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Old 11-18-09, 02:31 PM   #1
daven1986
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How flexible are you?

I imagine that cycling benefits from flexibility somewhat and also that it impedes flexibility by tightening muscles (similar to sprinting).

I have very bad flexibility and it is something I want to work on for my health as I think it is important, and because I want to be more flexible!

So:

1) How flexible are you? (I.e. can you touch your toes?)

2) How do I get more flexible? (Any particularly good stretches etc?)

If it helps I am a 22 year old male.

Thanks

Daven
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Old 11-18-09, 03:12 PM   #2
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I am a 37yo mail, and yes, I can touch my toes. If I work at it, I can go flat palmed, so I would consider myself pretty flexible. I upped my cycling quite a bit about 3 years ago and it does not seem to have affected anything. I do stretch out twice day whether I've worked out or not. I have routine that starts with neck rolls and ends at my ankle that takes about 10 minutes. I consider it the most important physical activity I do.

The simple answer to get more flexible is to stretch out more often.

There are lots of websites and books you can look at for routines, so I will give just a couple pointers that work well for me.

1. Starting warm helps. If I'm not stretching post work out I will either do it after a hot shower or after a quick dog walk.

2. Don't bounce. It may seem like you stretch farther, but it will make you tighten up later. Stretch with relaxed movements and let gravity pull you when possible.
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Old 11-18-09, 03:24 PM   #3
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Always been very inflexible, especially in the hamstrings. The physio said they were unusually tight. Probably due to playing lots of sports in my teens and not doing any stretching.

They're getting better now, I'm 10-15cm away from my toes when I stretch down, as opposed to 30cm one month ago. not exaggerating.

My physio gave me a bunch of stretches to do.. I can't describe them all on here, it'd take me ages to write up just a few. The sheet they're on has diagrams though. Try and find a website with some pictures and explanations of a few stretches.

I've started stretching daily. I stretch each group of muscles 4 times, holding for 20-30 seconds. seeing good results already.
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Old 11-19-09, 03:01 AM   #4
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Imagine a 2x4. It's more flexible than I am. I can touch my knees!! Apparently cycling tends to tighten everything up.

However, I have taken a few yoga classes and they do help ... I should probably attend them year round.
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Old 11-19-09, 04:09 AM   #5
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Thanks. I do stretches as part of P90x however that isn't every day. I guess I will try to find a short routine that I can do every day.

Thanks
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Old 11-19-09, 08:36 AM   #6
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i am not and can not. despite being a post workout stretcher for several years now. i am what i thought i was, in flexible. later.
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Old 11-19-09, 04:06 PM   #7
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Funny, I've become more flexible with riding, and I don't do any stretching before or after riding. When I first started riding again 3 yrs ago, I couldn't reach the floor with fingertips. Now, I can always touch the floor with fingertips, and can go even further after a ride.

I suspect it has to do with the positions I'm in when riding. Specifically, using back and leg muscles while in a more aero/tucked position has led to greater flexibility and range of those muscles than before.

Doesn't make a whole of sense at first, huh!
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Old 11-19-09, 04:25 PM   #8
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way too flexible. My knees swivel in their sockets--no exaggeration. The PT's call me Gumby. This has caused knee issues that I treat with a lot of strength training. There is no way to get rid of flexibility once you have it unfortunately.
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Old 11-19-09, 07:35 PM   #9
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I am actually very flexible across my hips and back, but my hamstrings are pretty stiff. I'm working on that one.
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Old 11-20-09, 09:44 PM   #10
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I'm quite flexible and was once able to do the splits before getting sidelined with a rib injury a couple years ago. It's been hard gettin back on the wagon but I'm still more flexible than most. I stretch everything starting with the calves and working my way up taking my time. Even my wrists are quite flexible in case someone tries to put a wristlock on me during training.
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Old 11-21-09, 01:33 PM   #11
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I think a lot of flexibility is genetic. I've been cycling for years and remained pretty flexible. A few years ago I took up yoga and have gotten more flexible. IMO, yoga is good because it's essentially focused, total body stretching, and it has a core strength component.
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Old 11-22-09, 01:02 AM   #12
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I think a lot of flexibility is genetic. I've been cycling for years and remained pretty flexible. A few years ago I took up yoga and have gotten more flexible. IMO, yoga is good because it's essentially focused, total body stretching, and it has a core strength component.
I second the yoga claim as I took it as an elective a while back. Really tones you up and it didn't hurt that I was one of only 2 guys in a class full of women in tights and shorty shorts. Downward facing dog is the best part especially when you're in the back
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Old 11-22-09, 05:35 AM   #13
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Ye I am trying to get into yoga but I find it quite difficult as the lack of flexibility means I get tired quite quickly as I have to use strength alone to hold me up!
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Old 11-22-09, 07:07 AM   #14
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I can touch my toes, and on a good day can almost get my palms flat on the ground. But I am very inflexible side to side (i.e. trying to do a split). That's probably because I rarely if ever stretch that way.
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Old 11-22-09, 09:35 PM   #15
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I recommend doing yoga. It will get you flexible in ways you did not think you could. If you want to go more aggressive, go for an astanga or power yoga. Even a vinyasa yoga will be a bit more aggressive. If you're looking for something that starts out a bit less aggressively and more gentle, consider hatha yoga or kripalu yoga. Both of them are more easygoing and slower than the other three.

You can also get the book called "Stretching" by Bob Anderson. It is BY FAR the best book on stretching I've ever come across. I just can't recommend it enough. I'll even go as far as saying that it should be a book that any person, whether recreational athlete or professional, should have at home, reading regularly, and using to its fullest extent.

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Old 11-22-09, 11:06 PM   #16
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I'd like to be flexible enough to pick up a girl's notebook on the ground while riding like in the movie "Breaking Away". But I can't touch the floor without some effort.

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Old 11-23-09, 12:33 AM   #17
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My Doc calls me Gumby. Proper warm up's, lots of post ride stretching, hot morning shower with a 20 minute post shower stretch. I was always very tight and was prone to injury. Not any more.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:42 AM   #18
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I'm almost 50 and I can get my palms flat on the floor with ease. Some of that is genetic but I also have done a lot of stretching, especially when I was a runner.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Imagine a 2x4. It's more flexible than I am. I can touch my knees!! Apparently cycling tends to tighten everything up.

However, I have taken a few yoga classes and they do help ... I should probably attend them year round.
I do yoga, trying to do it every day. I can do a headstand, and almost touch my palms to the floor with knees straight when I’m at my best. There are some poses that I use as an index of my flexibility, most notably the Plough.

I find though that cycling helps my yoga more than vice versa. When I’m cycling a lot I’m more flexible. Yoga’s contribution to my cycling, IMO is besides flexibility, breathing, balance and what I consider “energy flow”; directing energy output for efficient cycling—it’s a head thing.
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Old 11-27-09, 08:37 PM   #20
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Imagine a 2x4. It's more flexible than I am. I can touch my knees!! Apparently cycling tends to tighten everything up.

However, I have taken a few yoga classes and they do help ... I should probably attend them year round.
Actually, lack of stretching tends to tighten everything up in general, not just cycling. Hormonal decreases over the years also can lead to tightness. But yes, yoga will help tons. Even going once per week is better than not going at all!

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Old 11-27-09, 11:15 PM   #21
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Thanks. I do stretches as part of P90x however that isn't every day. I guess I will try to find a short routine that I can do every day.

Thanks
Im getting ready to start P90X, how do you like it so far? Ive done abb ripper x, kenpo x and some Stretch x and it seems to kick ass.
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Old 11-28-09, 07:45 AM   #22
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Im getting ready to start P90X, how do you like it so far? Ive done abb ripper x, kenpo x and some Stretch x and it seems to kick ass.
It is brilliant. Try cardio X as it does a bit of everything. I like the core video too. Basically it is just what I need to motivate me as if I was left to my own devices I'd probably not do a whole hour and wouldn't work as hard.
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Old 11-29-09, 01:21 AM   #23
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It is brilliant. Try cardio X as it does a bit of everything. I like the core video too. Basically it is just what I need to motivate me as if I was left to my own devices I'd probably not do a whole hour and wouldn't work as hard.
Sweet, i will check it out. Im going be doing the workouts every other day or so for the first month so i can keep biking as my primary form of cardio until winter hits where ill have to train inside and ill be doing the workouts every day. How do you like your results so far?
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Old 11-30-09, 05:21 PM   #24
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Been pretty flexible most of my life, even now, well into my 6th decade (decayed?). I attribute it partly to genetics and partly to being a lifelong runner. Wrestling with my teenage cousins helps too, they always find creative ways to flex me. .

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Old 12-01-09, 01:11 AM   #25
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I was not very flexible. And I have an on-again, off-again love affair with stretching, it's just one of those things that I always procrastinate on. When I did stretch regularly (like 3 sets of 20 sec each), I can touch the floor with fingertips. But now that I've added a foam roller to my routine and following up with only 1 set of stretching each body part, (every night for 2 months now), I can almost flat palm the floor. The foam roller is almost magical, it's also eased away most of my aches and pains from riding, allowing me to go longer.
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