T Nation

Flexibility... Where To Begin?

I’m about 6’1, 170 lbs, athletic, more muscular than most guys my age (19) but not very developed overall. I want to start ABBH, but I’ve always had flexibility problems so I fear that I won’t be able to do compound lifts with the proper form.

I’ve NEVER, in all of my life, been able to touch my toes. Not even close! Legs straight, my fingers come about a foot short of reaching the floor. I think I have tight joints, or something, because I am less flexible than just about everybody I know. My mother is the same way. This has been a limiting factor in all the sports I’ve done growing up (soccer, baseball, especially martial arts).

I want badly to become flexible… but basic stretching exercises just don’t seem to yield progress. On top of that, stretching (this is mainly my legs/hips I’m referring to) produces the most psychologically unbearable feeling for me–it isn’t “pain,” but I’d rather be puking my guts out or getting socked in the face than face that stretching feeling.

I’m willing to put in the effort, but I’d like suggestions on where to begin, what stretches to do, etc. I want to do this right! I’d also like to hear from people who have had similar problems.

I would Check out the stretching series of articles done By Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey. Do an author search in the Library.

Also after that you might try and shoot some questions to them during Prime Time.

I have recently started stretching on a regular basis as well. Long over due but after just weeks am noticing a difference.

Good Luck,
Phill

Pavel has some good books and DVDs on stretching, but he has like five of them so finding one that applies to you can be a pain in the ass. Of course, Pavel would say that you should buy all of them. I have “Relax into Stretch” which is pretty good.

I personally hate sitting on the floor and stretching, so I mostly stretch out using good mornings, overhead squats, and shoulder dislocates. I use light weight in the good mornings to pull me down into a stretch, I hold at the bottom position for stretching. I use a PVC pipe for overhead squats to stretch the shoulders while I hold in the bottom position to stretch legs and back, and I do shoulder dislocates while I’m in the bottom position of the overhead squat.

Those work for me as a stretch as well as a good way to warm up before doing any type of exercise.

[quote]pr0crastin8r wrote:
I’m about 6’1, 170 lbs, athletic, more muscular than most guys my age (19) but not very developed overall. I want to start ABBH, but I’ve always had flexibility problems so I fear that I won’t be able to do compound lifts with the proper form.

I’ve NEVER, in all of my life, been able to touch my toes. Not even close! Legs straight, my fingers come about a foot short of reaching the floor. I think I have tight joints, or something, because I am less flexible than just about everybody I know. My mother is the same way. This has been a limiting factor in all the sports I’ve done growing up (soccer, baseball, especially martial arts).

I want badly to become flexible… but basic stretching exercises just don’t seem to yield progress. On top of that, stretching (this is mainly my legs/hips I’m referring to) produces the most psychologically unbearable feeling for me–it isn’t “pain,” but I’d rather be puking my guts out or getting socked in the face than face that stretching feeling.

I’m willing to put in the effort, but I’d like suggestions on where to begin, what stretches to do, etc. I want to do this right! I’d also like to hear from people who have had similar problems.[/quote]

Check out the Parisi Warm-up method DVD over at EliteFTS.com, really good stuff for dynamic flexibilty!

Just start it, as you age it will be your best investment for maintaining your training, see some of Coach Sommers articles as well.

Another Bump for the Parisi Warm Up DVD

Hey,

I’m another tall, skinny guy with flexibility problems. If I warmed up a bit and stretched for ten minutes, I could get my wrists down to kneecap level when trying to touch my toes. Then I took a college class in yoga (ratio of 6 girls to 1 guy) and saw huge improvements. So other than the links mentioned above or going to the library for a beginner book on yoga, I would recommend one stretch.

Stand with feet pointing forward and about hip-width apart. Keeping your knees bent, bend over and touch the floor. With the fingertips in contact with the ground, try to straighten the legs. Go as far as comfortable and hold for a few breaths. To get a little better stretch, think about tilting your tailbone up.

Do a few times every day and you should see good results within a month.

Next time you’re in the bath (and make it a hot, long-one), do some toe-touching stretches. When you warm up your muscles, even (or especially?) in a hot bath, they become more flexible, which should help you to stretch them. YOu should get better range of motion. But don’t go mad and rip your tendons off!

Practice practice practice - there is no easy fix. Good luck. :slight_smile:

Check out Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson’s article “Feel Better for 10 Bucks”

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=475832

It’s good stuff. You might want to spend the 10 bucks and get a foam roll, or see if they have one at school you can use.

(1) Do a quick dynamic (NOT balistic) stretch before exercise.

(2) Static stretch after exercise. Hold each stretch for at least 40-60 seconds. It takes your body some time to let go of the “holy shit I’m going to hurt myself” phase, and you’re not going to make any static flexibility progress without going past that phase.

(3) Make sure that you are always stretching antagonistic muscle groups to avoid becoming unbalanced.

Good luck.

Or you could just overhead squat.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
Or you could just overhead squat.[/quote]

I was going to mention that as well. I think deep front squatting is good for the flexibility too.