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  1. #1
    Banned Swoyer's Avatar
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    *The Complete Guide To Stretching*

    Stretching is very important to bodybuilders. Many of us stretch our muscles, but some do not. This article is about the importance of stretching, how it can benefit you, and how to properly stretch.

    -What exactly does stretching do?
    Stretching is very helpful to bodybuilders. It can be defined as something soft or elastic being made or being capable of being made longer or wider without tearing or breaking. What does this mean? Stretching makes your muscles longer and bigger. When you stretch a muscle, you are pulling on the fibers, and causing them to stretch out, This results in a longer muscle belly. Well why would you want a longer muscle? Longer muscles have more potential for growth. If you do not stretch, your muscle still grows, but its growth is very limited because it is short. A short muscle can only grow so much. On the other hand, if you stretch a muscle, resulting in making it longer, there is more room for fibers to expand and grow, filling in the muscle. Think of muscles as balloons. You have both a short balloon and a long balloon. You can blow up the short one, but it can only be blown up so far. Then you blow up the longer one, and it can be filled with far more air, and can be inflated to be much bigger. Compare the two pictures below. Both are of the biceps. The first one is a much shorter, bunched together bicep. The second is a stretched, longer bicep. See that the longer bicep has more room to grow, because it can grow taller.

    Short bicep:


    Longer bicep:


    There are also other benefits to stretching. Stretching can help prevent injury, and boost performance. A flexible muscle is far more resistant to injury than an inflexible one. A muscle fiber can withstand more force before breaking when gently stretched, which allow you to work it harder. Gentle stretching causes a slight rise in the temperature of the muscle tissue that raises the threshold at which the fiber breaks, also improving the function of energy-generating enzymes which are beneficial during exercise, giving you more energy to do your workout.

    -When to stretch?
    After your warm up, and after your workout are the best times to stretch. You should stretch after your warm up because your muscles will be warm. A warm muscle is far easier to stretch than a cold one. Stretch each muscle before your workout. This will expand the muscle, and as stated above, help increase performance. You should also stretch after your workout. You should do this to loosen all of the muscle fibers you worked so hard to contract and break down. After your workout is when the most blood is pumping through your body, and also when your muscles are warmest. This is the perfect time to lenghen you muscles. I also like to stretch in between every set, because it loosens my muscles and provides a better pump for me.

    -How to stretch?
    It is important to learn how to stretch properly. Here are some pictures of people stretching, categorized by muscle group.

    The Legs:
    Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves (in that order)


    The Back:
    Lats, Middle Back, and Lower Back (in that order)


    The Chest:
    Pectorals (general)


    The Arms:
    Deltoids, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms (in that order)


    The Neck:
    Traps


    The Abdominals:
    Rectus Abdominis, Obliques (in that order)
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  2. #2
    Registered User wesleypryor's Avatar
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    Good point with the biceps.
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  3. #3
    Who dis? lakerzfan07's Avatar
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    My healthful living teacher in college told us that we shouldn't stretch after a workout because it creates tears in the muscles, and not the good kind created by weightlifting. And although he is like 6'4" and has at least 17-18 inch biceps.

    And also I read in the textbook for that class that stretching before an exercise temporarily decreases that muscles strength?
    Last edited by lakerzfan07; 12-12-2008 at 05:17 PM.
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  4. #4
    Get'n huge you know partymonster975's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lakerzfan07 View Post
    My healthful living teacher in college told us that we shouldn't stretch after a workout because it creates tears in the muscles, and not the good kind created by weightlifting. And although he is like 6'4" and has at least 17-18 inch biceps.

    And also I read in the textbook for that class that stretching before an exercise temporarily decreases that muscles strength?
    insertion points are also a big key hear. Its kinda genetics and not so much stretching, especially about the bicep.
    S
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  5. #5
    IDFA Pro rad_rex's Avatar
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    Great article, I sometimes feel like im the only person at my gym that ever stretches. Repped OP
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    Stretching will not change where your tendon insertions are, if you have a short bicep insertion, thats genetics, stretching doesnt make it a long bicep insertion...

    The part about preventing injury and increasing performance is right, but the first part is terribly wrong.
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    Registered User Zeddicus_Zul's Avatar
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    nice article, repped
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    Thumbs up What about Static and Dynamic Stretches

    Mrswoyer,Please post about static and dynamic and other kind of stretches.It will be helpfull. Thanks for this nice post.
    you can if you think you can.
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  9. #9
    Registered User njman's Avatar
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    not really that complete, you left out how to stretch and different types of stretches

    A good book/ e-book is by Pavel Tsatsouline - Relax Into Stretch

    He states that tightness is neruolgoical, your mind stops your body from stretching to far to be safe. He states an example of lifting your leg onto a surface about waist height. If you can do this, what stops you from doing a full split on the ground? There's no muscle running from one leg to another.

    Another thing is about stretching the hammies. when stretching your hammies, he says to bend your knees slightly and arch your back and keep your back tight. This will make you feel your hammies stretching instead of the tendons behind your knees.


    i stretch ballistcally a bit before i workout, i found static decreases my performance, or maybe it was all in my mind, who knows
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    The Abdominals:
    Rectus Abdominis, Obliques (in that order)


    What is the benefit of this particular exercise?
    Are there any good stretches to do for the legs and hips prior to going on a treadmill any of you can recommend?
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  11. #11
    Strength Coach tovlakas's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    This article is pretty inaccurate.

    1. Stretching does not lengthen your muscle visibly, and you posted a shot of someone with a high bicep insertion point and someone with a lower bicep insertion point. that is genetic and has absolutely nothing to do with stretching.

    2. Stretching before working out has been debunked so many times it isn't even funny. You should never stretch before lifting. Contrary to what you posted, it does NOT increase performance, it decreases performance and strength. You should ONLY stretch AFTER you work out, never before.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/sp...in&oref=slogin
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    Registered User Metal_Fingers's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tovlakas View Post
    2. Stretching before working out has been debunked so many times it isn't even funny. You should never stretch before lifting. Contrary to what you posted, it does NOT increase performance, it decreases performance and strength. You should ONLY stretch AFTER you work out, never before.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/sp...in&oref=slogin
    What? Really? I am not saying you are wrong, but I always like stretching before lifting. When I am done stretching it feels as if all the tension is let out of my body and I am more relaxed/focused. But I am not saying it helps/hurts your lifts. I just dont see how lifting cold turkey is benefitial.
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  13. #13
    Strength Coach tovlakas's Avatar
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    lifting cold is bad. warming up is necessary.

    stretching and warming up are not the same thing.
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    Registered User Galmo's Avatar
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    i dunno about anyone else but i get tired right after i stretch..

    stretching in between sets is probably the worst for me

    i think stretching contributes to muscle growth so little that it doesn't even matter if you do it or not

    still a good article.. stretching is important right when you wake up
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by tovlakas View Post
    lifting cold is bad. warming up is necessary.

    stretching and warming up are not the same thing.
    dynamic stretching before lifting good, static stretching bad.

    At least as far as overgeneralizations go.
    Consistency
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  16. #16
    Inspire to Achieve Oakey's Avatar
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    One thing I've heard before is that if you hold a stretch for too long, a chemical is released which temporily relaxes the muscle.
    This would make sense because of the weak feeling when releasing a stretch.

    The only reason I can see fit for feeling tired after stretching is the fact that the blood is in-fact having to be pumped faster to reach the places you are stretching.
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    warm up to prevent injury i promise if you dont one day you will regret it
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    Registered User kmart07's Avatar
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    so static stretching after lifting is good?
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    I was looking for something like this! It was clear, simple, to the point, and very helpful. Thank you!
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    I try to do 5-10 mins stretching when i wake up in a morning and the same again before a work out or play sports. I find it improves my general performance and definitely helps prevent pulling a muscle as England's bloody freezing most of the time. Cycleing rather than driving to the gym gets my leg muscles warmed up as well
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    Registered User ThomasK's Avatar
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    are you sure that short/long biceps isnt just based on genetics?
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    I'm in the middle on the stretching thing. I've read recent studies that feel that stretching before you excercise is bad as it weakens the muscles and makes you actually more prone to injury. These studies made sense. They suggest that you instead do more of a jerking type of warmup. Kind of like instead of stretching the legs you would kick them in a certain way to warm them up and so on. I'm not totally sure on what they felt was best, just that stretching before you workout might be bad.

    On the other hand, I do feel that stretching your muscles after you workout, and even days later can be helpful for healing and growth. Plus it helps keep you limber and loose.

    I have a tight lower back and often stretch the back of my legs to help my back pain so that's good, but I actually don't stretch a ton anymore before lifting or workinout before cardio. Just a few minutes worth where as I used to do about ten minutes worth all over. I reley more on some brisk cardio to warm me up, even if it's heavy cardio that I plan on doing.

    Just my two cents.
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    As I am not knowledgable enough to say whether this advice is correct or not, what I do know is that my PT doesnt get me to stretch before workout, its always a solid warmup before training. But he always gives me stretching exercises after training and they are always based around the muscles I worked on in a particular training session. Personally for me, I have found these beneficial to reducing muscle soreness and recovery (not that I walk out of the gym without hurting like hell, just makes me less stiff in the muscles). As an example, before I started stretching after training, I couldnt lift my arms above my head (to stiff), since I started stretching, I can now lift arms above my head, still sore as hell but more limber. Is limber actually a word LOL.
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    I cannot believe how controversial this topic is...It is very interesting to see the effects of stretching. I am going to school this summer for Physical Therapy and I cannot wait to know when and which is more beneficial.
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    heres some good stuff about stretching: http://www.trickstutorials.com/index...e=content/flx3
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  26. #26
    Banned Swoyer's Avatar
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    Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000) Swoyer is just really nice. (+1000)
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    the initial shape is, but i beleive you can change it slightly if you stretch more. now it wont be such a drastic difference like in the pictures, but that was just to show for an example
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  27. #27
    Banned ShadyBobcat's Avatar
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    wow, i always stretched before then warmed up.
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  28. #28
    Registered User newbietee's Avatar
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    You should always stretch before and after a workout.
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  29. #29
    Registered User rewsnAehT's Avatar
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    Like!
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  30. #30
    Wholesale Specialist rockwholesale's Avatar
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    Flexibility is so key to making positive gains! It's a wonder more people don't devote more time to stretching.
    Beverly International - www.therockwholesale.com
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