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DonGray

Aching after stretching

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HI Kit

I've read in your book that if you have stretched correctly and sufficiently hard enough, then you will experience aching the next day in the stretched areas.

Does that mean that if I'm not aching after some off from stretching, then i've simply not pushed myself hard enough / stretched vigorously enough? I.e not done it properly? It's something that I'm very new to and don't really know how to push my boundaries in the same way as with strength training.

How comfortable / uncomfortable should a person be when in a certain stretch position? I know when Coach Sommer observed us stretching at the London seminar, what we thought was intense stretching was actually viewed by him as just casual and comfortable limbering really :)

Much love

Don

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Hello Don,

This is such a deep question, and one not able to be answered briefly, but I will do my best. Much depends on your age, sex, and past flexibility experience.

The short answer is that you can calibrate your stretch intensity by the resulting soreness: often, once you start making progress, you will have what you experience as a really hard stretch, but there will be little residual soreness in daily life movements. In fact, advanced stretchers will try to recapture that soreness and find it difficult, yet will be still getting more flexible. On the other hand, if you can barely move in the following days (I am exaggerating a little here) then you know to back the intensity off in the next workout!

In the beginning, though, the first time you really stretch your hamstrings deeply (like in our modified front splits exercise, or a similar one) you can expect that you will feel sore for a couple of days, and still be able to feel the hamstrings in the following week. This latter soreness is more an awareness than real soreness, but the net result is that you will be disinclined to restretch during that period; as always, limbering and mobility can be done any time in that same period.

Advanced stretchers try to recapture this soreness, but usually cannot. No problem.

And all this depends on your current flexibility: for adductors, for example, if you have done lots of strength training in the past and little legs-apart work, then you can expect the key muscles that control this position (gracilis and the inner hamstring, semimembranosus) to be literally stuck together (fascial adhesions) and these will need to be loosened; I am working on a YT clip that shows this manual release technique in action at our last National Convention. And we will be using this manual release technique on all attendees of the forthcoming workshop:

Piacenza, Italy, 15–16 November

Stretch Therapy for gymnastics strength training (Sat–Sun)

Register your interest with Olivia, o_p1@mac.com

When you try to stretch adductors that are adhered in this way, the sensation is quite different to stretching other muscles: it feels like a thin, slightly dangerous, pain on a narrow line that goes over the knee joint on the inside, and (this is the important part) it feels like there is no 'headroom'—it feels like there is no stretch available. This is because the sensation is coming from the adhered fascia and less from the muscles. This occurs because (when you consider the attachment points) to bend forwards in the pancake, each muscle has to lengthen at slightly different rates—and if they are stuck together, nothing happens.

These adhesions are what stop most people 1) getting their legs apart and 2) leaning forward in the pancake position: it feels like there's just no movement available there. Once someone has manually released these muscles, you will experience immediate improvement in ROM in both actions.

More generally, you probably can stretch more intensely that you are—but the more intense, the closer to injury you will be. It is for this reason that you must keep heat in the body; you must attend extremely closely to the sensations coming from the body; maintain perfect form, and (this is the big one), relax the parts you are stretching as much as you can, even though the body is experiencing string sensations in the moment. As well, attend to the feelings that this activity elicits: the emotion is fear. I have written on this often, but it is the 'elephant in the room' that no one mentions. It is just a sensation.

I hope this helps

KL

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On 1/26/2014 at 8:06 AM, Kit_L said:

When you try to stretch adductors that are adhered in this way, the sensation is quite different to stretching other muscles: it feels like a thin, slightly dangerous, pain on a narrow line that goes over the knee joint on the inside, and (this is the important part) it feels like there is no 'headroom'—it feels like there is no stretch available. This is because the sensation is coming from the adhered fascia and less from the muscles.

This has been a sticking point for me (over three years). I have stretched and C-R time and time again, but now after reading all of your related forums on this site I know the reason why there was no improvement.

 

On 1/26/2014 at 8:06 AM, Kit_L said:

These adhesions are what stop most people 1) getting their legs apart and 2) leaning forward in the pancake position: it feels like there's just no movement available there. Once someone has manually released these muscles, you will experience immediate improvement in ROM in both actions.

After watching your 'Stretch Therapy fascial release for the pancake...' video numerous times and doing the manual therapy myself, I was FINALLY ABLE TO RELEASE GRACILIS AND INNER HAMSTRING. YES! And thank you. What worked when releasing - was deeper and longer holds. It was excruciating but beneficial. As you said, 'you will experience immediate improve in ROM...' which I did. Not only that but a great feeling of release sensations throughout my body over the next 10 or more minutes when walking and staying in this newly acquired ROM (cossack squat and straight legs apart). 

(prior to release) That pancake position was about 80 degrees. (after release) about 110 degrees. Even though I am excited and eager, will give it a rest, let it recover and look forward to playing around with this new ROM and freedom over the next few weeks.

From one grateful student.

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