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Old 07-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #1
Anthony Giurato
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How is stretching supposed to feel?

Right now I'm trying to get more flexible. I'm doing SS right now, and I was hoping that simply doing squats and deadlifts would increase my flexibility enough, but I think I need to do much more. I've read the suggestions for foam rolling and I'm doing that also, so no need to suggest that.

So, getting back to my title, how should if feel? I have some muscles, where if I stretch them, it feels soothing. Others give sharp pain. And others feel like I'm pushing against a brick (or bone) wall. I'll give some examples.

Soothing
If I put my foot against a wall and stretch my calf, it feels good. Same with pulling my foot to my rear and stretching my quad

Pain
When I do the "hamstring" stretch (I know it's not just hamstring, I saw Kelly Starr's Executive Stretching videos) it hurts. If I sit up and have my leg pretty much straight it hurts a lot. I can feel tighness and pain from the top of my calf to the bottom of my rump. Most stretches can get painful if you feel like you are stretching hard, but some seem to skip the soothing stage and go straight to "OMG WT*". It's like this for both legs on me BTW.

Brick wall
I've never had any shoulder/upper back/chest injuries that I know of. When I spread my arms apart and stretch my chest, if I push at the limit of my flexibility, I get that brick wall feeling. It's not bad, it just feels different than the soothing option above.

I get a similar feeling when I put arch into my lower back (just above the hips). I've strained my back a few times, so it's probably left over from that. But what I find weird about it is this: to stretch my lower back, I bend forwards. It's still stiff and tight, but if feels like stretching. When I bend backwards, it feels like like there is a block of something hard in there (no, not like I have a piece of spine floating in there).


I can go into depth on any of those if you want me to. But those are the different types of feeling I get when I stretch different areas. Are all of these types normal?
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:41 AM   #2
Mike Mallory
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

It should generally feel good to stretch (in a perfect world)

If its just pain, and the muscle doesn't feel like it's giving way, then its probably not ready to be stretched.

Muscles always tighten up for specific reasons, they don't just tighten up on their own.......look at any animal, even old ones and you'll see good, loose muscle tissue. Go feel the muscle tissue quality on your cat to get a guage on how things should be.

Stay hydrated, eat good food, then come back to muscles that don't let go......If they STILL don't, then look towards joint imbalances......Like hamstrings staying tight trying to guard an old back injury.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:58 AM   #3
Anthony Giurato
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

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Originally Posted by Mike Mallory View Post
If they STILL don't, then look towards joint imbalances......Like hamstrings staying tight trying to guard an old back injury.
I've had other threads that I've mentioned this, but I have strained my back several times. Last time was last November, and I still have some tightness/weakness left over from that. So, assuming that I'm tight from my glutes to my calves as a defense for my back, how should I go about fixing this? Do I have to stretch out my back first, or does that mean my back is still injured?
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:25 PM   #4
Andrew Schechterly
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

Listen to Mike.

My girlfriend thinks stretching feels magnificent and therapeutic. I think it feels painful and boring.

I know I should be doing it. I'm lazy.
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Old 07-02-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
Mike Mallory
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Giurato View Post
I've had other threads that I've mentioned this, but I have strained my back several times. Last time was last November, and I still have some tightness/weakness left over from that. So, assuming that I'm tight from my glutes to my calves as a defense for my back, how should I go about fixing this? Do I have to stretch out my back first, or does that mean my back is still injured?
Joints tighten up when they don't have stability; when they don't 'feel safe'......Or if they're compensating for more important structures....or stress......or dehydration.

I would just start looking into those types of things, if you're not getting better, than find a PT or someone to test stability and lumbopelvic rhythm
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:43 PM   #6
Boris Bachmann
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Giurato View Post
I've had other threads that I've mentioned this, but I have strained my back several times. Last time was last November, and I still have some tightness/weakness left over from that. So, assuming that I'm tight from my glutes to my calves as a defense for my back, how should I go about fixing this? Do I have to stretch out my back first, or does that mean my back is still injured?
I'm not an MD, but my advice is DON'T stretch your back. Work on your hamstring flexibility and hip mobility.

Some of my thoughts on stretching and a few of my "go-to" stretches (wfs): http://squatrx.blogspot.com/2009/04/...-strength.html
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:05 AM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

If you're going to stretch your "back" you want to stretch the rest of your core adn the side instead of the actual back.... since you don't really need a lot of lumbar flexion anyway (especially under load).

But yeah, you want to target mostly hips, especially hamstrings, and teh ankles to regain mobility.

Aim for gains in foot arch, ankles, hips, t-spine, shoulders, and wrists, hands

Knees, L-spine, C-spine, elbows are the ones you tend to not want excessive motion at.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
John Cardinal
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

When I do Kelly Starrets executive stretches, they hurt exactly as much as I want them to. After a thorough warm up I break them each into two one minute segments switching after each. The first minute I just put light pressure on and try to relax and let it stretch more and more into it, it's the peaceful relaxing kind you describe, no pain.

I cycle through them all this way in one minute intervals.

The second minute I really bear down hard and it hurts a fair bit but I don't push beyond the point where I can relax into it and I can definitely feel it giving way more and more over that final minute.

If you push too hard it's so painful you just can't relax the area enough to get that giving way feeling of stretching, but if you don't push pretty hard you don't accomplish anything, particularly with strong leg muscles and for me that is painful but there is absolutely no pain when I'm done and walking around afterwards, it just feels really good.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
Jake Green
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Re: How is stretching supposed to feel?

If you are in Chinese Gymnastic progam and you are 5 years old, it should feel like pain. So pray to Mao. If you are an adult, pain will lead to injuries.
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