of motion drills prior to the start of the training that are more dynamic in nature along with a long static flexibility program post training. I prefer my athletes stretch a minimum of twice per day. Pavel does produce a series of superb stretching programs that I know you would be extremely pleased with. Most importantly, start to work on your range of motion and you will find your results improve immediately. If you care to contact me directly, I will be pleased to send you the static program my athletes use. I look forward to hearing from you shortly. In faith, Coach Davies

I have been getting great results by periodizing my stretching programs both personally and with my clients. I use a variety of techniques…passive stretches during post-workout, dynamic exercises during warm-up and dynamic lifts (oly lifts in themselves are great stretches). I also perform a stretching only workout 1-2 times per week which is more aggressive untilizing combination of ART, contract-relax and dynamic stretches (and believe me its a workout). Remember there are different types of flexibility which require different methods to achieve optimal results much like there are different kinds of strength (starting strength, speed-strength, absolute, etc.)

I have found in my own experience that a brief static stretching session immediately after 5 or so minutes of warm-up cardio (prior to weight training) is very important in preparing me for the workout ahead. I focus on stretches that mirror the exercises to come (toe touches for stiff leg deadlifts, etc.). It is especially important for any upper body work I do, as I’ve had problems with impingement in the past. Also, I include a longer session (+/- 10 minutes) after my workout in the same fashion, although it includes the entire body with an emphasis on the muscles trained. On non-workout days, I might do some light stretching or basic yoga when I can find the time.

I cannot stress enough the importance of stretching. Before i started a stretching program from coach Davies I couldn’t run for more than 5 minutes at a time before my knees giving out, but now after a good stretching regimine i can run with no problems. Also, i have just started a very rigorous plyometrics program and with stretching before and after I am one of the only ones who can walk the next day. Bottom line — Through away your negative thoughts and start stretching.

I’m no expert on stretching, but there’s a great book out by a guy named Tom Kurtz (I think) that’s called “Stretching Scientifically”. He shows how all these people get to be able to do the Van Damme splits and gives a good basic course in stretching, ah, science. Well worth the money.

I think the toughest thing is getting a feel for your own body and figuring out when it is most beneficial for you to stretch and how much you need. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to years of martial arts as a youngster so I grew accustomed to being flexible and maintaining flexibility is just as much a part of my workout as anything else. Now I typically just let the feel of my body guide me. Most of the time that equates into stretching a few minutes before my workout after a vigorous warmup to prepare for the movements I’ll utilize that day (depending on whether its lower body dominated, olympic lift dominated or upper body dominated), during my workout in between sets, and a 5-10 minute static stretching session after my workout to cool down and avoid that tight feeling. I feel the strongest contribution from stretching is of a functional nature. It will enable you to not only build bigger muscles but directly transfer the added strength and size into function…especially things such as speed, agility, and quickness.

I would recomend shorter duration stretches prior to exercise and durring (inbetween sets etc).
I do not like stretching imediately after training as I like to drop my body temp and get a Postworkout shake almost imediately.
I prefer to do more thorough stretching as a seperate session.
You should hold these stretches longer. And strive for increasing range of motion.

Actually his name is Thomas Kurz (close enough) and I recommend his book highly. He does a nice job of structuring flexibility training within a workout. This is one of the few books that does so. It also has a ton of theory (if that’s something you are interested in) For practical advice and a wider array of stretches Pavel’s Relax Into Stretch is excellent.

I always do a pre workout full body passive stretch routine based around Ian Kings lazy mans guide (that’s me!), a bit slack between sets and will sometimes do a 1/2-3/4 hr stretch only w/out (again mainly passive)on an ‘off’ day. It would be good to see an article/s on stretching routines particularly some active stuff.

In the last few weeks, I have greatly benefitted from trying to fit in stretching into my game plan. I’m in a cutting phase now and doing cardio (primarily jump rope, non-weighted GPP movements, and some incline walking) 3-4 times per week. I have found that 5-10 minutes of static stretching post cardio has significantly improved my flexibility along with aiding in recovery from my lifting workouts. I’m also trying to do a 5-10 minute warm-up of GPP movements, then static stretching of the body parts that I will use during the lifting workout. I’m going mostly by feel and by trying to stretch the muscles that will be worked, but to tell the truth, there is really no consistency to what I have been doing (unlike diet and workout periodization). I would really love to see a complete article in T-mag outlining a complete stretching program including what to do for warm-up, post exercise, off days, before/after cardio, etc. I think it is an area that has not been extensively covered although Ian King and Charles Staley have touched on the topic.

“I would really love to see a complete article in T-mag outlining a complete stretching program including what to do for warm-up, post exercise, off days, before/after cardio, etc. I think it is an area that has not been extensively covered although Ian King and Charles Staley have touched on the topic.”


Chris…I just wanted to echo the sentiments of Jason. Of the “Five Components of Overall Fitness” (Weight training, cardiovascular training, diet, recuperation and flexibility training (which, by the way, is VERY important as we age)), flexibility seems to still be the least covered and least studied in terms of program comparison, etc.


Now, I know there is going to be someone who gives the following two arguments, to which I have these replys:


“There is PLENTY of information out there; Pavel, Ian, Poliquin, etc.!” Yes, but not in an effective program that has been devised to incorporate into our overall fitness program. I have both Pavels book AND videos, with a lot of theory and examples of exercises, BUT NO PROGRAM! That leads to the SECOND argument you often hear:


2)“Hey…pick a few exercises, and do 'em…” Hey…a lot of people on this site, and “Testosterone” in particular, don’t do things so haphazard. Do we say “pick a few foods, and eat 'em?” “Pick a few exercises and do 'em?” No…we have “Massive Eating”, “T-Dawg”, “Meltdown”, “Limping…” etc., etc,.


So…Chris…hope you, TC , the contributors…whomever…can come up with something. That would help to put a “final piece of the fitness puzzle” in place. As always…thanks!

Some Great Ideas, Mufasa! I, too, would love to see a
T- Mag series on stretching programs. Good job :slight_smile:

First off I’d like to say that I would really like to see an article on stretching as well. I think Staley’s, Davies’, and King’s input would be great for the article.

I also have a couple of questions for you guys. 1) Do you feel it is necessary to stretch immediately after a workout? Or can one wait until they get home? Bottom line: How long does one have to stretch post workout before the window of opportunity closes? 2) This question ties into the one above. When stretching, particularly on off days, can one stretch completely cold? Meaning do you have to do a warmup, or have to have just finished a workout, to stretch? If so, for how long should you warm up if cold? Is a couple minutes of jumping jacks or something enough? I’ve been thinking about this stuff for quite some time so I’m glad this thread popped up.