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Stretching? - May 22nd 2012, 01:38 PM

I've got 2 problems.

1. When I was about 16/17/18 years old I did too much weight training and have legs like an elephant, lol.

2. I've been in some nasty accidents, causing leg injuries. Sometimes I get cramps in my hip from lame stuff like doing leg raises.


I've moved away from heavy weight training long ago. The remaining problem I have is my legs just don't stretch. I'm aware of the standard stretching exercises. I've had periods when I do them more than other times. Maybe I lack consistency in doing exercises. I've done stuff in the past like when watching TV for 2 or 3 hours during holidays, I'd stretch both my legs out in front of me on a barstool alternatively for about 15 minutes each.

Is there any sort of diet, nutrition or specific exercises which can help stretch my legs better. I'm more concerned about the diet, I'm probably familiar with 99% of exercises already.

I might update still. Revising for an exam tomorrow so I'm keeping this short for now.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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Re: Stretching? - May 22nd 2012, 07:56 PM

Maybe you could try alternative leg stretches. I'm not an expert, but some stretches I do would be like pointing my toes out, and then flexing my feet back in. Just lifting your leg while sitting can sometimes be a stretch. I wish I could help more, maybe your doctor could help?

Hope you find a way to fix this! Sorry for not being a lot of help. ^^:
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Re: Stretching? - May 23rd 2012, 01:46 AM

The problem is that you're stretching the same muscle fibers over and over again, and you're only stretching the muscles. If you've been unflexible for this long, you also have to address flexibility of the joint capsules, and fascial restrictions. I can give you some advice, but the advice I give depends on how much work you'd want to do yourself, and how much money (if any) that you'd be willing to spend on therapies and classes that would be beneficial. So, if you respond to this, I'll try to come up with the best course of action according to your response.
   
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Re: Stretching? - May 23rd 2012, 02:11 AM

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Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
The problem is that you're stretching the same muscle fibers over and over again, and you're only stretching the muscles. If you've been unflexible for this long, you also have to address flexibility of the joint capsules, and fascial restrictions. I can give you some advice, but the advice I give depends on how much work you'd want to do yourself, and how much money (if any) that you'd be willing to spend on therapies and classes that would be beneficial. So, if you respond to this, I'll try to come up with the best course of action according to your response.
I'm generally a DYI kind of guy with 99% of things I do. Also, I wouldn't say that I'm completely inflexible... just not flexible enough in my opinion, and I've not been able to improve much further.

A way of judging perhaps how far my legs can stretch is that I can reasonably comfortably touch my toes without bending my knees, especially if I'm warmed up after exercise. In the morning it's crazy painful lol. Perhaps that helps you in judging "where I'm at".


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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Re: Stretching? - May 23rd 2012, 08:56 PM

If you can touch your toes, I'd say that's actually not that bad. Maybe you could try yoga, though? Not only do you get a workout out of it (and you most definitely do, in case you're one of those yoga-isn't-excercise people;P), but you also increase flexibility without really noticing it. I've had the inflexibility problem for most of my life, which is pretty bad, considering that I'm a dancer, and yoga actually does help a lot. Just do some cardio, then some yoga (There are some good videos on youtube. A session should normally last 1-1,5h. Try going for vinyasa/ashtanga yoga and power yoga if you want a workout as well) and you can finish off with some standard leg stretches if you feel like you need to.


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Re: Stretching? - May 23rd 2012, 09:12 PM

I'm sure your aware of this, you never want to stretch any muscles when they are cold and you haven't warmed up before hand with a short light jog. Imagine your muscles before warming up like a cold/old rubber band when you start to stretch that rubber band it will start to tear or even snap. You always want to avoid static stretching before you do any exercise, when you stretch before exercising you want to use what is called dynamic stretching. Static stretching should be used as a cool down after exercising.
   
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Re: Stretching? - May 24th 2012, 04:43 AM

What I would recommend is getting a foam roller ( like this: http://runnersfeed.com/wp-content/up...am_Roller1.jpg )

and using it on your glutes and the outsides of your thighs. Don't overdo it on the outside of your thighs. You can also use it on your hamstrings and quadriceps too, but you want to be stretching the fascia and breaking down the adhesions over your iliotibial band. If you don't want to buy a foam roller, you can literally use a rolling pin on your legs.

Now, I know you want to get more flexible, but it would be beneficial to do some strengthening too. Stretching weak muscles can actually lead to further injury. I think you could begin to do leg bridges. First begin with 2 legs, then add in single-leg bridges once you improve. While you do this, you should be squeezing your thighs together slightly (to activate the adductor muscles), and keep your core tight. Make sure to roll up one vertabrae (spine) at a time. Try even doing 10 slow leg bridges a day, and add in 5 single leg bridges later.

I would definitely recommend yoga, just like the other people have, but not unless you can do it with a tight core, "softened" ribs. Something to focus on would be bending from the hips (unless otherwise stated), and knowing your limits. You can use a yoga block and a towel to help in some cases, if you have trouble with certain ranges of motion.

As far as the cramping in your hips, I am guessing that it would be caused by a weakened "gluteus medius" and possibly tensor fascia latta. These are muscles you usually don't hear about, but they can cause a lot of grief for people. I would definitely recommend pilates for strengthening those muscles. If you're willing, go to a class. You'd really benefit from having an instructor that can correct your form to isolate those muscles. However, if you still want to do all of this on your own, I can refer you places where you can properly do the exercises. I can even refer you to a yoga video that would best suit the problems you are describing. It stretches similar muscles in multiple directions.

Again, I'll wait to hear back from you. Let me know if you need me to clarify anything, or if you want me to direct you to the proper exercises and stretches.
   
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Re: Stretching? - May 24th 2012, 09:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
What I would recommend is getting a foam roller ( like this: http://runnersfeed.com/wp-content/up...am_Roller1.jpg )

and using it on your glutes and the outsides of your thighs. Don't overdo it on the outside of your thighs. You can also use it on your hamstrings and quadriceps too, but you want to be stretching the fascia and breaking down the adhesions over your iliotibial band. If you don't want to buy a foam roller, you can literally use a rolling pin on your legs.
You mean something like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJLxruO3su0

I can try that I think. I've never done it. Foam rollers are cheap so it's no big deal. I've got paid access to a gym too, with all this sorts of equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
Now, I know you want to get more flexible, but it would be beneficial to do some strengthening too. Stretching weak muscles can actually lead to further injury. I think you could begin to do leg bridges. First begin with 2 legs, then add in single-leg bridges once you improve. While you do this, you should be squeezing your thighs together slightly (to activate the adductor muscles), and keep your core tight. Make sure to roll up one vertabrae (spine) at a time. Try even doing 10 slow leg bridges a day, and add in 5 single leg bridges later.
Strength-wise I think I'm in a reasonably good position. But I'll try bridges anyway. Typically I do the "plank" on front and sides. I've never found an exercise that efficiently works the lower back muscles. Dead-lifting maybe... but I don't like that exercise much.

Would you recommend the isometric or isotonic version of exercise for bridges? I imagine isotonic, or a combination of both.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-6Gonx2Wpo

(I'm putting the videos in to keep a record for myself)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
I would definitely recommend yoga, just like the other people have, but not unless you can do it with a tight core, "softened" ribs. Something to focus on would be bending from the hips (unless otherwise stated), and knowing your limits. You can use a yoga block and a towel to help in some cases, if you have trouble with certain ranges of motion.
I'm going to look into Yoga. I used to be one of those people a while ago that thought things like Yoga, Pilate, Tai Chi suck. lol. Owell... I'm ready to try them now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
As far as the cramping in your hips, I am guessing that it would be caused by a weakened "gluteus medius" and possibly tensor fascia latta. These are muscles you usually don't hear about, but they can cause a lot of grief for people. I would definitely recommend pilates for strengthening those muscles. If you're willing, go to a class. You'd really benefit from having an instructor that can correct your form to isolate those muscles. However, if you still want to do all of this on your own, I can refer you places where you can properly do the exercises. I can even refer you to a yoga video that would best suit the problems you are describing. It stretches similar muscles in multiple directions.

Again, I'll wait to hear back from you. Let me know if you need me to clarify anything, or if you want me to direct you to the proper exercises and stretches.
Yes, post any videos that can be of help.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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Re: Stretching? - May 24th 2012, 10:08 AM

As somebody else said, touching your toes is a pretty good starting place - many people have hamstrings far too tight for this and it's good that you've kept both your hamstrings and your back flexible enough to allow that stretch.

I can think of two hip stretches, both of which you probably already know - one we call a "seal" stretch but people who do Yoga call it cobra - however we tell our kids to keep their hands in close to their hips and activate their glutes to push their hips into the ground.

The other is a hip flexor stretch, which a simple google search will show you fairly good images and a couple of YouTube videos for.

Aside from that, I can't think of anything that hasn't already been suggested.
   
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Re: Stretching? - May 24th 2012, 01:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDF View Post

You mean something like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJLxruO3su0

I can try that I think. I've never done it. Foam rollers are cheap so it's no big deal. I've got paid access to a gym too, with all this sorts of equipment.
Yes, that's the idea. It is used for myofascial release. The fascia can be what limits a person's flexibility in some cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDF View Post

Strength-wise I think I'm in a reasonably good position. But I'll try bridges anyway. Typically I do the "plank" on front and sides. I've never found an exercise that efficiently works the lower back muscles. Dead-lifting maybe... but I don't like that exercise much.
This is not as much for overall strength as it is for balancing out any postural imbalances. If you're worried about it putting on more bulk, it probably won't. It's not the same thing as doing planks though. It focuses more on the transverse abdominals and the fascia of your thighs and adductors. Planks work for transverse abdominals, but they work too much on the rectus abdominus for what we're trying to accomplish.

A proper leg bridge should work your glutes, inner thighs, low abs, low back, and weaker muscle fibers in the hamstrings and quadriceps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDF View Post

Would you recommend the isometric or isotonic version of exercise for bridges? I imagine isotonic, or a combination of both.
Really, you can do both, but I'd recommend either a really slow isotonic, or doing isometric. You want to do this more for neuro-muscular activation to recruit more muscle fibers than overall strength, so keep good form. In that video, she goes a little too quickly, even for isotonic, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDF View Post
I'm going to look into Yoga. I used to be one of those people a while ago that thought things like Yoga, Pilate, Tai Chi suck. lol. Owell... I'm ready to try them now.

Yes, post any videos that can be of help.
Even a hot-shot athlete can get destroyed from a good pilates routine. Really, you don't need any extra weight to do an effective workout. As far as strengthening glute medius, try this. It's killer. One thing he doesn't mention is that you can try pointing the toe slightly down. After doing this and leg bridges, myofascial release using the foam roller would be beneficial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7y_TnADXS4

I don't have a specific pilates routine yet that I can offer you, but I can probably find one later. Between the bridges and glute-med strengthening, you should be good for strengthening for a while.

If I can remember properly, this is a good yoga routine for what you want to accomplish. http://www.doyogawithme.com/content/...and-lower-back

Without having seen you in person, it's hard for me to offer a lot of feedback or give you very specific exercises, but if you continue to respond to this thread, I'll do my best.
   
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Re: Stretching? - June 1st 2012, 09:16 AM

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Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
Without having seen you in person, it's hard for me to offer a lot of feedback or give you very specific exercises, but if you continue to respond to this thread, I'll do my best.
Thanks. I haven't tried any of these yet. I probably will on the weekend.

I got another issue. I'm doing lots of running at the moment. What sort of stretches before and after would you recommend? It's pretty much my calf muscles that are getting kind of sore... my right leg usually more than my left.

I've looked on youtube, but most videos have stretches which I simply can't even start to try.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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Re: Stretching? - June 2nd 2012, 06:17 AM

Stretching is a heavy debatable topic, there is two schools of though, one is stretching prevents injuries, the other is stretching causes you to lose power when lifting. I tried both methods, the only thing that is consistent is a warm up. I did not really notice a difference.

There was a point in my life as result from injuries and over training that i could not extent my legs. I found yoga really helped also using a belt wrapped around the legs and pulling it also helped. There are some people that as get older from the overuse of the muscles they just can't stretch it. However you are young, I would try yoga, and after a run or training ice the muscles. You could also try a deep tissue massage, as there could be plenty of muscle knots in your legs.
   
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Re: Stretching? - June 3rd 2012, 07:16 PM

Hey .

It sounds to me like
1. you're not being consistent with stretching (it takes time!)
and 2. you're not stretching out your whole legs.

try these:
inner thighs: sit in straddle and slowly push chest to floor.

top of thighs: sit in a pike. first alternate between pointing and flexing your toes. then slowly reach your fingers toward toes.

sit in straddle with one leg bent. reach toward straight legs toe. switch and repeat.

while standing feet about shoulder width apart, pull on the toes of one of your feet. flew tooes up. switch and repeat.

while kneeling on one knee, put yoyr front foot forward and lean forward(if your knee goes past your heel you need to scoot your foot forward)

and there's tons of others but these sound like they'll help most.

P.S I know these from being a gymnast. These are designed to STRETCH you out , and overstretching is not a good idea. These might not be the best stretches to use; again they're designed to increase and test flexibility.


I wanna fly. So I do gymnastics instead.

I'll just keep holding on to what i believe and oh I believe in you. Give me the strength for the fight and the heart to believe cause I've got to believe in you. I feel so alive.

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Re: Stretching? - June 4th 2012, 12:15 AM

Okay, I realize that I haven't responded to this thread in a couple of days, so here I go. You've asked about what stretches you could do when you're running. That still depends on what's tight. If your primary complaint is your calves, then stretch your calves. Do stretches with both a bent knee, and straight knee so that you get the gastronemius and the soleus muscles. If you want me to be more specific, I should be around more often in the next little while.
   
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Re: Stretching? - June 4th 2012, 07:51 AM

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Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
Okay, I realize that I haven't responded to this thread in a couple of days, so here I go. You've asked about what stretches you could do when you're running. That still depends on what's tight. If your primary complaint is your calves, then stretch your calves. Do stretches with both a bent knee, and straight knee so that you get the gastronemius and the soleus muscles. If you want me to be more specific, I should be around more often in the next little while.
I've figured it out actually and found something that works pretty well. Thanks though.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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