Stretching Routine

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airhog
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Stretching Routine

Post by airhog » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:26 pm

I need soem advice on my stretching routing.

The purpose of this routine is to increase the flexibility, mostly in my lower body.
I have issues with my back rounding during squats, and I am pretty positive this is the reason why. I also sit alot of work, which doesnt help, and my posture is pretty poor.

Here is the routine I have came up with. I plan to do this 2x a week after I do HIIT. This is in addition to my fullbody lifting routing. HIIT and stretching is done on the off days, with 2 days of rest each week

Prone Glute Stretch
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Standing Quad Stretch
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Step Calf Stretch
Seated Groin Stretch
Squatting Groin Stretch
Doorway Chest Stretch
Standing Biceps Stretch
Standing Tricpes Stretch


Am i getting any real benefit from doing 3 different hamstring stretches? Am I missing an key lower body items?


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Post by Proper Knob » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:37 pm

Overkill on the hamstrings i would say. Most people think they have weak/tight hamstrings when the opposite is true. You're more likely to have an anteriorally tilted pelvis resulting from tight hip flexors and weak glutes. As a result of this your pelvis is being pulled up from the back and pulling on your hamstrings and giving you the impression you have tight hammies. Stretching them even more is not going to do them any good.

I would say focus more on your quads, hip flexors, glutes/piriformis, lower back, TFL/ITB.

I've done a lot of reading on this recently as i have 'issues' (for want of a better word) with my pelvis/hip area.

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Post by KPj » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:50 am

Proper Knob wrote:Overkill on the hamstrings i would say. Most people think they have weak/tight hamstrings when the opposite is true. You're more likely to have an anteriorally tilted pelvis resulting from tight hip flexors and weak glutes. As a result of this your pelvis is being pulled up from the back and pulling on your hamstrings and giving you the impression you have tight hammies. Stretching them even more is not going to do them any good.

I would say focus more on your quads, hip flexors, glutes/piriformis, lower back, TFL/ITB.

I've done a lot of reading on this recently as i have 'issues' (for want of a better word) with my pelvis/hip area.
Couldn't really of put it better myself. Only thing I would remove is the lower back stretching. With tight hips, the lower back is normally stretched just from moving around in day to day tasks, and a lot of the time, its in a stretched position when your sitting down. Therefore, there's normally more than enough ROM in the lower back. . Recently, I seen this being referred to as similar to hitting your thumb gently with a hammer, constantly. It won't hurt or cause any discomfort for a ages, but eventually, it'll become overly sensitive and start hurting. This is analogous to daily activities like sitting slumped over a desk with a rounded back. Picking things up off the floor whilst rounding the lower back, doing rounded back lifting, sitting with a rounded back between sets, etc - eventually, it's going to start hurting.

Everything else you mentioned are big culprits, especially the quads/hip flexors.

Also, in my experience, your not going to see progress quick enough to keep your sanity unless you stretch atleast once per day. Especially if your sitting all day. You can actually use the correct stretches but not see any progress because it's just not enough.

Also, check your squat form. If your like most, you'll try and sit straight down by bending your knees. To squat correctly, first you need to push your hips BACK (before bending the knees), then push your knees and feet out to the sides, whilst keeping the chest up. So, move the hips back first, then bend the knees.

KPj

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Post by airhog » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:39 pm

KPj wrote: Also, in my experience, your not going to see progress quick enough to keep your sanity unless you stretch atleast once per day. Especially if your sitting all day. You can actually use the correct stretches but not see any progress because it's just not enough.

Also, check your squat form. If your like most, you'll try and sit straight down by bending your knees. To squat correctly, first you need to push your hips BACK (before bending the knees), then push your knees and feet out to the sides, whilst keeping the chest up. So, move the hips back first, then bend the knees.

KPj
The website's stretching information shows a study that says the following

McCallister et. al. (2004) found that longer recovery days between stretching seemed to enhance stand and reach measurements:

I was basing my stretching plan on that. I really don't have the time to stretch at the gym during my lifting days either. With anything else though, if I don't feel that stretching twice a week is enough, I'll try to up that, even if it means doing some stretchs at home. I definately will be modifying the plan though, to include some different stretches.

On my squat technique, I am conciously trying to sit down by doing exactly what you suggested. By pushing the hips back, and keeping my chest up. I think I have fixed one problem though, and that was leaning forward during the squat.

I've been doing air squats in the mirror at the gym. trying to visualize good form. Ive also attempting to visualize that I am squatting upside down as someone else suggested. But when my thigh angle reaches about 15-20deg above horizontal plane my back rounds over. I just plan to keep working at my form, because I know that very few people can squat properly in the beginning.

In the meantime I am just raising the safety bars in the power cage to prevent me from going lower than it is safe. I would do box squats, but there is nothing in the gym that is high enough to use safely.

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:47 pm

What do you mean by "lower than is safe?"


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Post by pdellorto » Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:49 pm

You can always stack aerobic stairs for use as a box, I've heard.

You can stack 45# plates, too. It's good GPP (general physical preparedness), too, if you need a lot of them.

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Post by brook011 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:00 pm

Speaking of stretching, anyone know how to help with tightness in my hips when squatting? It actually can be painful to get my squat down to parallel the first few sets, and then gets better after two sets or so. I've tried squatting down but still hurts like hell til they stretch.

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Post by TimD » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:50 pm

Brooke, just wait till you get older. Will probably hurt more, and take longer. I do this, every morning upon waking. Free bodyweight arms up squats, then take a painters stick and do overheads squats, then go to an O bar and do front squats, then an O bar and do cheerleaders (back squat-behind neck pushpress combo). This This kind of loosens and stretches me out. Mind you, even the beginning hurts, but it goes away quickly, especially if you do it daily, and as a warmup for a workout.
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Post by KPj » Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:55 am

airhog wrote: The website's stretching information shows a study that says the following

McCallister et. al. (2004) found that longer recovery days between stretching seemed to enhance stand and reach measurements:

I was basing my stretching plan on that. I really don't have the time to stretch at the gym during my lifting days either. With anything else though, if I don't feel that stretching twice a week is enough, I'll try to up that, even if it means doing some stretchs at home.
Stretching / flexiblity requirements are largely dependant on your life style, goals (i.e. a deeper squat), and your current imbalances. In your case, your coming from behind - you need to 'improve'. It looks like the study referenced above is referring to general maintenance. But life style really does have a huge impact. If you take the quads and hip flexors in the seated position - they are in a shortened state. The effects over a long period of time are the opposite to stretching. They adjust by shortening in length... It makes sense to balance that out by stretching more regularly.

By all means, don't do it everyday and see how it goes. Everyone's different. It's just in my own experience, any less than every day doesn't do much. From someone with a desk job, and went from a barely parellel squat to a full depth squat. Interestingly, if I don't continue to stretch atleast 4 times per week now, i lose squat depth - remember that i'm now technically maintaining it, not improving on it.

Stretching before bed is a good time to do it. I picked that tip up from Mike Robertsons stuff. It eventually becomes habbit and there's less likely to be something to stop you from doing it.
airhog wrote: I would do box squats, but there is nothing in the gym that is high enough to use safely.
I use Aerobic steps (as Peter suggested), stacked, and if I need to get more specific with the height, I put some weight discs on it. I started off using a bench with discs stacked on it. The bench alone took me to just above parallel. I would highly recommend box squats. Infact, if you happened to train with me, it's all you would be doing! Squating down and sitting fully on the box. It offers greater benefits to the free squat. People with your type of issues tend to have weak posterior chains (glutes hams lower back). Free Squats above parallel can technically 'feed' the imbalance, by emphasising the quads in an already quad dominant person. Box squats allow you to sit much further back and get emphasis on the muscles that need it most, straight away, at a depth that's safe for you, too.

However, don't let me criticise the free squat too much in your case. The bottom line is, you need to squat to get good at squating and stay good at squatting. If your stretching the right muscles, and your free squatting, then eventually things will sort themselves. You'll just get more bang for your buck if your doing box squats.

Best advice I can give you is just write down what your doing, including the stretching. Monitor it over 4 weeks - don't expect to get over the problem in 4 weeks, but expect an improvement. If you don't see an improvement in 4 weeks, it's not working - back to the drawing board. Howver by doing something that doesn't work in a structured manner like that, you'll learn a lot, and you'll be better versed for the next attempt.

KPj

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Post by KPj » Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:13 am

brook011 wrote:Speaking of stretching, anyone know how to help with tightness in my hips when squatting? It actually can be painful to get my squat down to parallel the first few sets, and then gets better after two sets or so. I've tried squatting down but still hurts like hell til they stretch.
Where does it hurt?

Really, the challenge is finding what muscles are tight, and stretching them enough. I've not met many people who don't have tight quads and hip flexors, so it's always a good place to start.

In the article below there's an 'upper quad / hip flexor stretch(hip emphasis). This should be a staple in most people routine. Personally I do it BEFORE every training session - right before I warm up.

However, you need to look at the hip rotators, too. I would suggest you play around with some of these stretches, you'll be able to just 'feel' what's tight - it'l be uncomfortable / painfull with very little ROM.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... ng_part_ii

I'm a very big fan of dynamic stretching. Which is just a fancy term for doing body weight movements, really. What Tim does every morning could be classed as a 'dynamic stretching routine', ya know, if you're ever trying to impress someone.

My dynamic warm up, which I try and do between lifting days, too, is taken mostly from Magnificient Mobility (lower body focus) and Inside Out (upper body focus). The advantage of investing in these products is that you have a library of movements to choose from and progress to. You take a movement that's challenging, use it, when it gets too easy, you pick a more difficult one. Before you know it you're magnificiently mobile. (Did I just type that? :eek: )

Seriously, though, I would highly recommend you (and anyone) put together a 10 minute dynamic stretching routine. Either through movements you can find for free on the net or through buying a DVD like Magnificient Mobility. Make it your warm up, and do it every day, too. You'll feel great.

KPj

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Post by airhog » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:38 am

Jungledoc wrote:What do you mean by "lower than is safe?"
Im not going any lower than the point at which my back starts to round.

I would like to be able one day to squat below parallel, but Im not going to sqaut any lower than I can without my back rounding.

Thats the main focus of stretching for me, is so that I can achieve a greater ROM during squats.

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Post by airhog » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:48 am

KPj wrote:
brook011 wrote:I'm a very big fan of dynamic stretching. Which is just a fancy term for doing body weight movements, really. What Tim does every morning could be classed as a 'dynamic stretching routine', ya know, if you're ever trying to impress someone.

Seriously, though, I would highly recommend you (and anyone) put together a 10 minute dynamic stretching routine. Either through movements you can find for free on the net or through buying a DVD like Magnificient Mobility. Make it your warm up, and do it every day, too. You'll feel great.

KPj
Thanks for the info, I would definately like to start doing a dynamic warmup routine before I lift. I will be checking out some good exercises to do.

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Post by Jungledoc » Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:17 pm

airhog wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:What do you mean by "lower than is safe?"
Im not going any lower than the point at which my back starts to round.

I would like to be able one day to squat below parallel, but Im not going to sqaut any lower than I can without my back rounding.

Thats the main focus of stretching for me, is so that I can achieve a greater ROM during squats.
Good! That's what I was hoping you meant.

Did you already say that you have gone through the "Squat Rx" videos?

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Post by airhog » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:47 pm

quote="Jungledoc"]
Did you already say that you have gone through the "Squat Rx" videos?[/quote]

I have watched a few of them. I dont have regular access to videos though, since I primarly access the site during work. I will have to check more of them out though.

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Post by caangelxox » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:11 am

I defiantly also need to stretch more. I usually only do it when I weightrain or play sports. I am also right handed, so I don't know why the right side on some muscles is weaker than the other side. playing softball and batting left handed I guess makes sense.

lower body inflexiblity I know I have for sure...

- right hamstring more flexibility than left

- right abductor is weaker than the left

- left adductor is weaker than the right

- right glute is tighter than the left (according to the supine glute stretch). I think its my pirformis that is tight.

- I am not sure which hip flexor is more flexible than the other anymore because I stretch them so much now, but when I try to step as far as I can and my hamstring gets involved, my left is tighter because my left hamstring is tight.

- I defiantly know that the right oblique side is more flexible than the left because if I stand up and just relax my muscles, my body goes to that side automatically like I am doing a side bend.




should I stretch everyday even if I am not working out or anything? before work and after work? I work at ralphs, so I stand up all day. I am either bagging or greeting customers


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