Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Tag: Flexibility

Back to Basics: Recovery Day 2

The goal of this recovery workout is to increase circulation to many of the primary and secondary movers from the previous days' workout, increase range of motion and flexibility, and finally work on some core strength. You will gain much of your core strength and stability from squatting, deadlifting, overhead pressing, etc. but I believe that extra core-specific work is beneficial to keep a solid midsection, improving overall health and strength.

Warm-up

The warm-up is actually a series of mini-complexes. Each complex is to be done sequentially in its entirety before moving on to the next complex.

For example, if there are 3 exercises in the first complex, and you are to complete 3 sets of each exercise, it would look something like this:

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Break periods should be kept relatively short, moving from one exercise to the next in a timely manner.

Here are the complexes:

Warm-up 1
Band Shoulder Rotations (Vertical) 3x10/arm
Walking Twisting Lunges 3x10
High Knee Walk to Spiderman with Hip Lift 3x6

Warm-up 2
Side Bridge Lift 2x30s

Warm-up 3
Roller Angel 3x10
Band Pull-downs 3x10

Warm-up 4
Figure-4 Sequence 1x4 pos.

Warm-up 5
Child's Pose 2x30s
orld's Greatest Stretch 2x4/leg

I by no means expect you to know how to do all of these exercises so make sure to watch the following video on how they are done.

Complex

Similar to the mini-complexes above, this complex should be done as a circuit, completing all 3 exercises sequentially before repeating for 3 total sets. Use the above video to learn how to do each exercise.

Hanging "L's" 3x12-15
Squat Cross Reach 3x8/leg
Stir the Pot with Knee Raise 3x12-15

Foam Rolling

If you haven't already started, I highly recommend using foam rolling (myofascial release) as part of your recovery. Foam rolling at the end of the recovery day workouts is a perfect time to do so as your muscles and body are warm. I don't recommend foam rolling prior to the strength workouts as some research has shown that myofascial release can hinder strength output.

This looks just like the foam roller I have (no affiliation).





Back to Basics: Recovery Day 4

The goal of this recovery workout is to increase circulation to many of the primary and secondary movers from the previous days' workout, increase range of motion and flexibility, and finally work on some core strength. You will gain much of your core strength and stability from squatting, deadlifting, overhead pressing, etc. but I believe that extra core-specific work is beneficial to keep a solid midsection, improving overall health and strength.

Warm-up

The warm-up is actually a series of mini-complexes. Each complex is to be done sequentially in its entirety before moving on to the next complex.

For example, if there are 3 exercises in the first complex, and you are to complete 3 sets of each exercise, it would look something like this:

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3

Break periods should be kept relatively short, moving from one exercise to the next in a timely manner.

Here are the complexes:

Warm-up 1
Band Shoulder Rotations (Vertical) 3x10/arm
Walking Twisting Lunges 3x10
High Knee Walk to Spiderman with Hip Lift 3x6

Warm-up 2
Side Bridge Lift 2x30s

Warm-up 3
Roller Angel 3x10
Band Pull-downs 3x10

Warm-up 4
Figure-4 Sequence 1x4 pos.

Warm-up 5
Child's Pose 2x30s
World's Greatest Stretch 2x4/leg

I by no means expect you to know how to do all of these exercises so make sure to watch the following video on how they are done.

Complex

Similar to the mini-complexes above, this complex should be done as a circuit, completing all 3 exercises sequentially before repeating for 3 total sets. Use the above video to learn how to do each exercise.

Stability Ball Pike Roll-out 3x12-15
Lunge Kneel Knee Raise 3x8/side
Banana Kayak Twist 3x12-15

Foam Rolling

If you haven't already started, I highly recommend using foam rolling (myofascial release) as part of your recovery. Foam rolling at the end of the recovery day workouts is a perfect time to do so as your muscles and body are warm. I don't recommend foam rolling prior to the strength workouts as some research has shown that myofascial release can hinder strength output.

This looks just like the foam roller I have (no affiliation).





Does static stretching help?

Well, according to an article published over at Runner's World, apparently not! To be honest, I don't really want to link to the article because I think it is kind of bull, but if I am going to write about it then I better link to it. You can also get the actual study being examined here.

Ok, let's break this down. I really think this author took these research results and took them completely out of context.

First, they end up mostly agreeing with a body of previous research suggesting that increased range of motion following a prolonged stretching program is mainly the result of increased tolerance to the sensation of stretching, rather than actually loosening the muscle-tendon unit. That is, you get better at pushing a little farther when you're at the extreme edge of your range of motion.

Our muscles have a defence mechanism called the Golgi Tendon Organ which senses changes in muscle length. If your muscle is lengthening too fast or too far then you have a reflexive action that essentially locks things up and won't let you go any further. It takes a long time (per session as well as number of stretch sessions) to be able to relax your body enough to get past this defence mechanism. This is why we hold stretches for a while or use things like PNF stretching, using a contract-relax cycle to help inhibit this reflex.

This study was done for 3 weeks.

Let that sink in for a second....I stretch all the time and I witness almost no measurable changes in my flexibility in 3 weeks either. It takes months and years of consistent effort to get and maintain flexibility. Just as someone who gets up off the couch and starts training for a 5km run, you are not going to see immediate changes in your range of motion or flexibility.

Not only that, but this study was conducted on the calves. Off the top of my head I'm quite certain the ankles have the least amount of range of motion out of all of the body's joints. I guess it was an easy selection because the ankle really only bends in one direction (minor inversion/eversion).

Static stretching helps improve circulation, aides in recovery, but most of all, it is intended to increase range of motion.

I just got back from a USA Weightlifting course over the weekend in Rochester. One of the key contributing factors for weightlifters (can be applicable to other sports too) is the fact that flexibility and full joint range of motion is not only critical to success, but strongly promoted for safe training. Weightlifters are some of the most flexible athletes in the world!

Having said all of that, static stretching should not be done prior to a workout. It has been proven to not reduce risk of injury and can even decrease strength and power performance. However, stretching at the end of workouts when the body is still warm is still highly recommended to increase range of motion to properly perform exercises safely and effectively.

To be honest, this is an interesting topic of research/discussion. How important is flexibility? I don't believe everyone needs to have the flexibility and range of motion as say a gymnast, however an increase range of motion for the average population would probably benefit those at risk for injuries.

Take back injuries, for example. I would love to see a study conducted on improving flexibility of things like the lower back, hamstrings, hip flexors, abdominals, gluteals, etc. (common low back pain causers) over a long-term study (longer than 3 weeks) in order to see the benefits of flexibility training.