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  1. #1
    redbottle is offline In Orientation
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    Questions on Stretching Before Weight Lifting

    Hi.

    I was just about to go do some upper body workouts when I realized I hadn't prepped really for it. First off was how to do stretching workouts for the upper-body. Lower body stretching is something most of us learnt well how to do at school but upper body stretching not so much. So I have a few questions about how to stretch well.

    1) How long should stretching optimally be, individually and total stretches?
    2) How do you stretch your lower back?
    3) If you're concentrating on your upper-body that day, should you still take time to stretch the lower body?
    4) Is yoga good enough to use to stretch prior to a workout?
    5) Please judge my current plan for tomorrow's stretch
    - 10 minutes treadmill to get my body warmed up
    - yoga sun salutation:http://audioyoga.com/Routines/SunSal...-Colour-LR.jpg
    - standing on leg lifted bent to stetch thigh
    - shoulders in circular motion
    - arms stretched across chest and other hand pushing it further to body
    - arms stretched out in front and hands waving up and down
    - arms raised upwards bent at the elbow backwards and with other arm pushing elbow downwards
    - rotating head in circular motion
    - lying legs on the floor and with the arms stretching to the feet.

    should I do more?

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  3. #2
    g8r80 is offline Request Title Change from Admin
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    Wow, that is quite a stretching program. I don't do any stretching at all - never have.

  4. #3
    redbottle is offline In Orientation
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    lol, I just tried some of these stretches and my shoulders had been hurting earlier from carryng heavy bags and now they're relieved. In conclusion stretching is beneficial.

  5. #4
    underdog13 Guest
    i never stretch before weights. as long as my body is warmed up ive never had a problem. remember not to do static stretching before ANY exercise.

  6. #5
    Ride_On is offline Third Set
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    I have not yet figured out when is best to stretch. I can tell you what has worked for me though. Generally, when doing cardio, I stretch before and after. Before, I think is probably due to the fact that my muscles will be in constant work mode the whole time. I don't do this during lifting because well, that doesn't happen, and I have read (and experienced) that it reduces power. I don't normally stretch after lifting unless I'm sore. However, I always stretch after running or cycling. Again, it is probably good practice to stretch after all the time, but before, I guess it depends on you. Foam rolling is apparently a great thing to do too:
    TMUSCLE.com | Feel Better for 10 Bucks

  7. #6
    David the PT is offline Warming Up
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    Post

    The purpose of warming up, such as on the treadmill, is to get the blood flowing, the muscles warmed up and the body prepared for the exertion to follow; the purpose of stretching is mostly to help prevent injury. But both also help your performance during your workout so should be part of everybodyís pre-exercise routine, as should the cool down at the end of your workout which helps rid the body of lactic acid and other toxins that have accumulated, while the stretch does a lot to prevent DOMS (muscle soreness) the following day. People who train hard, whether this be cardio-vascular or with weights, damage and shorten their muscles each time they train and a good stretch at the end helps prevent this which in turns helps prevent injury. Warm up stretches need only be 10-15 seconds each while cool down stretches need to be at least 20-30 seconds.

    I never used to warm up or cool down and I was always sore for at least a couple of days after each workout, not to mention always getting injured, but 5 minutes on the treadmill followed by a 5 minute stretch before and after each workout has helped enormously. I lift more than ever and Iím hardly ever sore the next day.

    I wouldnít use yoga to warm up, its purpose is more to do with relaxation, not in preparation for physical exertion, so Iíll give you my stretching routine below which only takes 5-10 minutes to complete. If Iím doing an upper-body workout I wonít bother stretching say, my quads, but sometimes while Iím resting I will just because itís more productive than doing nothing.

    Your stretch routine isnít actually a stretch, that needs to be at least 20-30 seconds like I said so shoulders in a circular motion isn't ggoing to do that, but itís not a warm up either (especially head rotations which in my opinion you should stop doing as they can pinch nerves at the back of the neck and cause a lot of problems!)

    Upper Body
    1. Hands out in front as if holding a large Swiss ball (for back of shoulders)
    2. Hands on lower back, push chest forward and try to bring elbows together (for chest)
    3. Right hand on head, left by side of leg and lean to the left (for right lat and oblique). Repeat other side.
    4. Touch toes, as long as you donít have back problems (for lower back)

    Lower Body
    1. Bend right leg, hold with right hand (for quad). Repeat other side.
    2. Bend left leg, right leg straight and out front (for hamstring). Repeat other side.
    3. Sit with soles of feet together as close to the body as possible and push knees towards floor (for adductors).
    4. Lay on back, left leg bent with foot flat on floor, right foot on left knee. Hands behind left leg and pull towards body (for Glutes). Repeat other side.
    5. Hands on wall, left foot almost to the wall and leg bent, right leg straight out behind with foot flat on floor (for calves). Repeat other side.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #7
    malkore is offline Deceptimod
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    best way to limber up (like many have stated) is warm-up sets that work the muscles properly, but with 40-50% of your normal working weight.
    this will get blow flowing, will wake up the brain and muscle connection so your working sets go smoothly, and assuming you're doing a full range of motion, will 'stretch' muscles adequately.

    24 hours post workout is when I get my foam roller out and stretch again.

    static stretches pre-workout can actually cause injury, and stretching between sets will actually weaken the muscle(s) during the next set.

  9. #8
    redbottle is offline In Orientation
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    thanks for the replies. I never heard of a form roller before, it looks really odd to be honest and I have to question whether it works, I mean its just foam?

  10. #9
    David the PT is offline Warming Up
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkore View Post
    static stretches pre-workout can actually cause injury
    I've read a lot about this and the tests I've seen that agree with you are mostly to do with runners and being TOO flexible, which I doubt is a problem with your average amatuer. Regarding weights though, I've always read and been told that it should be done pre-workout. Every gym I've worked in has told us to stretch clients pre-workout and for my personal trainer qualification our routine had to have stretching pre-workout or it was classed as unsafe and a fail. I think this is the case with all the PT examiners here in the UK but don't know about elsewhere, I would expect it to be the same in the US.
    Either way it's one of the many things to do with exercise where the experts don't really know!

    David.

  11. #10
    storyteller is offline Warming Up
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    I never even do warm up for my upper body...let alone stretching lol..I do cardio for 5 minutes before I hit squats but that's it..I use this lotion called Flex Power though..use it 10 minutes before workout and it warms up my muscles...I am lazy

  12. #11
    jewfro18 is offline First Set
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    Hahah now I am confused! I see some people saying not to stretch before, other people saying that they are trainers and you do have to stretch, who do I listen to lol?!?

  13. #12
    David the PT is offline Warming Up
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    Quote Originally Posted by jewfro18 View Post
    Hahah now I am confused! I see some people saying not to stretch before, other people saying that they are trainers and you do have to stretch, who do I listen to lol?!?
    There are parts of fitness that are science, there are parts that are personal preference. Do what you find works best for you.

  14. #13
    jewfro18 is offline First Set
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    Quote Originally Posted by David the PT View Post
    There are parts of fitness that are science, there are parts that are personal preference. Do what you find works best for you.
    Yea well I have been stretching before I bench or squat, and between sets so I don't get too stiff...

    Maybe I will try not stretching once, see if my weight goes up, or maybe I will try dynamic stretching instead of static stretching which is apparently bad for you?

    Thanks.

  15. #14
    storyteller is offline Warming Up
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    Quote Originally Posted by jewfro18 View Post
    Hahah now I am confused! I see some people saying not to stretch before, other people saying that they are trainers and you do have to stretch, who do I listen to lol?!?

    I would listen to second ones if I was you

  16. #15
    Eluzion is offline In Orientation
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    Stretching is never bad however its not good to stretch during or right before. Stretching a good hour before to warm up and then immediately after is best. By doing it before it gives your muscles time to loosen up and doing it right after will reduce stifness. I will stretch with power bands or low weight cables after followed by a good 10 minute stretch and I never get sore and helps maintain flexibility.

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