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Old 04-28-2013, 06:53 AM   #1
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Default Flexibility

I have poor flexibility & it's not improving

I do static stretches in-between all sets & hold for 20 secs. I do foam rolling too but I'm still not seeing much improvement

What is the most efficient way to improve flexibility? I've even been to a sports therapist
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
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The best advice I've heard, for those who lack flexibility, or just want to maintain what they have already (depending on their age), is:

Stretch every day. For example, you could do it every evening or night, before bed. Or whenever. Just make sure you warm up the body (a bit of light "cardio", say) before getting into any stretching whatsoever. Don't do it cold. If you do it every day, you can start undoing some of what tends to happen to people over the years, or at least slow down the "damage".

And it might be better to do it at other times of day (than during your workout). Again, each night could be the go.

Find some solid methods of stretching everything you need to, and stick with them. Breathe deeply a number of times into each "rep".


That's from an extremely flexible (and strong!) martial artist I know, locally. More or less what he suggested, anyway.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefboy1980 View Post
I have poor flexibility & it's not improving

I do static stretches in-between all sets & hold for 20 secs. I do foam rolling too but I'm still not seeing much improvement

What is the most efficient way to improve flexibility? I've even been to a sports therapist
Flexibility all over or specific areas that are tight?


Most people don't do stretching the correct way, stretches can be held for up to 1 minute or longer, depending, as a person relaxes further in to the stretch with an exhale...but not pushing the stretch to the point where the body feels a twinge, once someone does that, the alarm signals ring and the body adapts to feel stress at that point in the stretch which effectively nullifies what a person is trying to achieve.


Evening stretching is better, the body is already warmed up; the yoga Sun Salutation (ignore the name of it, it's just a group of exercises) is excellent for flexibility, it's a continually moving, dynamic sequence of exercises which stretch pretty much every muscle group.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:49 AM   #4
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Tight all over but I want to work on my legs more to try & increase my rom.

Should you do dynamic stretches first before carrying out any static stretches? I.e 5 min dynamic stretch routine followed by a 15 min stretch routine?

I'm thinking when I'm at home stretching my muscles aren't warmed maybe hampering my progression

Should you also warm up before foam rolling?
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:06 AM   #5
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i'm a bit confused by the question/issue.
first, we've never seen you squat, and based on your other threads, squat seems like a movement that, in general, you're trying to get the hang of. while squat isn't as technical as snatch or clean & jerk, it's plenty technical for a lot of people who've never squatted before. flexibility is certainly an issue with squats, but neither we nor you can be 100% certain that what you think is an issue with flexibility isn't an issue with foot placement, bar placement, or a host of other things. you really need to post a video before anyone can give you advice that we can be 100% certain will improve your squat.

second, are you expecting improvements in flexibility after just two days? you just posted a thread a couple days ago about a strained hip flexor. how much flexibility do you expect to have with an injury? muscle, joint, and connective tissue injuries first and foremost limit flexibility. the surrounding tissue becomes tight in order to protect the damaged area. therefore, it's natural that you don't have your full flexibility right now.

third, i've never heard of nor seen a serious, competitive squatter -- whether a powerlifter or an Olympic lifter in training -- do static stretches before or during squat sets. my opinion is that they are the opposite of helpful. warming up does not mean the same thing as stretching. like 5kg said, save your stretching for the evening or immediately post-w/o. if you lack flexibility during your working sets, then part of the problem might be with your warmup routine. whenever i return to squats after a few days of not doing them, i do not reach full depth during my first warmup set. my quads and lower back are too tight. it's only after 3-5 warmup sets that i reach my full flexibility and am ready for my top sets.

my opinion is that static stretches are a complete waste of time before lifting and could maybe negatively affect your performance. dynamic stretches are probably beneficial, but they also seem like a waste of time to me. i think the best warm up is light sets on the exercise you're about to perform. done properly, this will increase your flexibility. i'm not convinced that you are doing this properly.

intuitively, my gut tells me that the real issue is probably your squat form, not with needing a "flexibility routine." again, you really need to post a video. that's the best way to ensure you're not wasting your time exploring other potentially irrelevant topics. also, it seems like you may have a tendency to micromanage your lifting and nutrition so that daily occurrences take on huge significance for you. please try to be patient and know that this is a long, gradual process. micromanaging the process is not helpful and you will drive yourself crazy by expecting quick returns.

Last edited by SecondsOut; 04-28-2013 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:35 AM   #6
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Like 5kg said, sun salutation is an excellent one. Long back, when I actually used to do some yoga, I enjoyed the cobra, bow and forward bends as well. All these three target the lower back and by extension hips to an extent (at least that's what I felt).

As far as leg specific stretching is concerned, we usually do these exercises before our taekwondo class. Doesnt take much time, and flexibility does slowly improve over time. Gotta remember, as with anything worth pursuing, benefits come over a period of time rather than overnight.


As Dray said, we usually stretch out following some light jogging, jumping jacks etc, ie after warming up a bit.

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Old 04-28-2013, 08:58 AM   #7
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Ok just to answer a few questions

Flexibility has been an issue for me since I was a kid, even doing PE at a young age I could never touch my toes etc

I've been back training now for 5 months & have stretched on my off days pretty much since, so it's not that after 2 day I'm expecting results

Is my squat off, it's possible although my bar placement feels good & comfortable & my feet position seems fine, I now squat in barefoot shoes which has helped my form too.

I squatted with a PT the other week & he told me my form & depth were good. Trying to get parallel or below is difficult for me & every rep I feel that hip flexor tight, could be down to tight hamstrings I don't know.

I haven't only just started squatting either, yes i'm 5 months back in after having a 10+ year lay off. I did break my leg about 18 months back in 2 places resulting in me becoming very out of shape prompting me to get back into the gym

I'm not looking for immediate success but i do expect after doing things for a certain period to see results & i have in many areas, flexibility however isn't one of them

Maybe i have mad a mistake in stretching in between my squat sets? i would stretch my quads & hamstrings out for 20 seconds in-between every set, I do this because I'm trying to make my rest period more productive or so i thought.

I do warm up sets, i will do 4 sets of warm ups before working my main 5 sets

It may come across that i micromanage but i'm just looking for guidelines. I do track my calories through my fitness pal but i'm not anal with it, it just keeps me on track

I'm not going to be able to do a video for you guys to critique due to my hip flexor being really sore at present. I'm off on holiday in 4 weeks & the way it feels at the moment i won't be squatting till after that unless it feels good

It is possible that because of my broken leg that i'm over compensating one side without noticing it
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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I know you're stretching out your quads and hamstring but your flexibility issues could be because of a hindrance in other areas (low back, hip flexors, etc).

I had the same problem as you, I was never flexible. I am actually still not extremely mobile, I can touch my toes now, but it is still a struggle. It has not prevented me from accomplishing things though, so I wouldn't let it get into your head that it may be the reason you aren't making progress.

The sun salutation is amazing, I try to do that every night and it has helped immensely. You have to keep up with it though, even when you don't feel like it, do it. And make sure that you're not neglecting the other parts of you body.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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I will be foam rolling every night & try the sun salutation & give squats a miss short term & see how I get on. I think I may need to see a sports therapist though as I'm getting weird pains down that leg.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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You ever tried overhead squats? Start with a broomstick and try to hit paralell and work from there. Great stretching for the whole body and also works your core better than most ab exercises as a bonus =)
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