Thursday: Stretching…It’s a good thing.

Thursday: Stretching…It’s a good thing.

Thursday: Stretching…It’s a good thing.

Coach Dan here with some thought provoking questions.  Where does the toe tag on a dead person go if they don’t have toes?  At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?  Do they bury people with their braces on? Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?  If parents say “Never take candy from strangers” then why do we celebrate Halloween?  If a cannibal was on death row could he ask for the last guy that was electrocuted for his last meal?  What’s the difference between flexibility and mobility?  Are static or dynamic stretches better?  What do all of these things have in common?  They are confusing questions.  I can’t answer all of them in one blog but let’s put the last two under the microscope today.

Let’s start with the difference between flexibility and mobility before we get into how to properly apply them to exercise.  Flexibility is the ability to flex extend or lead a joint through its intended absolute range of motion.  Mobility is the ability to use that flexibility in conjunction with stability to create a range of motion in a compound movement.  Mobility also requires strength to produce full-range movement whereas flexibility is passive and does not require any strength.  Simply put flexibility is how far something will stretch and mobility is how much of that flexibility is functionally available.

Our goal with stretching is to lengthen the muscle and surrounding connective tissue in a safe and effective manner. This will help us improve our joint range of motion which will help us minimize our risk of injury.  We all instinctively stretch in tandem with yawning and at some point people realized that if they stretched before exercise their body felt less tight and they could exercise more comfortably.

With this in mind when we are about to hit any exercise or sport routine hard what’s the best way to warm up cool down and prevent injury?  The long standing belief has been that static stretching was the best way to warm up for any athletic activity.  Static stretches are slow and continuous stretches that take a muscle or joint to its furthest range of tension and then hold it there for a prolonged period of time while the body is at rest.  Being that you simply go as far as you can in static stretching it requires little or no training and is the easiest way for those who are just beginning to integrate stretching into their routine.

Dynamic stretching involves movements that closely resemble the movements during the intended sport activity.  Dynamic stretching also focuses on gradual increases as you reach into the stretch without jerking motions.  These could be as simple as doing the exact movements of the intended exercise at a less explosive rate and significantly lower weight.  This type of stretching should never be done completely cold and it is recommended to have done a previous warm-up before dynamic stretches to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up.  A quick run row or jump rope set should do the trick quite nicely.

To get slightly more technical dynamic stretching works by circulating the synovial fluid in the bursa which washes the joint.  Since our joints have no direct blood supply this nourishes and simultaneously removes waste products.  Joint salts and calcium deposits are also dissolved with the gentle movement patterns of dynamic stretches.

So the conclusion is really very simple: dynamic stretching before exercise and static stretching afterward.  Studies have shown that static stretching before strength training can actually impede muscle strength by as much as 10%.  We should only use them while cooling down our bodies to restore tissue length prevent long term injury and lengthen the tissues that we put under stress while exercising.

So now you know!  As always I invite you all to write me at dan@crossfithighvoltage.com if you have any burning questions you’d like to see answered in my weekly blog!  In the meantime start pondering life’s other confusing questions like “How do you handcuff a one-armed man?”

Thursday’s Training: Heavy MetCon

Skill: Clean Pulls

  • Sets of 5 Reps

 

WOD: 15 Min EMOM –

  • 2 KB Deadlifts
  • 3 Goblet Squats
  • 4 KB Swings

Skill: Clean Pulls

  • Sets of 5 Reps

 

WOD: 15 Min EMOM

  • 4 KB Deadlifts
  • 6 Goblet Squats
  • 8 KB Swings

A. For Time: 15 Min Cap

His:

  • 20 HEAVY Turkish Get ups
  • 30 Ring Dips

 

Hers:

  • 20 HEAVY Turkish Get Ups
  • 20 Ring Dips

 

B. 10 Min EMOM:

  • 4 Squat Clean Thrusters

For Time: 20 Min Cap

  • 30 Turkish Get Ups
  • 30 Muscle Ups (For Ladies – 30 Successful MU Transitions)

 

Rest 10 Mins

 

10 Min AMRAP:

  • 5 Clean and Jerk (135/95)
  • 200m Weighted Run
  • Add 20 lbs every round