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Muscle "Lengthening" Exercises? (Read 245 times)

L.Chang


    Someone once told me that Pilates tones your body and lengthens your muscles. I do mostly yoga (some pilates) and just started doing some ballet exercises when I'm not running. I'm just wondering how it is possible that certain exercises lengthen one's muscles--does this mean that the exercises can prevent you from looking stout? Is there someone here who is knowledgeable about this?


    Feeling the growl again

      Lengthening muscles requires long static stretches.  Those prescribed for me for my hip flexors require holding the stretch for a minimum of five minutes.

       

      Short stretches do not permanently lengthen the muscle.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        Spaniel, I'd appreciate any info on the hip flexor stretches, and woul working towards that 5 min help, kind of tired of walking like an old man hunched over when I get off a chair

        justWalk


          How long would I have to do these "static stretches" to see results, 1 month? 5mins is a awful long time to hold at a static position.

          scappodaqui


          rather be sprinting

            No. Static stretching does not appreciably lengthen your muscles. Muscles in the human body work like cables. If they have great cross-sectional area, they exert more force. You seem to be asking if you can make your muscles thinner. Um, yes, you can, if you let them atrophy, don't do strength training or sprints, etc.  Your muscle will become weaker and smaller.

             

            Of course, I suspect that any 'stout' appearance most people have is due more to their body fat percentage than to the shape and size of their muscles.

             

            That, and your bone structure. For instance, if you have short limbs, you can't lengthen them by stretching. The limb itself is the length it is. Yes, people with longer legs will look thinner simply because of the width-to-length ratio. In addition, muscle insertion points vary, which is why some people have that (in my opinion enviable) biceps peak whereas others have more of a flat muscle there.

             

            It's not the absolute size that's so different, just the configuration, and you can't change that. In short, the idea of lengthening muscles to appear long and lean is asinine. If you want to look muscle-less and noodly, just go on an extreme diet (and/or do only massive amounts of low-intensity cardio) until you've decreased your muscle mass (and fat mass) as desired, I guess. Doesn't seem healthy to me.

            PRs: 5k 19:25, mile 5:38, HM 1:30:56

            Lifting PRs: back squat 176 lb


            Feeling the growl again

              No. Static stretching does not appreciably lengthen your muscles. Muscles in the human body work like cables. If they have great cross-sectional area, they exert more force. You seem to be asking if you can make your muscles thinner. Um, yes, you can, if you let them atrophy, don't do strength training or sprints, etc.  Your muscle will become weaker and smaller.

               

               

              The medical professionals (several) I have consulted beg to differ.  With all due respect I will take their consult over yours.

               

              Lengthening muscles to increase range of motion/flexibility, and making them thinner, are two different things.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               


              Feeling the growl again

                Spaniel, I'd appreciate any info on the hip flexor stretches, and woul working towards that 5 min help, kind of tired of walking like an old man hunched over when I get off a chair

                 

                Kneel with one foot on the ground in front of you, knee at a 90 degree angle.  Other knee on the ground, foot behind you.  You are stretching the flexor for the leg with the knee on the ground.  Keeping your back very straight (this may take concentration), move your hips forward.  You may need to reposition your foot in front of you more forward.  You should start to feel the hip flexor stretch.  Keep the stretching feeling constant, meaning you may need to reposition as it loosens a bit.  Keep it up for 5-7 minutes then switch.  Repeat 3-5 times per week.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                  Thanks, kind of been doing that stretch but for 30 seconds on each side.  Will try to hold the stretch and extend as it gets loose and see if the situation improves, 5-7 minutes feels like a long time but I guess is needed.


                  Feeling the growl again

                    Thanks, kind of been doing that stretch but for 30 seconds on each side.  Will try to hold the stretch and extend as it gets loose and see if the situation improves, 5-7 minutes feels like a long time but I guess is needed.

                     

                    Yes.  30 seconds is pretty meaningless.   A week or two of what I described and you will definitely notice a difference.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                     

                    mab411


                    Proboscis Colossus

                      Thanks, kind of been doing that stretch but for 30 seconds on each side.  Will try to hold the stretch and extend as it gets loose and see if the situation improves, 5-7 minutes feels like a long time but I guess is needed.

                       

                      Me too, after most runs.  Just to stretch out the muscles when they're warm, for flexibility, not necessarily to lengthen them.

                       

                      I do feel it stretching my hip flexors...do I detect that it's stretching my quads, as well?

                      "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                      Feeling the growl again

                         

                         

                         

                        I do feel it stretching my hip flexors...do I detect that it's stretching my quads, as well?

                         

                        Perhaps somewhat, but as the upper attachment point for the quads is different you would be better to use the classic quad stretch, pulling your foot up behind you to your butt, to stretch your quads.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         

                           

                          Yes.  30 seconds is pretty meaningless.   A week or two of what I described and you will definitely notice a difference.

                           

                          I assume you mean that 30 seconds is meaningless for stretches with the purpose of addressing the OP's original query and not all stretches in general (i.e. when you are cooling down after the run)? I generally stretch for 50 seconds through multiple sets of various stretches as part of the cool down - taking a cue directly from Pfitz' book where he says between 30 seconds to a minute is good to go.

                           

                          Its logical why a sustained stretch would have a more permanent effect on the muscle group itself .. although 5 minutes does sound like an eternity.

                          I dont sweat. I ooze liquid awesome.


                          Feeling the growl again

                             

                            I assume you mean that 30 seconds is meaningless for stretches with the purpose of addressing the OP's original query and not all stretches in general (i.e. when you are cooling down after the run)? 

                             

                            Yes, that was the context of the discussion.

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             

                               

                              Yes, that was the context of the discussion.

                               

                              I have the Jay Dicharry book, Anatomy for Runners, and he talks quite a bit about stretching and lengthning of muscles.  I highly recommend it.  He would agree with what Spaniel is saying.


                              Running Chick

                                I'm really bad at stretching out after runs (do stretch, but very little).  But, i do yoga once a week, maybe twice; and i think that helps some.  30 seconds won't help much,, but an hour of yoga stretching, even once a week may help.....

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