Tag Archives: flexibility

Humans are meant to be both

Mobility is underrated, until it’s gone that is.
 
Having a good amount of flexibility is one thing, however being mobile is something a little different.
 
In short, holding an extended or stretched ROM will come down to these two things primarily:
 
1 – How much residual muscle tension (tone) you have
2 – Your neurological ability to contract/relax as needed
 
The first part is the easiest to address, this is why you often find commonly that the people who are the most flexibly don’t really have too much in the way of ‘muscle tone’ to speak of.
 
While they will indeed have some, as muscles will hold some level of residual tension due to their ability to produce force it won’t be that much.
 
This links in with the second part, some people have amazing control over their bodies and are able to inhibit/disinhibit muscles at will to either deepen a stretch or perform some kind to interesting contrition feat despite being heavily muscled.
 
You see once you begin building strength and a large amount of LBM the stronger you get the more tension/force you’ll produce, meaning your muscles to some may appear ‘stiff’, which is kinda true, yet it’s also what give your that muscular look.
 
This is all a learned neurological state, one of constant or semi-constant tension I mean.
 
It’s where the term ‘relax into stretching’ comes from and why a focus on breath when you stretch is crucial as it will allow your bodies PNS/CNS to communicate and realise there is no danger of snapping, thus allowing flexibility to improve, which in tern helps improve mobility in the long run.
 
How?
 
Because the body doesn’t feel unstable due to the muscles working in synergy with each other, this links back to the inhibition/disinhibition side of things.
 
Say you’ve got muscles acting as prime movers when they shouldn’t be, that will cause unnecessary tension elsewhere to support your body, usually causing excessive stiffness, lack of mobility/flexibility, not due to you not naturally possessing either, it’s more a case of you’ve learned how to move badly and compensate for it.
 
This is why having an adequate mobility & stretching supplement to your training is crucial.
 
Well, for most average people.
 
You’ll find the higher you progress up the ladder of a specific sport or endeavour there will invariably be some sacrifices you need to make.
 
For example; powerlifting.
 
If you truly with to have the heaviest SQ/BP/DL possible then you won’t be flexible due to the massive about of force you’ll be able to produce and tension needed to stabilise (plus the residual stuff too), however you will be flexible/mobile enough for your sport.
 
Now this have bene long winded yet it gives you some more context and thread to pull on.
 
Flexibility is holding extended positions/rom and to me shows a good command of being able to contract/relax muscles as needed to allow the stretch to occur to your own natural end ROM’s.
 
Mobility is being able to be fully stable and produce the desired force output required while moving through an entire ROM.
 
Two side of the same coin
 
The first is passive (for recovery), the second is active for performance).
 
You may not put much stock in the above, however I implore you to give it some investigation, you never know, you might just end up understanding why you ache in certain places or can’t heal a certain injury.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Stiff as a board much?

Are you currently what many would consider ‘flexible’?
 
If the answer is yes then this post doesn’t concern you.
 
When a resounding no followed by laughter is the answer then you will do well to keep reading.
 
Since many people will have time at home it’s the perfect opportunity to being a simple daily stretching routine.
 
No excuse of not having time, or life getting in the way, this is the perfect opportunity to create some neurological relaxation and improve your flexibility.
 
Something people get a tad confused about flexibility show it works.
 
You’re not technically making a muscle longer.
 
Think of it logically, your muscles have specific origins and insertions, those don’t anatomically change so you’ll never gain any flexibility past the point of where they find their limit ROM before you start to cause structural damage and compromise ligaments/tendons.
 
What you’re actually doing it creating inhibition/disinhibition..
 
Essentially any excess residual muscle tension is what creates ‘tone’, as tone is tension and tension helps produce force, however that is for another day.
 
You’ll often find the majority of people who are massively flexibly are not that ‘toned’ and those that do have some tone are not as flexible as those that don’t.
 
Now you’ll of course find exceptions to this, yet they’ve often been practicing being strong & flexible for 20 years.
 
Basically dedicating a lifetime to the skills.
 
Knowing the above will help you understand the purpose of stretching more, and also how to make it more effective.
 
To improve flexibility you need to hold close to your current full ROM for as long as possible, that is until the ‘tension’ releases.
 
DON’T FORCE IT!
 
You need to breathe into the stretch, feel the nervous system dow- regulate the tension and allow the muscle to go further.
 
A word or warning though ⚠️
 
Your brain creates tension to protect you.
 
Sometimes it’s not stretching the tight muscle that is needed, it’s strengthening it – we shall discuss this tomorrow.
 
Given you’ve got time try to spend 30-60min stretching, honestly your body will thank you for it,just put on a TV show or podcast and off you go.
 
If you’re looking for stretches then these channels is a good one to get ideas from:
 
 
 
Remember that stretching is a neurological skill, the skill of inhibition/disinhibition.

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To Stretch or Not To Stretch.

Morning Guys,

Are you muscles tight?

Do you feel your upper back is always filled with constant tension and requires stretching out?

Are your hamstrings painful after a long day of sitting?

Is your lower back in need of a good crack?

Well fear not, for I have the answer to your tenaciously tight areas;

DON”T STRETCH THEM.

No, you haven’t read that wrong, I said don’t stretch them. There is a high possibility that the muscles you feel are tight are actually trying to pull your body back into alignment (the body is clever like that you see).

If something is out of balance it will strive to hit the point of being ‘just right’ and all of your efforts to lengthen those areas that don’t need lengthening can potentially lead to injury. This is because your muscles are what is known as ‘Long Tight’ chances are they will also be very weak too, these muscles in question are filled with tension because they’re getting close to the point of going ‘ping’.

What can you do?

Stretch the opposing muscles & strengthen the ones you feel are tight (yes, you want to work the muscles you feel that are tight, this is because they are often long tight and weak).

If you have tight hamstrings, stretch your hips out. Try a Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (Place one knee on the floor and elevate the foot, then extend your hips to feel the stretch.)

Maybe it’s your upper back that feels like rocks then stretch your chest. Use a Pec Stretch (Place one arm up against a wall, have your elbow in line with your shoulder with your forearm and hand directly about the elbow joint against your chosen prop. Lean forwards into the stretch.)

Perhaps lower back is the culprit… This will also require you to stretch your hips. As above.

If you’re thinking ‘what Exercises should I do?’ the try these:

Hamstring – Good Mornings, Box Squats, GHR
Upper Back – Supinated Grip Seated Row, Single Arm Dumbbell Row, Face Pull
Lower Back – Same as Hamstrings

A good pace to start would be by using all of the stretches I have given in combination with the Box Squat and Supinated Grip Seated Row, if you do you will find your body starts to feel pretty dam good in no time at all.

A1 – Box Squat – 5×10 (start off at half of your body weight, build up to your bodyweight)
A2 – 30 Second Hip Flexor Stretch (30 seconds on both left/right sides)

B1 – Seated Row – 4×12 (start at half of your body weight and work up to your bodyweight)
B2 – 30 Second Chest Stretch (30 seconds on both sides)

Enjoy
Ross

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