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Increasing flexibilty

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Who out there has significantly increased there flexibility, and how did you do it?

 

I have seen books and articles claiming that anyone can get really flexible (like able to do the splits) , but I am highly skeptical. I have never known anyone that is very flexible and wasn't always that way.

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Who out there has significantly increased there flexibility, and how did you do it?

 

Where? There ?

 

Get piss drunk and have someone slap the hell out of you... you'll be more flexible than a limp dick.

 

Naw... a regimen of stretching exercizes is key. You'll notice a great increase in your range of movement, really.

 

wink.gif

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I agree with dechristo. If you establish a stretching routine it will greatly improve your range. I have a set of 5 or so stretches that I do. I think it is important to make it simple. That way it is easy to fit in one set every day. Just stretch and hold for 30-50 seconds once through and you only need 10 minutes or so. Stretch when the muscles are warm and do em every day.

 

After a bit notice how much better things are.

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Thanks for the input Dechristo and Ketch. Let me give you a little more info about myself.

 

When I started rock climbing/bouldering, I could not even come close to touching my toes (with straight legs), and I was similarly inflexible in other stretches. I started stretching daily (more or less), and within a few months I did get more flexible. I could touch my toes, and even get a couple knuckles on the floor if I was particularly warm. The forward bend is really the only stretch that I have used to monitor any progress, but I think my hip turnout increased slightly as well. My flexibility then plateaued and I have been about the same for about 4 years. I still consider myself to be fairly inflexible, and I feel that it is a real weakness in my climbing (especially on near vertical walls, like a lot of climbs at Smith). I have tried some yoga, about 1 or 2 times per week, in addition to 10 or 15 minutes after I climb, or after a run. I didn't see any results from yoga after a couple months, but maybe I am not doing it often enough, or maybe I need to do it for a full year to see increased results. I also know there are a lot of other theories about the type of stretching needed to get more flexible (active isolated stretching, PNF stretching ...).

 

I am looking for what worked for others to really get more flexible. Is it possible that one day I might be able to do the splits? Could I one day step up to a hold at nipple height? Or am I doomed to complaining about gym routes that were set by short, flexible routesetters?

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My flexibility then plateaued and I have been about the same for about 4 years.

 

 

You'll need to become more frequent and aggressive in your execizes... the pain will be inflexibility leaving your body - or torn flesh.

 

...am I doomed to complaining...

 

Yes, I believe this to be true of us all.

 

thumbs_up.gif

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Here is an interesting tid bit...........

The pain you feel from stretching (at least initially) is due, in part, to a structure called the muscle spindle. The muscle spindle is a stretch receptor. Say you are walking down the street and you roll your ankle. The first thing you notice is a "reflex" that pops your ankle back into place. You don't dislocate you ankle, look at it, say "oh crap my ankle" and then movie it back of your own free will. That is the muscle spincle doing its job. It detects muscle fibers pulling apart (sliding fillament mechanism) and tells the brain something is wrong. The brain then tells the muscle to contract. Same thing happens when you stretch. You manually pull the fibers apart, the spindle thinks something is wrong and the brain contracts the muscle. SO, when you first start a stretch you are not actually stretching, due to you stretching and the muscle contracting. After 7-10 sec the brain shuts the spindle off, this is why after a few seconds of stretching some of the pain subsides and you feel you can stretch farther. That is why it is important to hold a stretch for 30 at least 20-30 seconds. Warming up helps, because warm muscles are more flexible and therefor more easily stretched.

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I was talking to a friend who was having some pain in his forearms and legs while he was climbing at the gym (Stone Works). He asked one of the employees why he was getting this pain and the employee told him not to stretch before he climbed because it was bad to do so. Anyone ever heard of this? I stretch for 5 - 10 minutes before I climb and I've never heard of this.

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I havn't heard that specifically. I have heard from several places that stretching cold is detremental to muscles. You should do warm up stuff first and stretch after that. I some time back changed to doing some warm up easy climbs and then climbing hard for a bit and then do a full set of streches after I am done. Seems to work great. The hardest part for me is getting back to the car after a crag and committing to 5 or 10 worth of stretches when the beer is calling me. smirk.gif

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Ive heard or read random tidbits about how stretching isnt helpful. I dont usually take it all in because I personally dont believe it. Im sure if you do a search on the internet you can find a fair amount of debate on that topic, collin. I find that kind of strange for an employee of a gym to give advice like that in such a lawsuit happy world.

 

Anyway....here is my take on stretching. I dont claim to have any facts or statistics to support my thoughts. Most of it is based on my experience of being a gymnast for 10yrs and climbing the past 3 or so.

 

When I was in gymnastics I had more flexibility in certain areas of my body than others. For example, I could easily do the splits with my left leg in front. In fact, I still can. I had to put a little extra work into specific stretches in order to do the splits with my right leg in front. When I worked on it, I could do it. In order to maintain the ability to do so, I had to continue working hard at it. I also spent those ten years working on the "straddle" splits (as they call it). I worked soooooo hard - specific stretches, extra time working on it, etc. Not once in those ten years could I actually do it. Close, but never close enough. On the other hand, friends of mine could easily do the splits that way. As Ive grown older, I believe there is a limit to where someones natural ability lies and a limit as to where you can 'stretch' your ability (refering to flexebility)

 

It sounds like you have worked hard to get to where you are now with your flexibility AND you continue to work hard as a way to maintain it. I would encourage you to keep at it. Maybe focus on maintenance vs improvement so you dont get frustrated and stop all together. Remember, stretching isnt just about the muscles. Its a great time to just relax and appreciate what your body can do.

 

One final observation. I hear your frustration when you talk about how your flexibility may be limiting your climbing. I would challenge you to use that as an advantage. Let that 'weakness' help your find more of your strengths.

 

Good luck to you!

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