CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-22-2005, 05:31 AM   #1
Larry Lindenman
Affiliate Larry Lindenman is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Chicago  Illinois
Posts: 2,769
Why do we do the Sampson Stretch for our official Crossfit Warm-up? There has been a din lately about stretching, especially static stretching. Our resident gymnastics coaches endorse stretching after a workout. Dan John says overhead squats are all you need and stretching, especially in warm-ups could cause injury! I’m not going to argue with any of them…but we do the Sampson stretch IN OUR WARMUPS, seemingly against all coaches advise. Ok first off what is the Sampson stretch: Link your fingers together at eye level, arms straight, palms facing away from your body. Go into a lunge, with your rear knee on the floor, raise your arms over your head, and now really stretch your HIP FLEXORS, and shoulders, hold for 15 - 30 seconds, switch legs. Hey, that’s a static stretch, for the hip flexors, prior to exercise!

A number of studies have been conducted which show static stretching, prior to weight training weakens the contraction (Google it, no need for me to link). This is BAD. We don’t want weak contractions prior to weight training, do we? Well let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead let’s do a little test. Put some chalk on your fingers of your dominant hand. Stand next to a wall, and jump as high as you can (vertical jump) touch the wall. For you naysayers out there…rest three minutes and repeat. Now rest up 5 - 10 minutes. Prior to conducting your little jump test, do the Sampson stretch, really static stretch those hip flexors. Now do the test. Whoa, you jumped higher didn’t you! How is this possible. Well, coaches preparing college football players for the NFL combine tests have been doing this for years to improve vertical jump. What we are doing is making your hip flexors weaker by static stretching them…yep, now the drive upward (using your posterior chain) in not slowed down by those pesky tight hip flexors.

Think of it this way: Go into a squat and think of your hip flexors as springs. If those springs are short and tightened they slow down your upward push, completely release the tension of the spring and your up like a rocket. So how does this translate to us… we don’t do a lot of jumping, but jumping exhibits triple extension. We do a lot of triple and double extension. All O-lifts are triple extension squats and deadlifts are double extension. When performing these lifts we want to explode upward…our tight, strong hip flexors inhibit us. Static stretching them frees us to exhibit greater power. Once again Coach drops a gem in, with no comment, and it’s genius. Comments?

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2005, 05:56 AM   #2
Graham Hayes
Member Graham Hayes is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Sidmouth  Devon
Posts: 880
Great analysis!

Would you agree with dropping the Sampson stretch for workouts with heavy hip flexion emphasis? What static stretch would you replace with, if at all? Pikes?
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2005, 07:45 AM   #3
Chris Forbis
Member Chris Forbis is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Joplin  Missouri
Posts: 922
I've seen talk of this before, on a vertical jump oriented page (see #2):
http://www.strengthcats.com/JDfabulous15.htm

I LOVE the Sampson stretch. That and the pike are the only static stretches I ever do. Though back issues have kept me off the pike for a while now, which is keeping me from working on my L-sits.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2005, 03:45 PM   #4
Kenneth Urakawa
Affiliate Kenneth Urakawa is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Chandler  AZ
Posts: 539
Just a guess, but the Samson stretch was probably included to address the typical anterior pelvic tilt/protracted shoulder-girdle posture that most of us have. Kind of a "get yourself into a 'normal' posture before you pick up heavy stuff" stretch. (As the NASM guys would say, it reduces reciprocal inhibition of the antagonistic muscles).

That being said, I have to in all honesty admit that I typically don't include it in my warmup.

Just a few thoughts...

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2005, 04:21 PM   #5
Stanley Kunnathu
Member Stanley Kunnathu is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Calgary  Alberta
Posts: 319
The analysis is sound. Nicely worded too.

However, OHS are also included in the warm-up. Is that not tightening the springs or strengthening the hip flexor not weakening them? The official sit up (GHR sit up) would both stretch and contract the hip flexors when done properly. But if you are doing floor sit-ups it would really only be the contraction.

Said another way:

Sampson, GHR situp, back extension: stretch.
OHS, regular and GHR situp: contraction.

It seems that by the end of the warm-up we've done just that: warmed up. If you take a cold elastic band and stretch it there is a chance that it'll just snap. Take a cold elastic band and warm it up or pre-stretch with small stretches and it will, later, be able to take the longer stretch.

Last thought: The practice of PNF stretching involves isometric CONTRACTION followed by relaxation and STRETCHING. I've done this and it works. It seems, in my small brain, to contradict the idea that weakening the hip flexor leads to flexibility.

But we both agree that Coach is a genius.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2005, 07:54 PM   #6
Michael Halbfish
Member Michael Halbfish is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: New Brunswick  NJ
Posts: 400
Larry,
While I usually don't comment, I appreciate your consistently excellent posts. I'm going to started doing the Samson more regularly now.
Thank you
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2005, 06:22 AM   #7
Larry Lindenman
Affiliate Larry Lindenman is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Chicago  Illinois
Posts: 2,769
Kenneth, Stanley, good points. I would not say weakening the hip flexors increases flexibility, but increases the ability of the prime movers to work. You are lessening resistance. I'd say with OHS the posterior chain is the prime mover and weakened hip flexors would help. BUT, you got me on the sit ups. Try the jump test, it really works! So even if the SS is included just prior to double or triple extension exercises, my guess would be it would improve power (got to go to the the black box and try it out). Thanks for the kind words, Michael and Graham.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2005, 07:43 AM   #8
Kenneth Urakawa
Affiliate Kenneth Urakawa is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Chandler  AZ
Posts: 539
To elaborate a little--

When a muscle is activated, the antagonistic muscle group is inhibited. Keeps movements smooth, etc. The theory goes, in this instance, that your hip flexors are in an activated (tight) state, which will inhibit your hip extensors. With a static stretch, you are decreasing that activation, which will reduce the inhibition of your hip extensors.

I think that with a GHR situp you would still be activating the hip flexors, although definitely working through a dynamic range of flexibility.

So according to this model, you would do the Samson stretch to de-activate the hip flexors, and then follow that up with things like back extensions and OHS to increase activation of the hip extensors.

That's just my understanding of the position I was trying to explain earlier. Feel free to poke holes. :talker:
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2005, 10:02 AM   #9
James Falkner
Member James Falkner is offline
 
James Falkner's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Orlando  FL
Posts: 608
I thought the sampson stretch was done with the rear knee held slightly off the surface? With the knee on the surface, it seems that you could rest on that knee and somehow not get the full benefit. But of course I am not that smart so I could be wrong. It just seems "easier" with the knee on the ground rather than held off.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2005, 02:08 AM   #10
Nikki Young
Member Nikki Young is offline
 
Nikki Young's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Canberra  ACT
Posts: 458
Knee on or off the floor still stretches the hip flexor, i think it comes down to whats more comfortable. If your doing the stretch on concrete or hard flooring, having the knee resting on the ground could get painful.

When i hold the stretch for a long time without my knee on the floor i start to feel some pressure accuring around my knee. I find i get a better stretch out of resting my knee on the ground, but it is what im used too.

Having the knee off the ground also requires more balance, especially if stretching up through the arms as well for the full samson stretch.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Genius of Flexibility Michael Halbfish Fitness 8 08-14-2008 07:26 PM
Stop Screaming! Nuggets of Marketing Genius Steve Liberati Running a CrossFit Facility 1 04-17-2007 02:32 PM
Lincoln, you're a genius! Tony Young Equipment 5 12-21-2006 11:55 AM
What is good clean substitute for a pure newbie? Tariq Kassum Workout of the Day 8 09-13-2005 10:14 PM
Sampson stretch Emil Berengut Exercises 1 09-02-2003 01:24 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.