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

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Old 03-13-2008, 06:25 PM   #1
Ben Moskowitz
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Stretching in 3 Words

Stretch what's tight.


Flexibility is achieved in two ways:
1) striving for perfect technique in all motor patterns (O-lifting, gymnastics, walking even...it's called "posture," so sit up straight in that chair!)
2) Actively pursuing it.

If you learn to stretch gradually and gently, and commit to a small dose a day (sort of like the CF WOD), you will make real progress.

It may be helpful to start with just one flexibility goal. For example, I realized my knee was bowing in on the squat because of a tight hip. Butterfly stretches have been helping, that's the only stretch I worry about. For now. Consider it "skill work," but at the end of the workout. This way, I don't get "burnt out" on stretching by hammering it all in a 70 minute session, when (as our resident gymnastics expert Roger Harrell has described) it's best done 10 minutes each day. For further discussion on the subject, I would seek out the drills and skills page. (WFS) Or...various CrossFit Journals feature his articles.

As you cultivate your flexibility, you also cultivate your kinesthetic sense.

The trick is to remember that flexibility, done correctly, is relaxing. Perhaps even sedating. Done wrong, it feels really uncomfortable, and you'll wonder why you ever pushed yourself to do it in the first place. Well, don't push yourself with stretching, just let it happen.
I believe that as you find pleasure in flexibility (parasympathetic positive feedback loop), you will excess in fitness and in life.

FWIW, the splits (front and side) seem to yield the greatest "bang for your buck" with lower body passive stretching. The problem is they can be quite painful. Please, remember the golden rules of efficient technique, plus workout and stretching success:
  • If it feels cold, ease into it (warm up)
  • If it feels loose and supple, you're good to go.
  • If it feels hot, then you must ease off the gas and calm down (cool down).
  • If it ever feels painful, STOP. It's your body telling you something is seriously wrong.

So...If you ease into the splits super slowly, they may be the ticket for time-efficient success.

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 03-13-2008 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:38 PM   #2
Nick Gagnon
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

Good point, I hate stretching with a passion but still perform hip flexor and chest stretches before every workout. Nothing else seems to bother me so I don't spend much time anywhere else.
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:04 AM   #3
Jonathan Slater
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

Here's my tip for stretching: buy Stretching Scientifically by Tom Kurz. The man is a flexibility god.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:44 AM   #4
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

I agree. Tom Kurz kicked off all of my "flexibility research," it's just a matter of actually putting it into practice. For me, this means spending 5 minutes a day stretching to relax rather than "relaxing" by watching the TV for an hour.

FWIW, I am doing O-lifting in almost exclusivity right now. So, my post workout stretch routine consists of:

1). Shoulder Dislocates.
2). Goblet Squat stretch with a dumbbell.

I've read that these are the two best "bang for your buck" for the O-lifts. Thanks Dan John.

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 03-14-2008 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:46 AM   #5
Kevin Perry
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

god I hate stretching. Thats why I love the O-lifts, they pretty much do it for you hah.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #6
Jonathan Slater
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

Depends if you want to do the splits or not. O-lifts won't really help with that.
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:03 PM   #7
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

True. I remember sorting through the drillsandskills.com message boards, here's the best advice I came up with (sorry for the plagiarism):

The Splits Rotation
Three rounds, 30 seconds per stretch of:
Front Split
Side Split
Other Front Split
Side Spit

It takes 6 minutes. Can you commit to 6 minutes per day? It doesn't have to be painful, but it can be relaxing.

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 03-14-2008 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:17 PM   #8
Nick Gagnon
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Slater View Post
Depends if you want to do the splits or not. O-lifts won't really help with that.
One of these days I will get around to that one. It's been on the back burner for like a year.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:36 PM   #9
Ryan Jones
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

So what you're saying is, if the stretch hurts I shouldnt stretch as far, and it will come? Sitting down, stiff legged, I can barely touch my toes, and it hurts to do so, A LOT. So I should not reach that far and reach only as far as is comfortable and over time i'll be able to reach farther? Should I be going for no pain whatsoever, or little pain?
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:52 PM   #10
Travis Black
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Re: Stretching in 3 Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Jones View Post
So what you're saying is, if the stretch hurts I shouldnt stretch as far, and it will come? Sitting down, stiff legged, I can barely touch my toes, and it hurts to do so, A LOT. So I should not reach that far and reach only as far as is comfortable and over time i'll be able to reach farther? Should I be going for no pain whatsoever, or little pain?
If your goal is to increase flexibility you should be aiming for discomfort, but not pain. Pain means back off, discomfort means you are getting somewhere.
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