T Nation

Static Stretching


#1

Im famous for my inflexibility.

So I have signed up for a daily online static stretching course that involves a 20 minute session of 3-4 different static stretches/yoga positions.

Whats the consensus on static stretching?

I train for general strength and wellbeing and do some BJJ on the side.

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#2

I think it gets a bad rap in the strength community and that the scientific backup for either position is ambiguous. I have always used some form of static stretching as a warmup prior to lifting.


#3

I do more what I guess you’d call dynamic stretching before lifting. For example, I use the hip circle thingy Mark Bells sells to warm-up the glutes and hips prior to squatting, band pull-aparts and overhead press to warm up for bench and OHP, etc…

I try to do 5-10 minutes of statics stretching throughout the day unrelated to lifting. I especially try to hit the hip flexors hard.


#4

YES! I static stretch. A LOT. It hasn’t hurt my lifting one bit. All good.

I like to stretch cold, and then I like to stretch again when I’m finished lifting. I’ve made the mistake of focusing mostly on my hammies and hip flexors. Now I’m doing more to stretch shoulders, wrists, and biceps. I thought I had AWESOME mobility, and I do for my lower body… But I’d tightened up my shoulders, biceps, forearms, and wrists more than I’d realized.

I heart Alan and his youtube channel. This video is worth the time, but if you just want to hear about static stretching, he covers it in the first 5 minutes. I laughed at the part from about 3:20 to about 3:48. Very funny.


#5

I like his shoulder stretches, and the wall hand stretch a lot. As you know, I look a lot like Mark Bell (so big I can hardly move) so this type of thing is super good for me. :wink:

Also, I’m doing more gymnastic type stretches for wrists and hands, like this. Hands flat on the floor, stretching through fingers and wrists.


#6

I stretch after training, but not much. I’ve figured out what stretches work and keep to those. Takes maybe five minutes.

I do spend 10-15 minutes doing my agile 8 and a couple of additional bits as I start training though.


#7

I am definitely pro-stretching. Not sure why so many writers now-a-days talk smack about it. It makes me feel good and move better.

I am a big fan of Alan Thrall as well @Powerpuff .


#8

Stretching is great on paper but in practice it doesn’t often do much good, usually because people misunderstand the application.

Static stretching will provide temporary relief from tight muscles, this much is certain, but unless you’re addressing why the muscles are tight, it’s missing the biggest piece of the puzzle.

If you’ve got weak/inactive glutes, all the hip stretching in the world isn’t going to fix your tight hip flexors, and if your mid/lower traps are weak then your rhomboids are going to be a fibrotic hell hole, and it’s going to take way more than just a pec minor stretch to take care of that.

IMO, strengthening the weak muscles will do more than stretching, although obviously you would ideally do both.

It’s also the case that a lot of times people just stretch what feels tight without giving much thought to why they’re tight, which can do more harm than good. Most people feel they have tight hamstrings, so they stretch them. What they don’t realise is their hamstrings are only tight because their pelvis is in anterior tilt, pulling their hamstrings into an already stretched position. Stretching the hamstrings only exacerbates the problem. Same with the lower back; it feels tight so people stretch it, but the reason it’s tight is because the core is weak, and stretching it actually makes it worse by encouraging movement at the lumbar spine, rather that the hips.

A little experiment to prove what I’m saying. Without rounding your back, try and touch your toes. If you can’t, do 3 sets of bird dogs with a nice slow, controlled tempo, and try again…


#9

Thanks for the replies friends.
Im not sure if Im allowed to mention it, but I’m doing Romwod daily. There philosophy is that stretching while “cold” is fine. I do my stretching in the AM when i work out in the PM and vice versa.

People often comment that I am inflexible. I used to put it down to the time I have spent in the gym.

@Yogi1: I agree with all that you say. I still plan to do my rehab work etc, but my goal with the stretching is to be just that little more flexible, which brings me up to what a normal person would be like. It would be cool to do the splits, although that would take me 5 years plus.

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#10

Bird, you’re an athletic person so I doubt the things below are a problem for you, but just getting to a more normal ROM is a good goal. It will certainly help with your BJJ. I realize I want more flexibility than most people for ballet.

@Yogi1 - You’re right about strength imbalances, inactive muscles, and decreased flexibility. So much about having good posture, or just being able to move well is about those three things. Sort of a triple threat. Forget about extreme ROM required for something like ballet or martial arts. There’s an epidemic of tight pecs, inwardly rotated shoulders, forward head posture, weak and lengthened muscles in the mid back… Usually along with tight hip flexors, inactive glutes, and if you really looked at those people they’d be tight all the way through their fingertips from just not doing anything physical. I see that everywhere, including my junior high and high school kids.


#11

I see that shit every time I look in the mirror, sadly…


#12

NSCA is anti static stretching before training, claim it negatively impacts performance. They prefer dynamic before working out.

But, static stretching does have benefits, so I would include it, just not as a warm up before training.


#13

Thanks for all of the replies friends.

I would not static stretch before working out. I have read enough to know this is counterproductive. I plan to do romped in the am if training in the pm and vice versa.

Next question: has it been proven static stretching on a constant basis will increase flexibility in the long term?

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#14

For me this has certainly been the case.


#15

I stretch and foam roll every morning and have (stretched) since I was 12. I can do the splits, along with other circus freak contortions For the most part, aside from a bad shoulder, I have very few achy muscles.