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

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Old 06-03-2008, 12:24 PM   #1
Brandon Oto
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A stretching "WoD"

Not too long ago someone here mentioned that if you spend a month (six weeks? some period like this) seriously working on your flexibility -- several times a day, a significant amount of stretching -- you could pretty much hit your practical genetic limits and after that you could just do minor maintenance work to maintain it.

This is something I would actually consider doing, since this sort of brief periodized specialization is something I tend to enjoy and find valuable.

Towards that end I'm interested in finding or constructing an actual routine for intensive full-body stretching. This would be something that anyone with a similar goal can use; within a broad range, it seems like flexibility doesn't have the same requirements of specific, minute adjustment for individual programming that other sectors like strength training do. So maybe we can just find a standard template and it would be available to anyone interested in pursuing this, to whatever degree they're interested in.

Something like yoga might work? I don't know. Stretching's not my game. But unless there's a pre-built program anyone can recommend, we'll have to come up with a new one. Everything including: what stretches in what order, how long to hold each, how many "reps," how many times a day and days a week. And I guess what a nice warmup would be.

Ideas?
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
Frederic Giraud
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

Why not simply stretching religously after every and all workout following some kind of full body stretch?

Actually you might never hit your practical genetic limits, weither training wise, stretching wise, it demands way too much specialization for someone doing crossfit.

So at the end you will end up with the same flexibility you'd have developped over 6 weeks but in a rather much longer time frame. Are you in a hurry?

I ask because I really doubt, but willing to listen to any explanation, that :

Quote:
you could just do minor maintenance work to maintain it (your practical genetic limits stretching wise.)
To remain at such high level ( practical genetic limits) a lot of specialization work will be needed. Only doing minor maintenance would blunt the downhill of the flexibility, but it won't remain the same at all.

I could be quite wrong here tho, just my two cents.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
Brandon Oto
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

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Originally Posted by Frederic Giraud View Post
Why not simply stretching religously after every and all workout following some kind of full body stretch?.
I think the idea is that you have to work 5-6 times a day to develop this rapidly.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:27 PM   #4
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

Check this out:
http://trickstutorials.com/index.php?page=content/flx3

and straight to the source, Thomas Kurz

http://www.stadion.com/column.html

Pavel has also written a pretty good book on flexibility, "Relax Into Stretch":
http://www.dragondoor.com/flexibility/
Pavel claims that with his method, he has trained Soviet commandos to do the splits in three to six months.


Of course there's http://drillsandskills.com/stretching

This is good too, there's a featured stretching routine (list of stretches, order, "reps") for the splits http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/...ec/stretching/



I've been in and out with this stretching thing. A while ago, I read a ton about it and didn't devote much time to it. I'm trying to the opposite now. I have a guess that the more flexible you are, the more "effective" all of this functional training is. This is mostly based on the observation of 15 year old boys who have spent 7 years O-lifting and have developed/maintained wicked flexibility. Needless to say they are 1) stronger than me 2) better at O-lifting than me... obviously. I feel like with a limber body, you spend less effort "fighting against yourself." These thoughts are mostly based upon my own flexibility limitations.


Anyways... here's a couple of quick pointers:
1) When you enter a stretching session, you have to ignore time. You can't think: OK, I'm going to do all these stretches in 15 minutes... so I better hurry up on this stretch... why aren't I more flexible yet?!? This is another way of saying you have to mentally relax your mind and be patient.

2) Contrast-relax/PNF stretching in it's many variations is probably a good bet for the hardcore stretcher. But you can only do it every other day (48 hours). A good, serious routine is 2 intense sessions and 4 easy ones per week. Or 5 sessions/day which seems obsessive and hard to do....Or not, I guess we'll see. It's recommended to do it by yourself, a partner could hurt you unless they're an ace.

3) Probably pick a hamstring stretch, hip flexor stretch, etc. and stick with them for a while. Get good at them. Switch it up for variety when you feel like it.

4) Selection of stretches should optimally be based upon your level of flexibility. A seated hamstring stretch is not worthwhile until you a significant amount of flexibility. It's a matter of leverage.

5) Don't neglect dynamic flexibility and mobility. Don't get overwhelmed.

6) Intense stretching =/= "hardcore," painful, lots of maximum tension... I sometimes make this mistake and then stretching doesn't seem so fun anymore.

7) Better rules come from experts.

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 06-03-2008 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #5
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

I've heard it takes 1-3 months with the 5 session/day method. I think.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
Dennis Marshall
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
This would be something that anyone with a similar goal can use; within a broad range, it seems like flexibility doesn't have the same requirements of specific, minute adjustment for individual programming that other sectors like strength training do.
IMO, this is an inaccurate statement. A good stretching program is one that is based off of a thorough assessment of an individual's posture, range of motion, movement pattern competency and muscle strength testing. The human body is much like a guitar - to bring it into balance, you only loosen the strings that are too tight and tighten the strings that are too loose. Simply loosening all the strings will do nothing to improve performance. In other words, stretching muscles that are already in a chronically lengthened and weakened state further exacerbates the problem.

Stretching should be very customized and very specific. That said, there is a certain level of "functional flexibility" that everyone should maintain. For example, if improper mobility is preventing you from being able to complete a nice deep squat, then you probably need to stretch in some capacity. However, the fun lies in figuring out what areas need to be mobilized and which need to be stabilized in order to make the improvements in functional flexibility that we are after.

Doesn't really answer your question but just wanted to throw in my $.02
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

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Originally Posted by Dennis Marshall View Post
Simply loosening all the strings will do nothing to improve performance. In other words, stretching muscles that are already in a chronically lengthened and weakened state further exacerbates the problem.
I agree, sort of. I remember seeing an article on T-nation where it was recommended to tighten up the back rather than loosen the hamstrings. If your body is going to bear a load, it's probably not a good idea to develop a hyper-flexible back (and to know the difference between stretching the hamstrings and the back). Ultimately, it's a matter of where you want to draw the line. Gymnastics, martial arts, and tricking represent one extreme. Next we encounter the Olympic lifts. Squat snatching (OHS) with a virtually upright back is quite a feat. And down the line. FWIW, I read an article in the NYT where endurance runners proclaim they are better not stretching at all and remaining tight. I can't imagine this is healthy.


Anyways, Tom Kurz recommends isometric contractions to build strength through a great range of motion (I'm visually the side splits). He recommends to end each stretch with a 30 second contraction. Check this video out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40AAwm2iCrM (WFS). If he didn't have huge strength at that extreme range of motion, something bad would happen.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

What I use for myself, which is mostly overall maintenance and what I use for my team gymnasts. I developed this for my team boy's last season but it's effect was poor because honestly they were little and young and not used to the pain. Getting them to do a seated straddle split or middle split, but they would cry out during front splits.

Then of course, the team girls would come hug them and whine why I was being a meany. Parents got a bit worried there kids were crying, however my recant " was you get in what you put. " Otherwise known if you are going to be a candy *** during training, you will remain a candy *** and candy asses are not favored in my program. Unfortunately, they were grandfathered in and have been passed around the past couple of years. These are low level, introductory athletes, most only being in the sport up to 2 years and most under 8. My 10yo, the captain didn't mind, but he comes from a dance background and had been used to a senior elite in training grinding his butt to the ground. OTOH, the other 10yo was ADHD and not very serious but then again it's beginning gymnastics ( level 5 ) so big woop.

Thus, I cannot attest to any results you get. Here it is though.

After a final mini gymnastics oriented WOD ( dips, pullups, squats, supports and generally a station of tramp ) they go into this.

- Cat shoulder stretch with hands at hip height 30s
Perhaps some stick dislocates beforehand if they got tight. Sometimes a good lean by myself on them.

- Shoulder flexion/extension stretch. 30s
As most of my boys had some hyperextension in their elbows I switched to doing the bent arm version of this.

I don't bother PNF'ing these. We did the hip flexor drills in pike and straddle in the WU.

- Seated straddle 30s. Shake out legs. Middle split 1m

- Right leg split 30s with back knee down, 30s with knee up (PNF in effect). Repeat again.

- As above.

These little boogers squirmed and would not stay square on a line besides they're crying. Honestly, suck it up, split training sucks.

2nd round

Cat and shoulder stretch increased to 1m each, sometimes sacrificed to 30s. Only had 3 kids who had nice open shoulders.

Pancake seated straddle split 1m. Middle split for 90s.

Front leg splits 90s to 2m.

Finish crying, hate Blair while stomping off and go home. Ideally, if we could do this and still have 5-10 minutes to play a game or bounce tramp ( what I really enjoy at the end of a workout ); I'd be really happy. They'd go home happy unless they owed me burpees at the end of the day. If so, go back to the first line of this paragraph.

There is some documentation out there that it takes about 30s for a child's initial stretch reflex to absolve. So in the theory, gains can be done for 30s.

In dance circles, splits are often done 5-15m. However, this is a lot of time to lose in 150 minutes with all the other events, warmup, conditioning, snack, and in between time. I'm a bit worried that some documentation shows tendons start becoming stretched at this point. Case in point, we don't want to stretch connective tissue from what I've read. I've seen some abhorrent things like stretching beyond 180 of the knees to have better lines and I've seen the same girl hyperextend her knees on a front pike landing. This was probably done for quite a bit of time since she had the same coach for a couple of years at least. Rhythmic gymnasts lose a lot of their quick twitch fibers due to their superior flexibility compared to other gymnasts. Think dance meets gymnastics vs gymnastics using dance.

This takes nearly 15 minutes which is a lot of time to lose, especially as many were insufficiently physically prepared per my desires heading into competition season. Sometimes this was cut down to 10 minutes or under.

However, during the off season stretching time and physical preparation should be allotted more time with less focus on routines and skills. Again I was unsatisfied with some of their preparation.

This was ideally done 3x a week. I'd bet money at Vegas they never stretched at home. Some of these boys only came once or twice due to schedule conflicts.

For a newb, I would start this protocol at half time and it could be said PNF should not be started without some base of flexibility. However, suck it up and be a man by all means if you can. You will probably have DOMS up the wazoo if you start out of nowhere.

I'll comment that I have seen some documentation that shows PNF allows for temporary flexibility gains over a couple of hours but eventually the gain is small in the long run. I've read some other documentation that 1-2 minutes is your bread and butter for efficiency but longer can give more of an effect in the long run. However, I still worry about stretching connective tissue.

I have my warmup somewhere on Drillsandskills and may have posted it here. Can't remember, don't care really but if you dig there you'll find it. Warmup and physical prep was nearly as long as a CFWU and a WOD but was more sport specific.

If I were to do my typical short version WU and then stretch instead of skill training and WOD, it would run probably about 15-20m in the short version and 30-45 minutes in a longer version besides this 15 minute of stretching.

It can be very tough to do 15 minutes after working out for 3 hours and it's getting late ( past 830p ). Mentally you're just beat ( from a long day at school or work ) and then you have to condition or stretch hard.

Honestly, I would probably do this routine year round regardless of season to KISS. I recently did this with the girls from level 5-8 for about a month and they weren't too happy with me since they are used to stretching out early and not the PNFesque training. They disliked this and Blair's boring basics. However, I felt in 1 month I could gain little with them overall but show them different things they need to master so suck it up buttercup, no princesses in my regime.

Last edited by Blair Robert Lowe : 06-12-2008 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:52 PM   #9
Andres Gordo
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

To reach your maximal genetic possibilities, I think it will take wayyyy more than 1 month.
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: A stretching "WoD"

thanks for the routine Coach Blair. A few questions:
what is a cat shoulder stretch? a "cat stretch" out of yoga?
Shoulder flexion/extension stretches are as featured on the drillsandskills site? I have poor shoulder flexibility, but the extension stretch doesn't seem to do much when performed on the ground, any suggestions?

I was meaning to answer this question on the drillsandskills forum but I don't think I ever got login permission:
Is it true that stretches should be chosen according to ones flexibility? For example, I can't "prove" I can do a front split by opening my legs 180* in a lunge, will working a front split be that effective? Or are separate stretches better?

Also, is it true that most people overstretch their back and understretch their hamstrings? I don't want to this, but whenever I perform a pike stretch I mostly end up feeling a stretch behind my knees and my lower back, but not the hammies.

Finally, I can't perform a butterfly stretch correctly, there's no tension felt in my right hip and my leg just stays up. Any suggestions?

A ton of questions, many personally directed, and any answers would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 06-12-2008 at 03:00 PM.
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