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Not progressing with flexibility anymore


Pat

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Hello,

I have been stretching for 45 minutes twice a week for a year and now 3 times a week. I saw huge flexibility improvements during the first 6 months but very very little (if any) over the last 6 months. It's a bit frustrating.

 

Anyone has advice for this or would know reasons for this?

 

 

Thank you

My Battle Log

Challenges 1, 2,

Escape the Matrix Quest

 

 

Those are challenges I couldn't complete during previous 6 Week Challenges. While they won't be my focus for the next 6WC, I am keeping them here until I complete them. I WILL complete them.

 

Push ups challenge (3 sets of 30)

50%
50%

 

Freaking pull ups challenge (10 consecutive pushups)

64%
64%

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Could be that you've reached the limits of your personal flexibility. Or it could be that you may need to switch things up a bit - eg. if you've been working on static stretching, maybe swap the focus for dynamic stretching for a while. Or possibly something in your lifestyle outside of your workout is limiting your progress (if you're sitting at a chair slumped over for 10hrs a day, 20min of stretching won't entirely counteract that). OR your flexibility has just caught up to your strength, and so now you'll need to work on moving both factors forward together (weaker strength at the end of the range of motion can limit flexibility, as a protective mechanism). Other possibilities include: joint impingement from poor alignment (solution:try joint distraction with bands to add some space to the joints you're stretching), inflammation or insufficient blood flow (solution: try voodoo floss or foam rolling/SMR before stretching as a form of occlusion stretching), poor motor control/movement patterns (solution: yoga, voodoo floss, physio, working on form), reciprocal inhibition (solution: try contracting the antagonist muscle during the stretch), previous injury & scar tissue (solution: go talk to a physio, they're the only ones who can give advice on that kind of stuff).

 

As you can see, lots of different factors could be affecting your plateau. But I'm not an expert - I'd love to hear what solutions you arrive at through your own research and experimentation. Be safe, have fun! :) 

 

 

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Like any kind of conditioning, there are newbie gains, plateaus, and points of diminishing returns.  My first questions are:

-Why are you so dedicated to stretching?  The goal could need a certain process.

-Are you focusing on joints or muscle pairs?  Muscles work in pairs and at some point you won't get good flexibility improvement without strengthening the agonist that pulls against the muscle you're trying to stretch.

-Are you staying warm for the entire 45min?  Not getting warmed up and not revisiting the warm up in that length of time will make a difference too.

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Easeful, Peaceful, Useful... "An easeful body, and a peaceful mind, allow you to become a useful person" -Swami Satchidananda

 

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Definitely making sure you are nice and warmed up. Switch up your stretches (I.e. you can reach your hands flat on the ground in a forward fold, so move your hands behind your feet), or use props like the wall (standing split, straddle forward fold) or buy a cheap yoga block at five below. And sometimes, with stretching, you may not see progress changes for MONTHS. I'm trying so hard to get deeper in my dancer pose, and I think I'm making millimeters differences each week. Be patient with your body, trust the process.

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On 2017-01-27 at 4:36 PM, Sahaja said:

-Are you focusing on joints or muscle pairs?  Muscles work in pairs and at some point you won't get good flexibility improvement without strengthening the agonist that pulls against the muscle you're trying to stretch.

 

Hi all. Thank you for your help and sorry for the wait to get back to you. All your answers are great and each of them gives me stuff to investigate. So many options! its a bit overwhelming. I'd like to know more about the quote above. joints vs muscle pairs? Where can I learn more about this?

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My Battle Log

Challenges 1, 2,

Escape the Matrix Quest

 

 

Those are challenges I couldn't complete during previous 6 Week Challenges. While they won't be my focus for the next 6WC, I am keeping them here until I complete them. I WILL complete them.

 

Push ups challenge (3 sets of 30)

50%
50%

 

Freaking pull ups challenge (10 consecutive pushups)

64%
64%

Link to comment
On 2/1/2017 at 11:04 PM, Pat said:

 

Hi all. Thank you for your help and sorry for the wait to get back to you. All your answers are great and each of them gives me stuff to investigate. So many options! its a bit overwhelming. I'd like to know more about the quote above. joints vs muscle pairs? Where can I learn more about this?

I learned about it in studying yoga and anatomy, but a quick google search of 'muscle pairs' or 'antagonistic muscles' should let you find out how the paired groups of muscles work together.

 

The basic idea is that when a muscle like the biceps  works to move the elbow for curls, the tension of the triceps on the back of the arm resists and stabilizes the elbow so the movement is controlled and safe.  The opposite is true for pushups or dips, the triceps work to move the elbow and the biceps resist.

Easeful, Peaceful, Useful... "An easeful body, and a peaceful mind, allow you to become a useful person" -Swami Satchidananda

 

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Another thing to consider, one of my teachers told me it takes 10min in a posture for the tendons to release (whatever that means in real physiology), but holding a single stretch for extended periods of time does work.  For instance, the Valentino brothers, for split training, will have you put your legs up a wall so your feet are facing the ceiling, then slowly allow them to separate as far as you can, then read a book (or something) and allow gravity to keep pulling them towards the ground.  Be careful coming out of an extended stretch, things can tighten up.

 

Also, you can stretch out, then, while in a stretched position, engage the stretched muscles, try to pull against the stretch (I hope this makes sense?) also called isometric stretching.

Just because I am right, does not mean I am RIGHT, or that you are wrong.

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I had a similar experience a couple of years ago. I just didn't feel that I'm making any progress and although I'm ashamed to admit that, I was pretty frustrated (and yoga should teach you the exact opposite - how to be calm and serene, how to focus on good things, or just empty your mind from thoughts). Anyway, the thing which worked for me is similar with what mmead0105 mentioned - I learned to become truly patient. And determined. I stretched and stretched and stretched, changed the position of my body, and did a lot of isometric stretching as well, and millimeter by millimeter I noticed that I'm slowly improving when it comes to flexibility.

 

Just remember, the thing with flexibility is similar to weight loss - it's easier to lose 20 kilos when you start the weight loss process than to lose the final two. :) Just be patient and trust your body. :) 

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