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  1. #1
    One day at a time chaztrip's Avatar
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    Stretching in the AM

    OK so on the weekends I have been getting up at 5:00 to go ride. I have to drive about 20 mins before I get to the Trail that I ride on… I need to start stretching better in the AM so if I stretch at home then get in my “Warm” car and drive then get on the bike 25 mins later, am I still OK? Might be dumb but I wont tighten back up that soon will I? And I still plan on warming up on the bike and not mash right away. Is this OK?

    Thanks
    "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."
    -Lance Armstrong

  2. #2
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    You really should not stretch cold muscles. It's recommended that you stretch muscles after an easy warm up from exercise- so you should stretch those muscles after a slow and easy warm up on the bike.

    What you might consider doing is getting to your metting point early (like 20 min early) and taking 5- 10 min of warm up, then another 5- 10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

    Yeah, I don't think you're ok, since you stretched cold muscles to begin with, then you wait an addtional 25 minutes before you actually get on your bike.

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    You really should not stretch cold muscles. It's recommended that you stretch muscles after an easy warm up from exercise- so you should stretch those muscles after a slow and easy warm up on the bike.

    What you might consider doing is getting to your metting point early (like 20 min early) and taking 5- 10 min of warm up, then another 5- 10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

    Yeah, I don't think you're ok, since you stretched cold muscles to begin with, then you wait an addtional 25 minutes before you actually get on your bike.

    Koffee
    To reiterate and slightly elaborate, stretching cold muscles really does very little.

    A very experienced trainer once said to me: "If you need to stretch before exercise to prevent injury, you are not flexible enough to start with."

    Point being, warm up, but this isn't your stretching. Warm ups getting blood circulating, joints warm etc. Stretching is trying to teach your central nervous system to allow your muscles a fuller range of motion and some say it aids in recovery (debateable).

    Warm up, ride, then stretch.

  4. #4
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    Elaborating a little further- most soft-tissue injuries can be avoided by stretching properly and warming up before exercising and taking the time to cool down afterwards. These precautions will ensure that your muscles are warmed up and that your joints are working at an increased range of motion when you are exercising, reducing your risk of damage to muscles, ligaments and joints.

    So, before you start the actual exercise, take the time to warm up 5- 10 minutes, then stretch the muscles, taking about 20 seconds to hold the stretch, and avoid bouncing while stretching the muscle. Then do your exercise, and at at the conclusion of the exercise, cool down to allow the blood to return to normal circulation and the heart rate to come down, then stretch again, holding the stretch about 20 seconds for each muscle group.

    I will guarantee you that every person, no matter how flexible, needs to stretch. I have friends who are also in the fitness field that have A LOT of flexibility- I've seen them do splits and advanced stretches. Some of them are pilates instructors and yoga instructors, and I've never seen any of them skip a stretch before exercising. I know some of the top experts in the fitness industry, and some of them are friends of mine that lecture across the country, and they would NEVER advocate skipping the stretch. Too many studies have proved that skipping the stretch before the exercise produces more injuries than if you took those extra few minutes, so don't minimalize the significance and importance of stretch- do it, and do it after you've done your warm up first.

    So, from what I've known from attending conventions, taking exams for my own training certifications, teaching thousands of classes over the past few years, and from speaking with other individuals in the fitness field, as well as the research I've read in the area, the order should be warm up, stretch, do the exercise, then stretch. This is the best method to minimalize the injuries that could result from skipping the stretch and/or the warm up.

    Koffee

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ebbtide's Avatar
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    Hi Koffee,

    Nice post, but now I have a question(s):

    What do you think is a good warm up for cycling (I don't think I've been doing any)?

    After a 37 year layoff from stretching I try to stretch two times a day, but I have not added any real flexibility in the 11 months I've been at it, any suggestions? I would really like to touch my toes someday.

  6. #6
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    A good warm up to cycling is a slow easy pedalling of the legs for 5- 10 minutes. If you have a heart rate monitor, do this at 60- 65% max hr.

    You don't have to do a specific aerobic exercise prior to cycling for the warm up...

    How much time do you spend stretching per session? If you can tell me that, I can make some recommendations. I used to be in the same situation. Now, I have better flexibility, and people tell me I'm pretty flexible, but when I look at my REALLY flexible friends and compare them to me, I feel like a stiff, old dog sometimes.

    Koffee

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ebbtide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    A good warm up to cycling is a slow easy pedalling of the legs for 5- 10 minutes. If you have a heart rate monitor, do this at 60- 65% max hr.

    You don't have to do a specific aerobic exercise prior to cycling for the warm up...

    How much time do you spend stretching per session? If you can tell me that, I can make some recommendations. I used to be in the same situation. Now, I have better flexibility, and people tell me I'm pretty flexible, but when I look at my REALLY flexible friends and compare them to me, I feel like a stiff, old dog sometimes.

    Koffee
    Time? Per session? Uh-oh, I think I need to spend more time stretching.

    I usually spend about five minutes on the legs and lower back, perhaps a few minutes longer if I'm tight. I see now (I search around in the last hour) that I'm not stretching well at all.

    I'm going to try some of the recommendations I've found on the web as it would be a shame to make you write me a book on stretching. But thanks for responding, and more importantly, emphasizing stretching in a way that I could finally understand it.

    Thank you,

    ehenz

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehenz
    Time? Per session? Uh-oh, I think I need to spend more time stretching.

    I usually spend about five minutes on the legs and lower back, perhaps a few minutes longer if I'm tight. I see now (I search around in the last hour) that I'm not stretching well at all.

    I'm going to try some of the recommendations I've found on the web as it would be a shame to make you write me a book on stretching. But thanks for responding, and more importantly, emphasizing stretching in a way that I could finally understand it.

    Thank you,

    ehenz


    Five minutes per session! Gaack!



    Anyway, I was thinking more like 30 minutes to an hour per day- and that doesn't include the warm up either. Have you considered trying yoga and taking yoga classes 3- 5 days per week? That would work wonders. That's how I was able to increase my flexibility.

    Check out Bob Anderson's book called "Stretching". I've worn out the pages of that book for years now- it's excellent, and then at the end of the book, he breaks down stretching by sports activity. You can go right to the cycling section and get the recommended stretches, plus illustrations.

    Thanks for not making me to write up a book- I gotta live too...

    Another thing you'll want to consider is that you'll have better success at pushing yourself if you can use resistance bands to gently increase your stretch beyond what you could do with your own strength and bodyweight. Try: http://www.spriproducts.com/ for products. I've used them for years, and I just picked up some great products at the Club Industry fitness products convention in Chicago last weekend. They are great, and the products are very reasonably priced.

    See if you can find a yoga class with partner stretching. Provided that they have a good instructor and you have a system so you can tell your partner when to stop pulling you in a stretch so you don't hurt yourself, it is an excellent way to get you into a stretch you couldn't otherwise get into. I had an excellent yoga teacher for a couple of years- partner yoga after about 20 minutes of warm up and another 30 minutes of individual stretching. She'd then have us partner up for another 20 minutes of partner yoga, then the last part of the class (it was 90 minutes), we'd be back to individual yoga moves. I had better results in that class than any other class.

    Koffee

  9. #9
    One day at a time chaztrip's Avatar
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    Ok this is a bit confusing and I am maybe from the old school... but 20 yrs ago when I played football the first thing that we did was stretch.. also when I ran track(sprinter) we stretched before we ran, always. So did things change so much in the last 20 yrs I have been in my Obese coma :-D?

    The only reason I ask is I have a had a bit of outside Knee pain uhhhooo IT Band I hope not and anyway I was reading somewhere about making sure that you are streching it good before you ride and make sure that it is warm.
    "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."
    -Lance Armstrong

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ebbtide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaztrip
    So did things change so much in the last 20 yrs I have been in my Obese coma :-D?
    Yes, we got old and brittle

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaztrip
    Ok this is a bit confusing and I am maybe from the old school... but 20 yrs ago when I played football the first thing that we did was stretch.. also when I ran track(sprinter) we stretched before we ran, always. So did things change so much in the last 20 yrs I have been in my Obese coma :-D?

    The only reason I ask is I have a had a bit of outside Knee pain uhhhooo IT Band I hope not and anyway I was reading somewhere about making sure that you are streching it good before you ride and make sure that it is warm.
    Things have actually changed in the last 3- 5 years. The new rule of thumb is to warm up first, then stretch for the reasons I outlined above. Stuff evolves....

    Koffee

  12. #12
    One day at a time chaztrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    Things have actually changed in the last 3- 5 years. The new rule of thumb is to warm up first, then stretch for the reasons I outlined above. Stuff evolves....

    Koffee

    Cant I just turn the heater on real high in my car for 15 mins!!

    Thanks for all the good input Koffee!!
    "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."
    -Lance Armstrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    Elaborating a little further- most soft-tissue injuries can be avoided by stretching properly and warming up before exercising and taking the time to cool down afterwards. These precautions will ensure that your muscles are warmed up and that your joints are working at an increased range of motion when you are exercising, reducing your risk of damage to muscles, ligaments and joints.

    So, before you start the actual exercise, take the time to warm up 5- 10 minutes, then stretch the muscles, taking about 20 seconds to hold the stretch, and avoid bouncing while stretching the muscle. Then do your exercise, and at at the conclusion of the exercise, cool down to allow the blood to return to normal circulation and the heart rate to come down, then stretch again, holding the stretch about 20 seconds for each muscle group.

    I will guarantee you that every person, no matter how flexible, needs to stretch. I have friends who are also in the fitness field that have A LOT of flexibility- I've seen them do splits and advanced stretches. Some of them are pilates instructors and yoga instructors, and I've never seen any of them skip a stretch before exercising. I know some of the top experts in the fitness industry, and some of them are friends of mine that lecture across the country, and they would NEVER advocate skipping the stretch. Too many studies have proved that skipping the stretch before the exercise produces more injuries than if you took those extra few minutes, so don't minimalize the significance and importance of stretch- do it, and do it after you've done your warm up first.

    Koffee
    I am not an advocate of stretching prior to exercise for conditioned athletes. An exercise specific warm up coupled with some dexterity training to get the CNS going will always be much more beneficial in my oppinion.

    When stretching prior, what are you trying to achieve?

  14. #14
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    The latest research suggests that cold stretching actually INCREASES your chance of injury. It is better to warm up with light/easy excercise before going hard and save the stretching for after.

  15. #15
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    You don't rev a cold engine do you? That is the analogy I have been hearing for at least the last 5 years. The reasoning behind both is that you can do the most amount of damage by overdoing before you are properly warmed up. Doesn't matter wether it is pouring on the gas before your oil is up to temp, or straining connective tissue before you are up to temp. Anderson's book is definitely worth the small investment- right on as usual Koffee!!

    DEMON

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    Quote Originally Posted by demoncyclist
    You don't rev a cold engine do you? That is the analogy I have been hearing for at least the last 5 years. The reasoning behind both is that you can do the most amount of damage by overdoing before you are properly warmed up. Doesn't matter wether it is pouring on the gas before your oil is up to temp, or straining connective tissue before you are up to temp. Anderson's book is definitely worth the small investment- right on as usual Koffee!!

    DEMON
    I agree completely with the analogy, but what is considered 'warming up' the engine?

    Stretching is normally the act of taking muscles to the end of their range of motion, where the stretch reflex kicks in. You then slowly take the muscle beyond the SR in a variety of manners to train the CNS.

    All this is very much conditioning based rather than preparatory.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-18-03 at 06:13 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    A book I have on stretching (Stretching, By Bob Anderson) suggests stretching after you take a hot shower. That helps your muscles to warm up and relax so you can safley stretch.
    Matthew 6

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    I tend to do a warm up and then gently stretch the hamstrings for 30 seconds each or so, I do the same for quads but not many other groups. What else should I be doing before a ride?

    Also, is it cheating to stretch in the hot tub?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    A book I have on stretching (Stretching, By Bob Anderson) suggests stretching after you take a hot shower. That helps your muscles to warm up and relax so you can safley stretch.
    It has been shown that the heat generated externally from hot packs, showers etc is not enough to aid in stretching.

    That said, it would be better than nothing but not ideal.

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