No harm in doing some good PNF stretching before competing, as long as you're warmed up so you don't risk the muscle tearing, and just don't go quite as hard with it. Use it to limber up the joints and get your ROM up, but don't try to push new heights of flexibility.
TNF/PNF , who cares...
When in the competition warm up would you do them:
I usually run briefly, than do a few groundwork drills with low resistance, . Than uchi komi, than throws. Followed by 30 sec full on fights with a partner.
Would you - stretch after a general warm up, at the end of your specific warm up, directly before a fight? Does it matter?
Great post! Agrees with all the stuff I've learned at Stadion.com.
Thanks for foam rolling tips...new area to research.
Do you have any opinions on how AGE affects stretching...er..flexiblility?
Age affects flexibility like it does everything else.... it slowly takes its toll. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't stretch. An older guy who stretches is still going to be better off than an older guy who doesn't.
Ok, my long overdue topic post. This one is going to cover common posture deviations and the muscles responsible. This will of course not be a list of every possible deviation, but it's a list of the ones that are most common. Other deviations are more rare, and often caused by more significant problems.
Lower Extremity Deviations:
Feet turned outward (they should point straight forward) - Tight calf complex (soleus and gastrocnemius)
Heels raising off the ground - Tight calf complex
Knees move inward - Tight adductor complex (primarily the adductor magnus, brevis and longus). Loose abductor complex.
Knees move outward - Tight abductor and/or external rotator complex (this one can be pretty complicated, but typically it's the Piriformis and/or Gluteus Medius that's tight). Loose adductor complex.
LPHC (Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex) Deviations:
Anterior Pelvic Tilt (more common) - Characterized by a more extreme arch in the lower back and the buttocks sticking back. Tight muscles are the hip flexors and the spinal erectors. Loose muscles are the Gluteus Maximus (often overlooked muscle as far as proper use is concerned) and Abdominals.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt (less common, but common enough to warrant mention) - Characterized by a rounded lower back and a slightly "thrust forward" look in the hips. Tight muscles are the hamstrings and abdominals. Loose muscles are the hip flexors and spinal erectors.
Upper Extremity Deviations:
Protracted Shoulders - Characterized by a forward sloping or "cupped" look to the shoulders. Tight muscles are the Pectoralis Minor and to a lesser degree Pectoralis Major. Loose muscles are the scapular retractors, particularly the Middle and Lower Trapezius and the Rhomboids.
Internally Rotated Arms - Characterized by a turning in of the hands when relaxed. When relaxed, the hands should have the thumb side facing forward, and very often the back of the hand will actually be facing forward. I've seen people with this so bad that the blade of the hand almost faces forward. Tight muscles - Latissimus Dorsi. Loose Muscles - Posterior Deltoid.
Elevated Shoulders - Characterized by a slightly shrugged look to the shoulders. Typically accomplanies protracted shoulders and/or protracted head. Tight muscles - Levator Scapulae and Upper Trapezius. Loose muscles - Scapular retractors and depressors, particularly the Middle and Lower Trapezius and the Rhomboids.
Head and Neck Deviations
Protracted Head - Characterized by carrying the head slightly forward, and a somewhat angled look in the neck. Often accompanied by protracted shoulders and elevated shoulders. Protracted head and anterior pelvic tilt almost ALWAYS occur together due to the occular reflex which will move the hips and head in combination in order to maintain center. Tight muscles - Sternocleidomastoid and deep cervical extensors. Loose muscles - Deep cervical flexors.
To Help Fix Deviations:
You'll notice that every deviation with the exception of the calf complex deviations have a group of tight muscles and loose muscles. Static stretching should be applied to the tight muscles, and targeted corrective strengthening exercises should be applied to the loose muscles.
Also, being aware of the deviation and consciously trying to alter your posture as much as possible will help greatly. Often, tight muscle deviations will cause neuromuscular patterns, or "body habits" where your body gets used to holding itself that way. Using conscious effort to correct this is extremely helpful. Sometimes deviations occur without any noticeable muscle tightness. In these cases, it's usually due to these body habits, and these can be quickly rectified through conscious effort.
Note 1: With calf complex deviations, sometimes a stretch will yield a normal range of motion, yet the deviation will continue. In most of these cases, the stretch being utilized is for the Gastrocnemius. This muscle can be normal length, but if the Soleus is tight, the deviation will persist. When this is the case, stretch the Soleus. The Soleus can be stretched by bending the knee during a normal calf stretch.
Note 2: These deviations are most easily detectable during movement, especially unstable or load bearing movement. Sometimes the deviations can be noticed while just standing, however, when being evaluated, most people have a tendency to subconsciously correct themselves, and in general, deviations are far less severe when just standing. A common assessment for evaluating these deviations is the Overhead Squat, where one holds their arms straight overhead with feet hip width apart and then squats 10-20 times, bring thighs to parallel each time. Otherwise, just do your best to assess yourself naturally during exercise.
I remember when I was in college and one of my professors saying that losing flexibility is what causes physical aging problems, which made sense at the time because it was explained that if you watch some elderly people walk you can see severe inflexibility in the legs causing them to go slow and take small steps. In my own research I found that it isn't inflexibility so much thats the problem, but loss of muscular strength. As muscular strength is lost, range of motion is decreased due to lack of use (which also cause many of the so-called age related injuries, but that is another subject), and it can be logically inferred that as mobility is lost other ailments also begin to happen including cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and others. What's even worse is when these elderly people find it too hard to even walk and are forced (or horribly recommended) to rid in one of those motorized carts in place of walking, which speeds such diseases and can lead to other problems, usually leading up to death.
This is just somthing I thought would be an informational add on to the topic.
In short: 'Use it or lose it'. If you try to reach a certain level of strength, flexibility, even intelligence (it can be trained just likeeverything else) you must maintain regular practice to keep your level up.
Tae Bo Master,
Can you use those foam rollers in the same manner for the adductors in the groin and the gracilis? There were no specific examples in the PDF but I would assume they are similar. I have had several groin pulls in my training over the years and I think my age is finally starting to catch up with me since I am having a hard time getting groin flexibilty back.
I've been trying to fix inflexible calves for ages - I have difficulty keeping my heel down, I tried the soleus stretch and it seems very tight and painful, so I guess its working!
Also, on your reccomendation I got one of those foam rollers - very cool too!
Thanks for all the good info :)