T Nation

Increase Flexibility-W/U Before Stretching?

I was talking to a physio the other day who was saying that stretching when not warmed up will cause an injury. She used an analogy saying that if you put a rubber band in the freezer and stretch it, it will snap. I asked her whether there is actually that much of a temperature difference in the muscle after it has been ‘warmed up’ seeing as I don’t hang out in freezers…

You combat guys would be pretty flexible. I would be cool if you could share your strategies for increasing lower body flexibility. Should I warm up with steady state cardio before I stretch or can I stretch anytime?

http://stadion.com/column.html

I’ve had success with doing stretches from Mike Robertson’s “Magnificient Mobility” DVD. On issue to think about…in my experience it often is not just an issue of muscle flexibility that keeps people from performing certain movements (let’s use headkick as example). Often, it is a lack of strength in the hip and ab muscles so the person can’t easily pick up their leg and throw the kick. Furthermore, a lack of JOINT range of motion, rather than muscle flexibility, can cause problems. Therefore, I generally do movements like “Walking Spiderman”, deep lunges with a twist, knee hugs, butt kickers, standing leg cradles, etc to “warm-up” before I train. Then I do a static stretches after I get done training. I especially focus on stretching hip flexors (because they are tight on damn near everyone) and other muscles of the hips because you have to have good, strong, loose hips no matter what martial art you practice. Good luck!

I assume that Xen’s link is solid (as always), but let me add this:

If you’re a young guy (<21), you can increase your flexibility with just about anything without worrying too much- In fact, I can recall so many weird anecdotes from when I did Tae Kwon Do, where a lot of guys did insane things to be able to do splits as quick as possible.
It’s probably better to focus a lot on flexibility for a month or two, and then be able just to maintain it with one or two light sessions per week.

The older you get, the more complicated stretching becomes if you have less training time, aquired bad movement patterns as well as injuries nad imbalances.

Could you tell us about your specific aims, please?

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
http://stadion.com/column.html [/quote]

Yep, Tom Kurz has all your flexibility taken care of.

yea props to jonnytmt for that link

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
I assume that Xen’s link is solid (as always), but let me add this:

If you’re a young guy (<21), you can increase your flexibility with just about anything without worrying too much- In fact, I can recall so many weird anecdotes from when I did Tae Kwon Do, where a lot of guys did insane things to be able to do splits as quick as possible.
It’s probably better to focus a lot on flexibility for a month or two, and then be able just to maintain it with one or two light sessions per week.

The older you get, the more complicated stretching becomes if you have less training time, aquired bad movement patterns as well as injuries nad imbalances.

Could you tell us about your specific aims, please?
[/quote]

I’m 19 and as unflexible as they come. Main goal is to increase lower body flexibility so I can squat and deadlift without injurying my back, my pelvic tilts forward as I get lower. I assume this is from tight hamstrings, hip extensors, and flexors?

From what I gather from that link, it is ok to do dynamic flexibility drills without doing a steady state cardio warm up?

Can I stretch anytime during the day without injury? How did you guys get flexible?

Cheers

I got flexible from my early years as a kid doing TKD and through using Tom Kurz techniques’. You can do static relaxed stretches throughout the day as they don’t cause fatigue. Just don’t do them before a training session as they impair dynamic movement.

I was naturally flexible as a kid before Martial Arts…I always heard" Eww,you stretch like a girl" during P.E. classes.

It really didn’t start to show till starting Tang Soo Do as a teenager…then Combat Hapkido.

I stretched constantly…while watching TV…before bed…upon waking up…and just practicing kicks in slow motion…sometimes holding them.

For both boxing and grappling i do a light warm up before i stretch. Honestly I don’t stretch to hard either. I do my hardest stretching after, or at times I’m not grappling. Stretching makes me feel weaker, could be psychosomatic because i read that somewhere(T-Nation maybe?).

In any case, I don’t stretch much beforehand.
I’m not an extremely flexible guy naturally, it wasn’t till I started taking grappling classes instead of just doing it for the army that I realized I had a physical, wrestling based grappling game. I concentrate on dominating people and forcing things and less on slick subs. I was impressed with eddie bravo style rubber guard so I started working toward that. I’m able to use it effectively now. Increased flexibility has also helped me get sneakier w/ subs.

Xen, that site is bomb. Thanks.

Waits for someone to steal ideas from that site to publish revolutionary article on stretching, lol.

From my own experience, I do a light warm-up before stretching. And I stretch after practice, too.

Even as a kid in my TKD hey dey, I could never do a full side splits. I could do a full front splits easily, though.

I do a formal yoga class, too.

There’s no doubt that, at the end of class, you have greater range of motion doing the same poses/stretches than at the beginning of class.

So stretching longer and stretching when warm no doubt increase ROM.

i go to yoga class every now and then to pretend it helps my performance but im really there just trying to stick my dick in a yoga chick.

:-/

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
i go to yoga class every now and then to pretend it helps my performance but im really there just trying to stick my dick in a yoga chick.

:-/[/quote]

lol…wanna a record deal??

Even though I was naturally flexible…it took me a while to conquer full side splits…front splits had never been a problem. People also have this misconception that a “big” person cannot be flexible. Not having a huge ass gut doesn’t help though.

But being consistent is key(why does that apply to everything?)