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Stretching... (Read 1663 times)

    I train frequently by running, biking and swimming.  Over the past couple of months, I started going to a Cardio - Interval class at the local recreation center with my wife.  

    First of all, the majority of the people there are women (15 women, 3 men).  During the 45 minute interval class, I'm fine.  For the last 5 minutes, though, we stretch, and I realize that I cannot do what the others do. 

    Specifically, there are stretches involving the hamstrings and the hips that are so foreign to me and I cannot even imagine how I might be able to do it.  For example, right toe through right knee touching ground perpendicular to the line of my body (head to left toe) while allowing my hips to drop and my arms and torso to reach forward to the mat in front of me.  (I cannot even attempt to do that stretch).

    I consider myself to be above average in cardio and endurance. 
    I consider my flexibility to be below average.
    How important is flexibility? 
    Am I limiting myself by not being able to stretch properly?

    Possible reasons why I'm not as flexible:
    1. Men and women are built differently, and those 15 women and the teacher can simply do it.  (The other 2 guys can't do it well either, but their reasons may be different than mine).
    2. My hips, hamstrings, and quads are developed in a manner that prevents flexibility but allows for running, biking, and swimming strength
    3. I do not spend enough effort developing flexibility, and if I did, I would improve my results within my primary training.

    Thoughts?
    Cheers,
    Brian

    2014 Goals:

    #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

    #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

     

      Personally I think flexibility adds to quality of life.

       

      In re: to running / biking and swimming performance I can't tell you if more or less range of motion is better or worse.

       

      What do you mean "Stretch Properly"

       

      I've fallen out of my routine of stretching and I'm beginning to notice it. Simple things like putting on socks even. Maybe this thread is the gentle push I need to get back at it.

      www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

         

        What do you mean "Stretch Properly"

         

        The question I wrote was: "Am I limiting myself by not being able to stretch properly?"

        I used the term "stretch properly" while the question should have been:   "Am I limiting myself by not being able to have as flexible a muscular system as I could have since I don't put enough focus on stretching?"

         

        The question is whether I am limiting my potential (running efficiency, swimming, biking, ...) by not being as agile and flexible as I could be.


        I'm thinking of those that train for triathlons in particular that incorporate Yoga in their training plan.

        I'm VERY FAR AWAY from ever thinking I could do Yoga, but after doing the class for the past couple of months, and having the teacher / trainer use me as an example of what to avoid when you stretch (ie. "don't do what Brian is doing"), then I wonder whether a class like that might help me.

         

        Thanks,

        2014 Goals:

        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

        #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

         

        xor


          Without getting to the heart of your question (because, honestly, "should I stretch?" is one of those polarizing questions in the running community), I will say this about yoga: change your mindset.  The whole concept of yoga practice revolves around the idea that it is, indeed, practice.  Few people go into yoga and immediately do all the crazy positions and forms and super bendy stuff.  In fact, most yoga classes involve positions and transitions that have several levels and options depending on individual abilities and needs.  That's also where the blocks and straps and whatnot get useful.

           

          What I'm saying is don't look at it as being "very far away" from being able to do yoga.  Find a nice intro class and you can start, well, now.

           

          The thing about yoga is that it is more than just stretching.  Way more.

           

          (as for stretching, I do it because I think it helps me on trails and flexibility is good for a lot more than just running... but I don't think it helps me be a better road runner.  And I never stretch after long runs and long races.  But I think yoga helps me be a better runner for sure.  The breathing, centered-ness, strength building, and overall hippie nature are all good)

           

            Without getting to the heart of your question (because, honestly, "should I stretch?" is one of those polarizing questions in the running community), I will say this about yoga: change your mindset.  The whole concept of yoga practice revolves around the idea that it is, indeed, practice.  Few people go into yoga and immediately do all the crazy positions and forms and super bendy stuff.  In fact, most yoga classes involve positions and transitions that have several levels and options depending on individual abilities and needs.  That's also where the blocks and straps and whatnot get useful.

             

            What I'm saying is don't look at it as being "very far away" from being able to do yoga.  Find a nice intro class and you can start, well, now.

             

            The thing about yoga is that it is more than just stretching.  Way more.

             

            (as for stretching, I do it because I think it helps me on trails and flexibility is good for a lot more than just running... but I don't think it helps me be a better road runner.  And I never stretch after long runs and long races.  But I think yoga helps me be a better runner for sure.  The breathing, centered-ness, strength building, and overall hippie nature are all good)

             

            Sr Lopez said it all.........

             

            If your interested it stretching - find a beginners Yoga class, you'll get stretching but as SR said you will get  alot more.   

            Champions are made when no one is watching

              Without getting to the heart of your question (because, honestly, "should I stretch?" is one of those polarizing questions in the running community), ....

               
              The heart of my question was more on improving flexibility, and not on "should I stretch before I run".

              Thanks.  I'll likely look into the yoga classes.


              Brian

              2014 Goals:

              #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

              #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

               


              Fast Ninja

                take yoga and pilates and brisk walking

                xor


                   
                  The heart of my question was more on improving flexibility, and not on "should I stretch before I run".

                  Thanks.  I'll likely look into the yoga classes.


                  Brian

                   

                  I did not add the "...before I run" clause, you did that.  "Should I stretch (at all)" aka "does improving flexibility help" is the polarizing question. 

                   

                      There is an argument that flexibility "might" decrease strength. So there

                       

                      I'm not sure if you are mis understanding some of the studies or talking about something else.

                       

                      There are studies that indicate that deep stretching prior to a strength event does negativetly impact performance. This is different than saying flexibility effects ones strength.

                       

                      A discus thrower, golfer, Pitcher, kick boxer, etc all benefit and display greater strength because of flexibility. It allows them to "wind" up more and deliver a greater force.

                       

                      Cheerleading, acrobats, dancing are a few more were flexibility may actually increase thier strength.

                       

                      I'm on the side that says flexibility is good and one should practice some form of stretching. I have no proof to offer though.

                       

                      MTA: Happyfeet...did you change your tune. That guy is a martial artist and a BIG advocate of stretching. All that stuff on his website is cut and paste and you can find much of it elsewhere.

                      www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

                        The heart of my question was more on improving flexibility, and not on "should I stretch before I run".

                        Thanks.  I'll likely look into the yoga classes.

                        I did martial arts for about five years: worked out 6-7 days/week.  We ALWAYS stretched before workouts, and I usually stretched again at the end of mine.  After five years of that, my flexibility had increased noticeably but not OMG'edly.  That is, I think the muscles (and whatnot) got more "actively supple" but I didn't really see a huge range-of-motion improvement during static stretching.

                         

                        FWIW, too, the women in the classes were, as a rule, far more flexible than the men.  Sitting on the floor with legs extended in front, most guys couldn't reach forward and grasp their toes with both hands; I never once saw a woman who could not do that.

                         

                         

                        All that said, I find that post-run stretching does seem to make a difference in how I feel the rest of the day (for the better) and seemed to correlate with reduced training-log complaints about random pains.  YMMV.

                        “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                          I did not add the "...before I run" clause, you did that.  "Should I stretch (at all)" aka "does improving flexibility help" is the polarizing question. 

                           

                          Oops.  I assumed that's what you meant.  Thanks,

                          2014 Goals:

                          #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                          #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                           

                             

                            MTA: Happyfeet...did you change your tune. That guy is a martial artist and a BIG advocate of stretching. All that stuff on his website is cut and paste and you can find much of it elsewhere.

                             I did, since the wording was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to say (trying to be ironic or something) and the link did not work with that "So there" part which was supposed to be the link now posted.


                            running yogi

                              Without getting to the heart of your question (because, honestly, "should I stretch?" is one of those polarizing questions in the running community), I will say this about yoga: change your mindset.  The whole concept of yoga practice revolves around the idea that it is, indeed, practice.  Few people go into yoga and immediately do all the crazy positions and forms and super bendy stuff.  In fact, most yoga classes involve positions and transitions that have several levels and options depending on individual abilities and needs.  That's also where the blocks and straps and whatnot get useful.

                               

                              What I'm saying is don't look at it as being "very far away" from being able to do yoga.  Find a nice intro class and you can start, well, now.

                               

                              The thing about yoga is that it is more than just stretching.  Way more.

                               

                              (as for stretching, I do it because I think it helps me on trails and flexibility is good for a lot more than just running... but I don't think it helps me be a better road runner.  And I never stretch after long runs and long races.  But I think yoga helps me be a better runner for sure.  The breathing, centered-ness, strength building, and overall hippie nature are all good)

                               All the yoga stuff - I totally agree, well except may be the hippie part.