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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since it's the off season for most of us right now, lots of people are working on their strength and/or their flexibility. I know that I am, and I remember a bunch of people back at the start of the month talking about how they were going to try to make yoga a more regular part of their training.<br><br>
While swimming today, with nothing better to do with my mind than count to two (100m repeats, in a 50m pool) I started thinking about what happens when we start working on our flexibility.<br><br>
Do we need to keep strengthening as well, so that our muscles stay strong through their whole range of motion? I was wondering about whether or not we ever get 'weak spots' when we suddenly are able to use a wider range of motion. What have been your experiences, or am I making up problems to cope with keeping my face in the water for 50m at a time?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I have been really gung-ho with yoga for a few months and have really gained a lot of flexibility. I hoped it would translate into a longer and more fluid running style and more speed for free, but it has not. I do feel that I can get lower in the aero bars and that my daily physical health is improved, but it has not helped or hurt my sports performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've been really trying to keep up with the yoga lately as well. I keep wondering whether I need to make sure I keep strengthening as well as stretching. That being said, improved daily physical health is nothing to sneeze at.
 

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I think that running (especially), biking, and swimming have such a high degree of specicivity (sp?) that it's tough to see improvement by doing other things (strength, flex, etc)...although I DO think they are important and as others have said improved daily physical health is worth it alone. That said, I also believe that there are some side effects from those things which play a role in improved running, biking, swim etc...I'm sure injury prevention is up there on that list...
 

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I think it's important to keep stretching AND strength-training. And strength-training doesn't always mean using heavy weights at the gym...it can mean doing low rpm work on the bike, push-ups, etc. Good weight training will have you move through a full range of motion (if not in each exercise, then through a series of exercises.) In that way, you will not necessarily hinder your flexibility. And I can't imagine that flexibility training will hurt your strength either (with the exception of stretching right before a workout-- I've read some studies that indicate that can hurt your performance to some degree).<br><br>
The fact is that we lose bone mass continually after a certain age (25? 30?) and if we don't strength train in one form or other to keep them strong, it can be a problem later (when I plan to be winning my age group in the 70-75 category!) And while running will keep your leg bones/hip bones strong...it's not going to do much of anything for your upper body.<br><br>
The other thing is muscle balance. We work the heck out of some of our muscles-- calves, quads, etc, -- but not so much some others. Weight training to maintain balance is important for injury prevention, which has got to be good for performance!<br><br>
Sorry I'm so long winded....<br>
jen
 

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I believe stretching and strength training (not sports specific) are key to injury prevention. I am very flexible all around, yet certain muscles constantly get tight (i.e. TFL, piriformis, from running), I think because these small muscles have to overwork due to other muslces are weak/under-utilized or simply go through too much repetitive motion. Muscle inbalance brings all kinds of pains and aches and can lead to or cause more serious injuries. I stretch all the time but not enough strengthening. I learned quite a bit about this from a few good PTs/massage therapists.<br><br>
We all wish we had more time to spend stretching/strengthening in addition to swimming, biking, and running, don't we <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">?
 

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I am doing both to a limited degree and hope to continue throughout the season. I have a a tendency to tight muscles so I should really do more. Right now my focus is more strength than flexibility but as trianing volume increases it will probably reverse.
 

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Jen! We seem to have the same goals. When I check the results of the races I go to, I always find that the only category I could easily and consistently win is 70-75 or 75-80. So that's something to look forward to! Everything I do know is just base training for that.
 

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My weights person is a huge advocate for flexibility stuff......<br>
AND, I have to say I think she's right. She got me stretching...not a ton, but at least consistently, and I do feel better when I do it.<br><br>
I can now tell when I don't do it regularly. What sux is that when I was in my 20's....NADA on the stretching, and I could get away with it. Now? nope, I NEED it.
 

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I was in much better shape overall when I had a balance of cardio and strength training in my regimen. Now, after nearly 3 years of just cardio I am feeling pretty beat up and injury prone, especially my back. So much of our strength and balance comes from our core. When our core isn't strong our form in all sports suffer. I haven't seen just running, just biking or just swimming make any improvements to my balance or form. I am convinced the reason I haven't made the kind of improvements I should be seeing is because I am lacking in strength and flexibility. I see that as my weakness and what is holding me back. I now firmly believe building a good strength base is just as important as building a good stamina base.<br><br>
To that end, I've been slowly adding yoga and pilates to my weekly workouts as I start to ramp the running back up. After another 4 weeks I'll start adding in weights and hopefully find a new pool so I can get back to swimming. I also need to build a lot of leg strength which I had once and has now disappeared. I know that also protected my from injury and pain and I just felt better. My lungs always used to always be spent before my legs ever were. Now it's the other way around.<br><br>
I guess we'll see this summer when racing season rolls around if that all pans out. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> I am confident this is the right approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I used to be one of those guys who stretched by reaching for the shampoo in the shower after a run. I'm a lot more disciplined these days. I've also been doing some strength-training these last few weeks, which seems to agree with me. Mostly, I like driving my wife nuts making muscles for her to gawk at. <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"><br><br>
So, do strength and flexibility training always come in packaged sets? Jen, I know what you mean about muscle balance - you can always tell the pure runner because he's almost bowed over backwards due to lack of flexibility in the hamstrings and no muscle in the quads.
 

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Months isn't gonna do it at your advanced age, my man. <img alt="roll_eyes.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/roll_eyes.gif"><br><br>
Years. But regardless, there is no question yoga rocks the house. I love it and there are some changes I can see right away, but most of them are gradual - it's not a "forced" kind of thing so it's not gonna happen super fast. And as we age, we loose flexibility so it's a counter-strike against that.
 

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stretching and strengthening are apples and oranges.<br>
You don't need to worry about weak spots unless you overstretch pre-workout.<br>
You won't have any weak spot due to stretching because you won't suddenly see any gains in flexibility. For the sake of the argument I'll compare it to the base 3. It would be most equivalent to running. You can hire a swim coach and see massive sudden gains in the pool. Get on a bike for the first time in years and see massive improvement in a week. You can run and run but unless your timing and logging and studying that improvement you are likely not to even notice you are getting better.<br>
Strength training on the other hand has immediate tangible results.<br><br>
Do both! But if one has to fall by the wayside for a day or week choose to keep on your stretching (assuming you are still 'training') Flexibility is a slow ongoing process that you have to keep up w/ near daily to see improvement. Strength training can be done only 3x/week and still see major improvement. If you take a couple days off from stretching but are still training you will have lost <i>some</i> flexibility. If you have to take a few days off from lifting you will still most likely be able to lift whatever you could lift last week.<br>
I don't understand the argument "I don't have time to stretch" this is literally something you can do anywhere at anytime.
 

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My experience is similar. I got in my first yoga session in about two months (some knee issues kept me out of action) and I could notice how much flexibility I had lost.<br><br>
With that said, I've noticed the strength gains for me fall by the wayside nearly as fast as well. I'm trying to make it a point to try to sneak in 30 minutes of light strengthening & stretching when possible, provided there's no injury issues in the way.
 

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Has anyone ever seen something like a "workout of the day" web site? I hired a personal trainer to give me some core strength workouts and i'm really impressed with the results in just a couple of months. I meet with him every few weeks and he gives me a new routine. Problem is he's expensive! I need something like a random workout generator because I'm not creative enough to think up my own plan.
 
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