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Stretching... Flexibility..

Hi,

I don’t know who to really trust on this subject, so does anyone have any reccommendations for developing flexibility the right way? I’m looking for a book, preferably. I used to think stretching was simple, but now there seem to be so many different opinions. I’d like something that will sort of set the record straight for me. Thanks.

Magnificent Mobility. Check it out in the T-Nation store. It’s a DVD, but it should be just what you’re looking for.

Chad

Hmmm…I know about Magnificent Mobility, but isn’t that for pre-workout warming up? I know it will be great for triggering muscle groups in preparation for lifting, but I’m thinking more along the lines of recovery, etc.

bump.

Trust me; you’ll get what you need.

Check Stew’s articles:

He touches on stretching in some of his free pdfs.

I agree that Magnificent Mobility is a good source.

Only trouble I have with such a product is it’s on DVD. You can’t necessarily bring your DVD with you to watch it as you stretch at the gym.

I just ordered this book (Stretching Anatomy by Arnold G. Nelson, PhD. and got it the other day in the mail. Just came out in past few months so its info is relevant.

Flipping through it - it’s top notch. Bought it for its ease of showing pictures to clients on how to get into and perform a stretch (easier to see it than verbally explain it).
This book clearly shows the anatomy (exact muscles and bone insertions of those muscles) that are intending to be stretched. Gives safety tips. I was surprised by all the different types of stretches they show.

It’s so chalk full of info that it’s gonna take some time to read it all. And the illustrations are pretty decent (not as good as Strength Training Anatomy however; which ia one of my favorite fully illustrated books on the matter of exercise execution).

Human Kinetics has a lot of great books on all sorts of health/body/sport topics. Courses and stuff are available online as well if you’re looking for that.

Cheers!

Although I haven’t looked at the magnificent mobility book, pre-workout dynamic movements have been a great addition to my program. It put a lot less emphasis on me having passive stretching all day…even though you still have to do that.

Btw, I can overhead squat ATG barefoot with a shoulder width-grip.

Here is what you need:

1: Piece of Paper
2: Pen/Pencil OR some other writing device, Crayon perhaps?

Write down what exercises you think will help, and bring said paper to gym with you.

Seriously, all kidding aside, MM is explained in such a way that I would bet most people can do the exercises on their own after viewing it a few times. Even a complete motor idiot could probably nail em’ in 4-5 sessions. You just need to work on it.

As for the point about recovery vs. pre-workout warm-up, I can personally attest to two things:

  1. If you do these drills consistently at the start of each workout, you will begin to “feel” better daily, and find that your more mobile on the regular.

  2. These are great as active recovery sessions. I can chill in a hot tub and do a bunch of static stretching, and feel great afterwards, but the next morning I am only slightly improved. I can do 5-6 quick drills that help me, than sit in the ole’ tub and feel great the next day. The key is it takes slightly more effort to do these than it does to static stretch, but the results are worth it.

Cheers,

Pat

[quote]AllTraps wrote:
I agree that Magnificent Mobility is a good source.

Only trouble I have with such a product is it’s on DVD. You can’t necessarily bring your DVD with you to watch it as you stretch at the gym.

I just ordered this book (Stretching Anatomy by Arnold G. Nelson, PhD. and got it the other day in the mail. Just came out in past few months so its info is relevant.

Flipping through it - it’s top notch. Bought it for its ease of showing pictures to clients on how to get into and perform a stretch (easier to see it than verbally explain it).
This book clearly shows the anatomy (exact muscles and bone insertions of those muscles) that are intending to be stretched. Gives safety tips. I was surprised by all the different types of stretches they show.

It’s so chalk full of info that it’s gonna take some time to read it all. And the illustrations are pretty decent (not as good as Strength Training Anatomy however; which ia one of my favorite fully illustrated books on the matter of exercise execution).

Human Kinetics has a lot of great books on all sorts of health/body/sport topics. Courses and stuff are available online as well if you’re looking for that.

Cheers!
[/quote]

Dynamic, Static stretching and a foam roller should be a mainstay in your program no matter what, but I would perform static stretching after your workouts(maybe a half to an hr later), where you can use dynamic warmup before your workout.

I would also recommend the foam roller or a tennis ball for rolling on your muscle tissue to release any spasms or adhesions that need to be broken up.

What I would do: Dynamic stretching 1-2x a day, followed by static stretching at least 1x per day. Foam roller whenever you need to.

Just w/e you do, dont stretch the first hour in the morning due to the back having too much water in the discs, could easily do disc damage in the morning.

Remember, the more consistent you are with stretching just like weight training, your gains will gradually come over time. Just make sure you devote as much or more time to stretching as you do to your weight training.

I’ve done the splits and could do a full back bridge to walkover, have put my head on my knees and my hands around my heels in a seated toe touch. When I was less active I couldn’t even touch my toes at all and was nowhere near doing the splits.

The number one thing I can possibly say is that frequency is the most important. I found that I have to stretch an absolute minimum of 4 days a week if I want to make progress in my flexibility.

I trained Tae Kwon Do for 3 years, which is known for it’s high kicks and we used plenty of dynamic, static and contract-relax stretches which I think are all useful in adding to your flexibility.

If I had to pick a single approach, I would use static stretching, but to do the splits I had to incorporate PNF stretches. All forms of stretching have their limitations.

I cannot recommend any books as I’ve never found any that I thought were that great, well aside from an old Health for Life publication (maybe Super Stretching was the title?). I used to own Pavel’s stretching books, Tom Kurz’s book, Bob Anderson’s book, the original PNF manual, multiple books on Thai Massage (which is a form of assisted stretching), and have looked at others aimed at dancers, general athletic stretching, active isolated stretching, etc. There are some good stretches in all of them, but I don’t really care for the approach in any of them.

My goals have always been to develop extreme ranges of flexibility for martial arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as Tae Kwon Do), so I’m biased towards methods that work for those purposes. You may be looking for other goals, so other approaches may be better for you.

[quote]AllTraps wrote:

I just ordered this book (Stretching Anatomy by Arnold G. Nelson, PhD. and got it the other day in the mail. Just came out in past few months so its info is relevant…

[/quote]

That book looks really good.

[quote]Bram Wiley wrote:
AllTraps wrote:

I just ordered this book (Stretching Anatomy by Arnold G. Nelson, PhD. and got it the other day in the mail. Just came out in past few months so its info is relevant…

That book looks really good.[/quote]

It’s excellent! Best book on the subject I’ve seen to date.
I in agreeance with other posters about dynamic stretching. But for illustrated static stretches for nearly every muscle this book is tops!