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Old 05-13-2006, 04:42 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Section: 4.9.1 Early-Morning Stretching

On the other hand, according to Kurz, “if you need [or want] to perform movements requiring considerable flexibility with [little or] no warm-up, you ought to make early morning stretching a part of your routine.” In order to do this properly, you need to first perform a general warm-up (see Section 4.1.1 [General Warm-Up]). You should then begin your early morning stretching by first performing some static stretches, followed by some light dynamic stretches. Basically, your early morning stretching regimen should be almost identical to a complete warm-up (see Section 4.1 [Warming Up]). The only difference is that you may wish to omit any sport-specific activity (see Section 4.1.3 [Sport-Specific Activity]), although it may be beneficial to perform it if you have time.

(Kurz doesn't ever advocate doing static stretches before dynamic ones. In order to be able to do (dynamic) movements requiring considerable flexibility he advocates doing dynamic stretches twice a day, moring and sometime later - Eric)

Section: 4.10 Stretching With a Partner

When done properly, stretches performed with the assistance of a partner can be more effective than stretches performed without a partner. This is especially true of isometric stretches (see Section 3.6 [Isometric Stretching]) and PNF stretches (see Section 3.7 [PNF Stretching]). The problem with using a partner, however, is that the partner does not feel what you feel, and thus cannot respond as quickly to any discomfort that might prompt you to immediately reduce the intensity (or some other aspect) of the stretch. This can greatly increase your risk of injury while performing a particular exercise.
If you do choose to stretch with a partner, make sure that it is someone you trust to pay close attention to you while you stretch, and to act appropriately when you signal that you are feeling pain or discomfort.

Section: 4.11 Stretching to Increase Flexibility

When stretching for the purpose of increasing overall flexibility, a stretching routine should accomplish, at the very least, two goals:
1. To train your stretch receptors to become accustomed to greater muscle length (see Section 1.6.1 [Proprioceptors]).
2. To reduce the resistance of connective tissues to muscle elongation (see Section 2.2.1 [How Connective Tissue Affects Flexibility]).

If you are attempting to increase active flexibility (see Section 2.1 [Types of Flexibility]), you will also want to strengthen the muscles responsible for holding the stretched limbs in their extended positions.

Before composing a particular stretching routine, you must first decide which types of flexibility you wish to increase (see Section 2.1 [Types of Flexibility]), and which stretching methods are best for achieving them (see Section 3 [Types of Stretching]). The best way to increase dynamic flexibility is by performing dynamic stretches, supplemented with static stretches. The best way to increase active flexibility is by performing active stretches, supplemented with static stretches. The fastest and most effective way currently known to increase passive flexibility is by performing PNF stretches (see Section 3.7 [PNF Stretching]).
If you are very serious about increasing overall flexibility, then I recommend religiously adhering to the following guidelines:

· Perform early-morning stretching everyday (see Section 4.9.1 [Early-Morning Stretching]).
· Warm-up properly before any and all athletic activities. Make sure to give yourself ample time to perform the complete warm-up. See Section
4.1 [Warming Up].
· Cool-down properly after any and all athletic activities. See Section
4.2 [Cooling Down].
· Always make sure your muscles are warmed-up before you stretch!
· Perform PNF stretching every other day, and static stretching on the off days (if you are overzealous, you can try static stretching every day, in addition to PNF stretching every other day).

Overall, you should expect to increase flexibility gradually. However, If you really commit to doing the above, you should (according to ‘SynerStretch’) achieve maximal upper-body flexibility within one month and maximal lower-body flexibility within two months. If you are older or more inflexible than most people, it will take longer than this.

Don’t try to increase flexibility too quickly by forcing yourself. Stretch no further than the muscles will go without pain. See Section 4.12.3 [Overstretching].

Section: 4.12 Pain and Discomfort

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort before, during, or after stretching or athletic activity, then you need to try to identify the cause. Severe pain (particularly in the joints, ligaments, or tendons) usually indicates a serious injury of some sort, and you may need to discontinue stretching and/or exercising until you have sufficiently recovered.

Section: 4.12.1 Common Causes of Muscular Soreness

If you are experiencing soreness, stiffness, or some other form of muscular pain, then it may be due to one or more of the following:

torn tissue
Overstretching and engaging in athletic activities without a proper warm-up can cause microscopic tearing of muscle fibers or connective tissues. If the tear is not too severe, the pain will usually not appear until one or two days after the activity that caused the damage. If the pain occurs during or immediately after the activity, then it may indicate a more serious tear (which may require medical attention). If the pain is not too severe, then light, careful static stretching of the injured area is supposedly okay to perform (see Section 3.5 [Static Stretching]). It is hypothesized that torn fibers heal at a shortened length, thus decreasing flexibility in the injured muscles. Very light stretching of the injured muscles helps reduce loss of flexibility resulting from the injury. Intense stretching of any kind, however, may only make matters worse.

metabolic accumulation
Overexertion and/or intense muscular activity will fatigue the muscles and cause them to accumulate lactic acid and other waste products. If this is the cause of your pain, then static stretching (see Section 3.5 [Static Stretching]), isometric stretching (see Section 3.6 [Isometric Stretching]), or a good warm-up (see Section 4.1 [Warming Up]) or cool-down (see Section 4.2 [Cooling Down]) will help alleviate some of the soreness. See Section 2.3.1 [Why Bodybuilders Should Stretch].

Massaging the sore muscles may also help relieve the pain (see Section 4.3 [Massage]). It has also been claimed that supplements of vitamin C will help alleviate this type of pain, but controlled tests using placebos have been unable to lend credibility to this hypothesis. The ingestion of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) before athletic activity has been shown to help increase the body’s buffering capacity and reduce the output of lactic acid. However, it can also cause urgent diarrhea.
muscle spasms

Exercising above a certain threshold can cause a decreased flow of blood to the active muscles. This can cause pain resulting in a protective reflex which contracts the muscle isotonically (see Section 1.5 [Types of Muscle Contractions]). The reflex contraction causes further decreases in blood flow, which causes more reflex contractions, and so on, causing the muscle to spasm by repeatedly contracting. One common example of this is a painful muscle cramp. Immediate static stretching of the cramped muscle can be helpful in relieving this type of pain. However, it can sometimes make things worse by activating the stretch reflex (see Section 1.6.2 [The Stretch Reflex]), which may cause further muscle contractions. Massaging the cramped muscle (and trying to relax it) may prove more useful than stretching in relieving this type of pain (see Section 4.3 [Massage]).

Section: 4.12.2 Stretching with Pain

If you are already experiencing some type of pain or discomfort before you begin stretching, then it is very important that you determine the cause of your pain (see Section 4.12.1 [Common Causes of Muscular Soreness]). Once you have determined the cause of the pain, you are in a better position to decide whether or not you should attempt to stretch the affected area.

Also, according to M. Alter, it is important to remember that some amount of soreness will almost always be experienced by individuals that have not stretched or exercised much in the last few months (this is the price you pay for being inactive). However, well-trained and conditioned athletes who work-out at elevated levels of intensity or difficulty can also become sore. You should cease exercising immediately if you feel or hear anything tearing or popping. Remember the acronym “RICE” when caring for an injured body part. RICE stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. This will help to minimize the pain and swelling. You should then seek appropriate professional medical advice.

Section: 4.12.3 Overstretching

If you stretch properly, you should not be sore the day after you have stretched. If you are, then it may be an indication that you are overstretching and that you need to go easier on your muscles by reducing the intensity of some (or all) of the stretches you perform. Overstretching will simply increase the time it takes for you to gain greater flexibility. This is because it takes time for the damaged muscles to repair themselves, and to offer you the same flexibility as before they were injured.

One of the easiest ways to “overstretch” is to stretch “cold” (without any warm-up). A “maximal cold stretch” is not necessarily a desirable thing. Just because a muscle can be moved to its limit without warming up doesn’t mean it is ready for the strain that a workout will place on it.
Obviously, during a stretch (even when you stretch properly) you are going to feel some amount of discomfort. The difficulty is being able to discern when it is too much. In her book, ‘Stretch and Strengthen’, Judy Alter describes what she calls “ouch! pain”: If you feel like saying “ouch!” (or perhaps something even more explicit) then you should ease up immediately and discontinue the stretch. You should definitely feel the tension in your muscle, and perhaps even light, gradual “pins and needles”, but if it becomes sudden, sharp, or uncomfortable, then you are overdoing it and are probably tearing some muscle tissue (or worse). In some cases, you may follow all of these guidelines when you stretch, feeling that you are not in any “real” pain, but still be sore the next day. If this is the case, then you will need to become accustomed to stretching with less discomfort (you might be one of those “stretching masochists” that take great pleasure in the pain that comes from stretching).

Quite frequently, the progression of sensations you feel as you reach the extreme ranges of a stretch are: localized warmth of the stretched muscles, followed by a burning (or spasm-like) sensation, followed by sharp pain (or “ouch!” pain). The localized warming will usually occur at the origin, or point of insertion, of the stretched muscles. When you begin to feel this, it is your first clue that you may need to “back off” and reduce the intensity of the stretch. If you ignore (or do not feel) the warming sensation, and you proceed to the point where you feel a definite burning sensation in the stretched muscles, then you should ease up immediately and discontinue the stretch! You may not be sore yet, but you probably will be the following day. If your stretch gets to the point where you feel sharp pain, it is quite likely that the stretch has already resulted in tissue damage which may cause immediate pain and soreness that persists for several days.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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