Stretching

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by BillBlack, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. BillBlack

    BillBlack Barefooters
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    Heres what I hope isn't a too stupid question. How often should I be stretching? Daily? Several times a day or weekly? Also, should I use the same guidelins while recovering from an injury that I would just doing regular stretching? I saw this question somewhere else and there wasn't a consensus so I thought I would bring it up here.



    Bill
     
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  2. Dr. Mark

    Dr. Mark Barefooters
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    Bill, A common question and

    Bill,



    A common question and one that there is no one size fits all answer. For starters efficient running is more about limb “stiffness” over mobility. Joints need to have a proper range of motion…not too much though. They also need to have the properties of a thick resilient rubber band…recoil back in an efficient way and not too soft and compliant. You do NOT want a thin super mobile rubber band at your joints.

    We share a good post and replies here



    http://naturalrunningcenter.com/2011/03/31/should-runners-stretch-before-running/



    3 areas where we commonly see the need to improve mobility is the calf/Achilles, hip flexors, and plantar fascia.



    Stretch remote from your run and not before and only if you have a joint that needs improved mobility to run.



    Mark
     
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  3. Dr. Nirenberg

    Dr. Nirenberg Barefooters
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    In general, most people do

    In general, most people do not stretch enough (unless they find themselves in another Spanish Inquisition!).

    You want to always stretch before you run (or walk or do any exercise).



    BTW, Think about dogs, cats, and other mammals they stretch instinctively when they wake up. You want to loosen up your muscles and literally warm them up by getting them gently moving to increase the flow of blood. Most mammals stretch briefly; so you probably don't need to hold the stretches for eons, unless you are trying to increase the end range of motion (as some professionals may want to do).
     
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  4. Dr James Stoxen DC

    Dr James Stoxen DC Barefooters
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    Hi Bill,

    Here is a video that I'm sure can help you out.

    8 Secrets To Improving Walking and Running Efficiency through Maximizing Human Spring
     
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  5. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc

    Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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  6. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Bill, for what it's worth, I think this is spot on. Don't listen to anyone who tells you stretching is for bozos. Done judiciously, there is great benefit. Stretching out my feet and rolling along my lower leg, front and back, prerun, postrun, and remote from run, has greatly relieved me of top-of-the-foot pain. I also get benefit from hip abductor/adductor exercises (dynamic stretching) and hamstring stretching (done gently), as well as from general back/shoulder/arm stuff.
     
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  7. Lomad

    Lomad Barefooters
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    I'm with Lee on this one. The lower leg stuff 'calf-achilles-foot' can become a knot of ouch so easily with inattention. Be smart about stretching (I do think it can be overdone), but don't abandon it altogether.
     
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  8. Sid

    Sid Barefooters

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    Definitely appreciate the great information from all of the docs! I saw this article a while ago.
    AAOS: Stretching Before Run No Help in Preventing Injury
    Original paper here.

    While I can't provide a medical opinion, I've been thinking about this. Decades ago, when I first started running, I noticed an annoying twinge at the back of my hip. I asked someone about it and was told that I had less range of motion in a certain area and was shown some strengthening and stretching exercises. Years later, when transitioning to barefoot, I did find stretching helpful, and that twinge also went away.

    I'm wondering, if possibly, that perhaps stretching and strengthening is helpful when one has weak muscles and limited range of motion. For others such as SockDoc, who is an experienced triathlete with good strength and range of motion, perhaps stretching is not so helpful.
     
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  9. Larry

    Larry Barefooters
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    Well, this thread certainly has me thinking. I'm trying to recover from foot issues. My (very excellent and supportive) physio has me doing a reasonable amount of stretching along with rolling my calves. I'd have to say I'm not seeing a great deal of improvement as a result of this, but I'm torn between giving it up completely and trying for a bit longer.

    However, one thing that does seem to help the situation is a bit of gardening - squatting barefoot and pulling out some difficult weeds (kikuyu, the stuff is evil). How does an activity like that compare with stretching - isn't it pretty similar when it all boils down?
     

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  10. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I don't know what your foot issues are, but make sure to roll and massage the muscles on the outer side of your shin bone too. This has been key to curing me of top-of-the-foot-pain. When these muscles get tight they pull on the tendons that they connect to in your foot and ankle. Try also to roll out your upper leg--front, side, and back--and do a good hamstring stretch, and continue stretching out your back by squatting or some other exercise--like the ankle-on-knee glute stretch. It's all one kinetic chain of interconnected muscles and ligaments, overlapping at the joints, from where your neck connects to your skull all the way down to your big toes, so you want to keep the whole thing well-massaged and limber. Not stretching is for bozos, or, possibly, as Sid points out, for people whose activity involves a lot of dynamic movement. For the rest of us, this ancient practice can be vital to overall health and fitness. Just don't overdo it, make sure you're warmed up, and don't stretch muscles that are injured.
     
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  11. Lomad

    Lomad Barefooters
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    Doing my standard "Bare Lee should be listened to about this" chiming in. He and I had a long offline discussion about metatarsal and foot issues. We both tried the stretching/rolling/stick massager approach to lower leg loosening through that discussion and it makes a HUGE difference. If I slack off about getting my legs, especially the lower leg (including the front of the leg muscles), loose my foot flares up. I'm actually about to shift from foam roller to a more rigid pvc pipe, or the Grid roller with foam over pvc, to really dig in there...
     
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  12. NickW

    NickW Guest

    Tim, yet again we agree again. I really like the pvc roller I have, just not on my calves for very long. I bruised my calf muscles from it so I use the foam roller on the calves and pvc on the upper legs.
     
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  13. Lomad

    Lomad Barefooters
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    I just picked up a pvc pipe this morning. I'm going to make it a dual density by wrapping it in an old exercise mat I have to have a *touch* of give with a really nice firm dig to roll with.

    ETA: I'm going this route because the Grid roller is like 45 bucks. Pffft. 2 foot section of pipe at Home Despot and an already present bit of foam costs me 7 bucks, for which I had a store credit to cover. Easy decision.
     
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  14. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I have to admit, I forked over for the RumbleRoller.
    [​IMG]

    It gets me good in a different way than a smooth roll--almost sadomasochistically, except I wouldn't do it if there were no fitness benefit . . . (I think). I also got a 12" extra firm foam roller in my office so I don't make too much noise on the wood floor with a PVC pipe when I get up to roll my ITB once in a while.
     
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  15. Sid

    Sid Barefooters

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    I'm lazy. I'm all about the heated massager. Though I suppose, rollers, sticks, massagers all essentially work/loosen/massage the muscles. I wonder what the docs think about them.
     
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  16. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    Dr Stoxen has a $3000 vibrator he uses to loosen his muscles. he can get it for you half price.
     

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  17. Lomad

    Lomad Barefooters
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    So many places my 12 year old mind wants to take this, but won't...
     
  18. jldeleon

    jldeleon Barefooters
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    If I thought I could afford this, I would to it in a heartbeat. I have watched this thing in action and it would knock out all the trigger points that we spend hours and hours working on, in no time. I bought a "similar" thing for $300. It works good for after hideously long runs.
     

  19. Sid

    Sid Barefooters

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  20. devilnuts

    devilnuts Barefooters
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    I think it is funny that I always had it drilled into my brain that you stretch before and you stretch after. Then a few years ago I started seeing a bunch of articles and studies contradicting those. I still tend to stretch before long runs, but I am not as serious about it. I stretch out muscles that I know I tend to have problems with to try to loosen them up a little. I rarely stretch after. Sometimes I stretch without doing exercise to stay flexible, but usually only when I am feeling like something was getting overworked and tight. I need to get a roller...haha.
     

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