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Flexibility

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Geoffrey Taucer

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I have heard a number of different theories on what the best way to stretch a muscle is, but a number of people seem to agree that stretching for less than 45 seconds does no good. However, my experience suggests otherwise; I find that if I do my splits in 15 second sets (ie left for 15, turn to middle for 15, turn to right for 15, rinse and repeat), by my third or fourth time going to a left leg split, I'm almost all the way down; and I'm NOWHERE CLOSE on the first set.

Is there a physiological explanation for this? It seems to me that there's more to it than the simple 45 seconds or no benefits rule, but I don't know the specifics, and I don't know the physiology well enough to say for sure that what seems to work for me should indeed work for everybody.

Thoughts?
 
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hammy

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I was always taught to hold it for a minute--15 seconds, take a deep breath and go a little lower, 15 seconds, go a little lower, continue for the entire minute. I think, and this is my theory, not sure if I'm correct because I too don't know physiology well enough, that holding longer allows the muscles to stretch and remember the stretch.
 

CoachL

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Yes but you also kinda proved my point in an earlier topic. When looking at flexibility I don't want to see how far you can get if you stretch for a given amount of time. To see your true flexibility I want to see where your at when you slide out. Not after going from split to split and back again. As you probably notice you're no where near down right when you slide in, and if you stretch the muscle properly you will eventually be able to go all the way down right away.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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OK, so tell me if this should be effective:

Usually, the way I have my kids stretch their splits is in three sets on each leg: two sets of 15 seconds on each, then one set of a minute. I'm usually not the one doing flexibility with the girls, but since I started doing this with the guys the results seem to be pretty decent.
 

CoachL

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I would be doing the minute first then having them do the 15 second hard pushes after that.
 

audra

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Flexibility is something I love to work and have done lots of research on- having graduated college with a degree in Health Science we had to take Ex. Physiology. I was also a dancer for many years and have taught Strength and Flexibility Classes.

Flex.. should be worked when a gymnast is warm, warm ups before workout are not the most productive time to do it. GT your 15 sec. and then hold is a great way to work it. You are doing Dynamic stretching on each side and then allowing them to relax at the end.

I prefer to do sets staying on the same side, using verbal cues to tell them to tighten up and when to relax. A great cue I use is to have them try to pull their feet together underneath the floor, this will create a resistance and after each 15 sec hold have them relax into the split for 30 sec. And the last time have them hold the split for a minute.

You can search online and find many studies on Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching, gymnasts holding splits for a minute alone is not going to increase the overall flexibility we are looking for in their skills. Gymnasts are always moving through the position so we want them to be able to know how to be tight while maintaining the flexibility, I'm sure you can all think of a gymnast you have worked with who has great flexibility but there is no strength in those positions therefore causing injuries.
 

JBS

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Here's an article I found from the Mayo Clinic:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretching/HQ01447

I have also attached an old (1990's) stretching document that I found online. I don't know how true it is, but it is very interesting. There is a section in it on duration. Be sure to read the disclaimer in it (it is written by someone with no formal medical training).

I really wish I could find some more current info.
 

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hammy

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Audra---So that explains my coach would have us sit with one leg under an 8-incher and one leg on top..then we'd squeze the mat for 15 seconds, lift our top leg for 15 seconds, repeat, then do our split with out leg up.
 
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gracefulone

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This is really fascinating nad helpful for me to read. I've always been able to do oversplits easily, so I never had to think about it. Now that I'm coaching, I actually have to!
 
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