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Some stretching issues
Some stretching issues
12/20/12 10:38 AM
I've just noticed lately now that I'm finally decently flexible that there are still some things I just can't do.

A big example would be in Yoga X in the cobbler pose, the second part where you are supposed to round your back and reach forward if I don't use my arms to pull myself forward I just kind of fall back.

I notice the same thing in a lot of hamstring stretches, if I don't pull myself either by grabbing my legs or have someone push on me or something I just can't go any further. Without pulling I can't really get myself to feel a great stretch anymore. And sometimes they seem so relaxed in their sitting down hamstring stretches especially, I have to work really hard to get to my toes haha. This seems to be the case with almost any stretch now that I think about it, if I had someone that could push and pull I would definitely be able to stretch further I just can't get my body to do it on it's own.

I've kinda been stuck at this level for about 3 months, and am struggling with improvements in my flexibility now.
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/20/12 12:55 PM as a reply to inShayniac.
CoachShayS:
I've just noticed lately now that I'm finally decently flexible that there are still some things I just can't do.

A big example would be in Yoga X in the cobbler pose, the second part where you are supposed to round your back and reach forward if I don't use my arms to pull myself forward I just kind of fall back.

I notice the same thing in a lot of hamstring stretches, if I don't pull myself either by grabbing my legs or have someone push on me or something I just can't go any further. Without pulling I can't really get myself to feel a great stretch anymore. And sometimes they seem so relaxed in their sitting down hamstring stretches especially, I have to work really hard to get to my toes haha. This seems to be the case with almost any stretch now that I think about it, if I had someone that could push and pull I would definitely be able to stretch further I just can't get my body to do it on it's own.

I've kinda been stuck at this level for about 3 months, and am struggling with improvements in my flexibility now.


It is tempting to want to get more stretch out of your body after completing P90X. After all, you have worked really hard for 90 days and you want to get even more out of your results. This is the time to STOP and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Like yourself, I wanted to be able to open up further in cobbler pose, and reach my toes in the forward bend. Without going into too much detail, I tried pushing a little harder one morning. This resulted in an injury that I need to have surgically repaired.

If you want more flexibility, you have to NOT push. This seems counter-intuitive, but let me illustrate. Our muscles, tendons and ligaments are under some degree of tension. When pushed beyond their limit, they will stretch, tear or break. The trick is to take them up to their limit and let gravity do the rest. In order to maximize the stretch, it is important to have an adequate warmup period. Then, only bend as far as your body will go WITHOUT additional effort. Don't force anything! Just hold it at the end point. When you do this, your muscles/tendons get a signal that allows them to gradually extend. It is a slow, subtle process but you will ultimately get more flexibility by not pushing. And don't think that because you did it today that you can automatically get to that point tomorrow. Just follow what your body tells you. Daily resting tension of the muscles varies. Some days are more flexible/stiffer than others. See how you feel today. Forget about yesterday and don't even think about tomorrow. Like Tony says, do your best, and forget the rest.

Brian
P90X Certified
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/20/12 6:27 PM as a reply to brianfine.
Excellent point. Just gotta keep staying the course. Thanks for the reply.
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/20/12 7:58 PM as a reply to inShayniac.
CoachShayS:
I've just noticed lately now that I'm finally decently flexible that there are still some things I just can't do.

A big example would be in Yoga X in the cobbler pose, the second part where you are supposed to round your back and reach forward if I don't use my arms to pull myself forward I just kind of fall back.

I notice the same thing in a lot of hamstring stretches, if I don't pull myself either by grabbing my legs or have someone push on me or something I just can't go any further. Without pulling I can't really get myself to feel a great stretch anymore. And sometimes they seem so relaxed in their sitting down hamstring stretches especially, I have to work really hard to get to my toes haha. This seems to be the case with almost any stretch now that I think about it, if I had someone that could push and pull I would definitely be able to stretch further I just can't get my body to do it on it's own.

I've kinda been stuck at this level for about 3 months, and am struggling with improvements in my flexibility now.


I think that some people just tend to be less flexible than others, especially in some muscle groups. You've found a few muscles that just are not as flexible. If you're not experiencing pain in them and you're otherwise fit, don't sweat it. You might be able to improve that flexibility by spending hours a day on it, but what is the gain from that?

I've always had tight hamstrings. Several years ago, it was causing me chronic pain, so I saw a physical therapist about it. Diagnosis: tight hamstrings. (This was after some time with BB workouts, tennis, and kickboxing, so I was not out of shape.) I started doing the stretches and strengthening exercises she recommended. After 6+ months, the chronic pain resolved. Some three years later, I still do extra stretches 3 - 4 times a week for those muscle groups, and I can't say that I've made huge gains in flexibility. I just think at some point, it's not happening.

That being said, here are two things that have helped me make small improvements lately.

1. I had read a reference to research that said that fewer long stretches were better than more short stretches. So instead of doing a stretch 6 times and holding for 30 seconds each, do 2 - 3 stretches that you hold for 2 minutes. For the past month or so, I've been doing this for some of my best hamstring and piriformis/glute stretches, and I think I might be seeing some improvement.

2. I got P90X2 and its foam roller around the beginning of 2012. I started with the regular roller and bought myself the rumble roller a few months ago. The foam roller does good things for my IT band, and my flexibility there is much improved. It's also been good for my piriformis and glutes, although I haven't seen it do much for my hamstrings. You might try it, if you haven't.

Melissa
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/20/12 8:22 PM as a reply to inShayniac.
Have you tried foam rolling? It's a GREAT way to break up some of the resistance you feel in your muscles. My muscles used to sometimes cramp during yoga, but after foam rolling for a while it really helped. Now I flow through the poses with (relative) ease.
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/21/12 8:38 AM as a reply to Sandtigar.
O yeah, I just finished a P90X2/Asylum hybrid. and I LOOOOOOVE the foam roller haha. It's been amazing.

And yeah I guess it's mainly my hamstrings that are tighter, I mean I can still touch the floor in a stand straight leg stretch, and I can grab my toes if I'm sitting down. So it's not like it's awful or anything, I just see all these kids on the dvd being able to grab their heels and wrist wrap or grab yoga blocks or whatever and it's kind of like...well damn...do I need to be getting that flexible as well?
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/21/12 9:00 AM as a reply to inShayniac.
As the saying goes, "You are unique. Just like everyone else."

Seriously, we are all made of the same stuff, just put together a little differently. So not everyone's anatomy does the same thing. The people in the video are in the video precisely because they ARE that flexible. They look good. Something to aspire to. If we could do this stuff right out of the box, we wouldn't need Tony and the kids.

Mr. Rogers once sang, "Everybody's fancy, everybody's fine, your body's special, and so is mine." I live by those words.

Also, here is my list of 3 rules for working out:
Rule 1: Listen to your body. If your bones/muscles/joints/ligaments are screaming at you to stop, and the little voice in your head says, "keep going," LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Which leads me to rule 2.
Rule 2: Do a little less than your max today, so that you can exercise tomorrow. There is nothing worse than pushing to your limit, and discovering later that it was beyond your limit, and now you have to rest for 3 days or 6 weeks until you are healed up. Which leads me to rule 3.
Rule 3: Don't kill yourself. It's only a video.
Like most videos we rent or buy, ultimately it is entertainment. This happens to be entertainment that's good for you. But only if you use it properly.

Shay - Be patient, don't push, relax into the positions and amazing things happen.

Brian
P90X Certified
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/21/12 10:56 AM as a reply to brianfine.
I second Brianot's posts above. Coming from someone who still IS extremely flexible - I used to be a lot moreso when I was younger, and it gets frustrating sometimes because I feel like I should be able to do more now than I can, BUT whenever you try to push yourself further than your body is ready to go, it can lead to more damage than good.

In stretching, you should feel tightness when you stretch but not pain - like if you were pulling a rubberband - you want your body to feel like it's at the point where you would need to pull the rubberband in order to shoot it off somewhere, but you don't need any more than that - your body will keep getting more flexible on its own the more you proactice. Like anything else, stretching takes a LOT of time to master. Some people are more flexible than others, but everyone CAN be very flexible - it just takes time and effort. =)

TIP: When I was training for skating, our stretch instructor used to always tell us to increase our flexibility, we had to hold each pose for at least one minute. The first 45 seconds would be our body adjusting to where we were in the stretch and the last 15 seconds would be where our muscles actually started stretching rather than resisting. I've never researched it myself, but I've always followed this advice and, like I said, I'm still more flexible than most. =)
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/21/12 11:17 AM as a reply to inShayniac.
Great advice from everyone above, particularly about working from where you are rather than unfairly comparing yourself to some of the superflexible people in the vids. I have terribly tight hamstrings. Always have. I'm very flexible in other ways, but any sitting stretch where I reach for my toes is very difficult. Here are a couple small bits of advice I've gleaned from my yoga teacher.

#1, forward bend comes from extending UP to create some space and then leaning forward from the hips. Just lunging forward is both ineffective and potentially damaging.

#2. when you are working on these poses put your butt up on a yoga block (or similar 4-6 inch lift) and let gravity help you. Don't force it, just fall into the position. Sometimes you can really surprise yourself here.

#3. Wherever you are, that's where you are. It's not a contest with anyone else. Just keep practicing and treating your body with reverence and respect.
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RE: Some stretching issues
12/21/12 11:25 AM as a reply to AdStaffAndrew.
AdStaffAndrew:
Great advice from everyone above, particularly about working from where you are rather than unfairly comparing yourself to some of the superflexible people in the vids. I have terribly tight hamstrings. Always have. I'm very flexible in other ways, but any sitting stretch where I reach for my toes is very difficult. Here are a couple small bits of advice I've gleaned from my yoga teacher.

#1, forward bend comes from extending UP to create some space and then leaning forward from the hips. Just lunging forward is both ineffective and potentially damaging.

#2. when you are working on these poses put your butt up on a yoga block (or similar 4-6 inch lift) and let gravity help you. Don't force it, just fall into the position. Sometimes you can really surprise yourself here.

#3. Wherever you are, that's where you are. It's not a contest with anyone else. Just keep practicing and treating your body with reverence and respect.


Hm, I really like those first 2 ideas. I think I'm extending up but I've never really thought about it that way.

Awesome replies from everyone emoticon
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