Stiffness from resistance training

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Stiffness from resistance training

Post by bob » Sat May 03, 2008 8:50 pm

I've been lifting for the past year-free weights and machines and i find that i'm very stiff. A few weeks ago, i went to the driving range with my neighbor and i couldn't believe how stiff i was.I don't feel sore, just tight. I could barely bring the golf club back. Before i started lifting, i had a much better range of motion. Does resistance training shorten the muscles or tighten up the ligaments and tendons? Are there any resistance exercises i can do which also incorporate some stretching and flexibility to save time at the gym?

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Post by Ironman » Sat May 03, 2008 10:27 pm

I would say it is a completely unrelated problem. You might want to check with a doctor.

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Post by Scott Ismari » Sun May 04, 2008 9:22 am

sounds to me that you might need to incorperate stretching moves into your routine after you work out or in between sets. This keeps the body limber thru its natural ROM (range of motion). Just make sure you are warmed up before you stretch and never use ballistic (bouncing) moves, instead use static (slow non bouncing) stretches. I bet after a week or so your full ROM will return.

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Re: Stiffness from resistance training

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 am

bob wrote:I've been lifting for the past year-free weights and machines and i find that i'm very stiff. A few weeks ago, i went to the driving range with my neighbor and i couldn't believe how stiff i was.I don't feel sore, just tight. I could barely bring the golf club back. Before i started lifting, i had a much better range of motion. Does resistance training shorten the muscles or tighten up the ligaments and tendons? Are there any resistance exercises i can do which also incorporate some stretching and flexibility to save time at the gym?
Bob,

Some exercise do tend to decrease the flexibility, range of motion, to some extent while other strength movement increase one flexibility.

An example of an exercise that decreases one flexibility is the bench press with a bar. One range of motion decreases. That is why most Olympic lifter DON'T perform to many (if any) heavy bench presses.

The bench press hinders an Olympic Lifters range of motion. As a powerifter who utilizes Olympic movement, I am a prime example.

Bench prssing has decreased my flexibility. So, when performing Olympic Snatches, I can't Squat Snatch. I have to Spilt Snatch the weight.

That due to the fact that the Squat Snatch requires a bit more shoulder flexibility than the Split Snatch.

Olympic movement build strength as well as flexibility. Olympic Lifters are rated at the second most flexible group of athletes. Gymnast are the most felxible.

Better exercises to the increase shoulder flexibility are dumbbell bench presses and dips. However, they can be a bit hard on the shoulders. So, start out easy if your going to do them.

A great strength exercise for the lats that increases flexibility at the same time is the bent arm pullover.

Thus, the take home message is movements in which a stretch is place on the muscle involved develops flexibility.

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Sun May 04, 2008 10:24 am

Scott Ismari wrote:sounds to me that you might need to incorperate stretching moves into your routine after you work out or in between sets. This keeps the body limber thru its natural ROM (range of motion).
Scott,

Good point. Although, as I noted in my post. Strength movement in which a full range of movement take place can be just as effetive.
Just make sure you are warmed up before you stretch
Another good point. Tendons and ligaments are like string cheeze, so to speak. The are more supple when warmed up.
and never use ballistic (bouncing) moves, instead use static (slow non bouncing) stretches.
Ballistic stretching movement have a place in one training, especially for Golf. Below is some information that supports the use of ballistic/dynamic stretching.

Kenny Croxdale

Dynamic Stretching
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/dy ... ching.html

Dynamic stretching is useful before competition and has been shown to reduce muscle tightness (2). Muscle tightness is one factor associated with an increase occurrence of musculotendinous tears (2,3). More recent scientific studies seem to suggest that dynamic stretches before competition are preferably to static stretches (4,5,6). This may be particularly true for strength and power athletes. http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/dy ... ching.html

The Truth About Stretching
http://www.readysetgofitness.com/newsle ... ching.html

"Researchers show that athletes should not perform prolonged static stretching before the big game or a key practice session because this slows muscle activation for around an hour afterwards, (Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantar flexors, 2000, Fowles). Using dynamic stretching is a wise pre-competition strategy."

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Post by TimD » Sun May 04, 2008 10:29 am

Bob, I think I read in one of your posts your 50 or 50 plus. Myself being 50 way plus, I can tell you Scott and Kenny are right. I myself have a tendency to be stiff where my arthritis is most active, and strething after a workout really helps. Workouts help, but stretching after really does the trick. In the morning, I do I think what KPj calls dynamic stretches; i.e. bodyweight or light overhead squats and other basic moves to gain ROM, because I usually wake up stiff. When I get out of a car I have to ease into things. After a few moments I'm good to go. I'm convinced age is doing it, and some well placed and timed "limbering up" can do wonders.
Tim

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Post by Ironman » Sun May 04, 2008 1:08 pm

I always stretch after I work out. That is probably why I have never noticed a problem.

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Post by pdellorto » Sun May 04, 2008 6:03 pm

bob, it does sound like you can benefit from pre-workout mobility drills/dynamic stretches. I do a mix of ones I found on Magnificent Mobility and Inside/Out (yeah, the sites look like a ripoff oversell, but the products are outstanding even at $50 each) and on Core Performance.

http://www.magnificentmobility.com/
http://www.inside-out-warm-up.com/
http://www.coreperformance.com/workout.php?p=1&s=2&id=2

This site has some useful warmups too.
http://www.ronjones.org/Coach&Train/Bod ... index.html

I'd try the core performance and ronjones stuff first, it'll give you an idea of what you are in for. I bought MM and I/O anyway after that. I really need mobility drills...

I'm really lazy about static stretching. I do like 3-4 static stretches after my workout...I get bored and it takes too long and usually the mats are crowded after I lift anyway. But my flexibility isn't going down because I'm doing full ROM lifts, balancing my pushing and pulling, and doing dynamic warmups. It seems to help a lot.

Peter

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon May 05, 2008 8:01 am

pdellorto wrote:bob, it does sound like you can benefit from pre-workout mobility drills/dynamic stretches. I do a mix of ones I found on Magnificent Mobility and Inside/Out (yeah, the sites look like a ripoff oversell, but the products are outstanding even at $50 each) and on Core Performance.

http://www.magnificentmobility.com/
http://www.inside-out-warm-up.com/
http://www.coreperformance.com/workout.php?p=1&s=2&id=2
Overall, I'd say this stuff is a rip off.

Your core is trained with squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc.

If you want more core strength, perform weighted sit ups on a slanted ab board, good mornings, hyperextensiions, etc.
This site has some useful warmups too.
http://www.ronjones.org/Coach&Train/Bod ... index.html
The most effective warm up for any activity is the activity. Thus, if you want to warm up for drives on the golf course, swing you club around and take some practice hits.

Not only does it warm up the precise muscles that you'll be using, you program the central nervous system for that particular movement. This works for evey sport.
I'm really lazy about static stretching. I do like 3-4 static stretches after my workout...I get bored and it takes too long and usually the mats are crowded after I lift anyway. But my flexibility isn't going down because I'm doing full ROM lifts, balancing my pushing and pulling, and doing dynamic warmups. It seems to help a lot.
Here we go, ROM...full range movements stretch the muscle, as I noted in my previous post. As you note, your flexibility isn't going down because you are using "full ROM lifts."

And if your performing the "full ROM lifts" as you should, you flexiblity is going to increase.

Want more flexibility in your shoulders and chest, then perform dumbbell bell bench pressing instead of doing them with the bar. Flys are even better at stretching the pecs and shoulder.

Want more flexibility in your lats and upper back, perform bent arm pullovers off a bench where you can get a really good stretch.

Need more flexiblity in the lower back, perform stiff leg (slight bend in the knees) from you shoe tops.

Kenny Croxdale

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Post by pdellorto » Mon May 05, 2008 8:32 am

Kenny Croxdale wrote:Overall, I'd say this stuff is a rip off.
<Shrug> It was worth it for me. I use it, I loaned it to a friend who picked up a few drills from it, and I've taught a few of the movements to friends of mine at the gym. The production quality on both is good, the multiple viewing angles are good, and the explanations are done well...so I found it much easier to learn how to do the drills from there than from website videos. Not at all cheap, but I don't feel ripped off. I've gotten at least my $50 worth out of each of those already.

But still, I highly recommend the two free sites I linked to as a starting point. Don't buy anything until you're sure those free sites don't provide the answer for you AND you're sure those kind of drills will help you.
Kenny Croxdale wrote:Your core is trained with squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc.
Well, of course. But the link is to pre-workout mobility drills, not phoney "core exercises". I found that set of drills makes for a pretty good generally warmup and doesn't take much time. There are a few others like it under the "Workout of the Week" archive. Rehab and prehab stuff, foam rolling menus, mostly, not "balancing on bosu balls while squatting" stuff.

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Post by bob » Mon May 05, 2008 9:03 am

As usual, great posts. I don't do any extensive stretching anymore before lifting, however i do a light cardio workout prior to lifting and do some shoulder stretches while i'm on the bike or crossramp. I do lots of stretches afterwords, but mostly lower extremities. I'll need to incorporate total body exercises. I'll try some of the suggestions and report back. Thanks again.

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Post by KPj » Tue May 06, 2008 5:18 am

To the OP - Weight training can make you stiff. As Kenny mentioned, the Bench press is a prime example. You can however, stay flexible or become more flexible - you just need to make it a priority and fit it in with the rest of your training.

pdellorto gave you a great response. I would strongly agree with what he recommended.


Kenny Croxdale wrote:
Overall, I'd say this stuff is a rip off.

Your core is trained with squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc.

If you want more core strength, perform weighted sit ups on a slanted ab board, good mornings, hyperextensiions, etc.
I don’t think I’ve came across anyone who thinks those products are a rip off… Well, people that have actually got them, anyway. Personally, I got Magnificent Mobility over a year ago. I used it extensively to get flexibility back and it still takes up the bulk of my warm up, and I still refer to it from time to time. I would say it’s easily been worth $50.

Kenny Croxdale wrote: The most effective warm up for any activity is the activity. Thus, if you want to warm up for drives on the golf course, swing you club around and take some practice hits.

Not only does it warm up the precise muscles that you'll be using, you program the central nervous system for that particular movement. This works for evey sport.
What if you’ve got imbalances, and the “precise muscles” that you need, aren’t working during the movement anyway? As an example of what I mean, I’ve seen people who can’t squat properly at all. They can’t ‘sit back’, and no matter how hard you tell them, they can’t push their knees out to contract the glutes properly. However, you get a mini band and wrap it around their knees, instruct them to keep tension on the band (push out), and suddenly their doing near perfect form – sitting back, knees out, chest up because you are essentially forcing them to contract all the glute muscles, setting them up for the rest of the movement.

I’m not ‘nit picking’, it’s just, in my opinion most weekend warrior / desk jockeys have this problem, especially when it comes to getting the glutes to fire and so just doing light sets before hand isn’t going to cut it. Certainly didn’t for me.

Kenny Croxdale wrote: Here we go, ROM...full range movements stretch the muscle, as I noted in my previous post. As you note, your flexibility isn't going down because you are using "full ROM lifts."

And if your performing the "full ROM lifts" as you should, you flexiblity is going to increase.

Want more flexibility in your shoulders and chest, then perform dumbbell bell bench pressing instead of doing them with the bar. Flys are even better at stretching the pecs and shoulder.
Again, I’m not completely disagreeing with you here. I think these recommendations are fine for the other wise healthy lifter. But the OP is complaining about being stiff or having lack of ROM compared before. Obviously we can’t tell for sure without actually seeing, but you can only assume that some muscles have shortened in length. If you take muscles like the internal rotators which are already short, stiff, and balled up, then trying to get a stretch on things like Flys is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion and in my experience.

In fact, my recommendation would be to GENTLY stretch these muscles and actually restrict ROM in pressing movements until they got some flexibility back then I would gradually progress to full ROM in resistance exercises.

The thing is, if you every have a tight muscle to the extent of it being shortened, there is normally another reason for it i.e. short internal rotators, weak external rotators, short hip flexors, weak glutes etc… The solution should be more holistic in the sense that you lengthen the shortened muscle whilst figuring out WHY it’s like that i.e. what’s weak and then bring that up to scratch, too.

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Tue May 06, 2008 5:44 am

Kenny Croxdale wrote:The most effective warm up for any activity is the activity. Thus, if you want to warm up for drives on the golf course, swing you club around and take some practice hits.

Not only does it warm up the precise muscles that you'll be using, you program the central nervous system for that particular movement. This works for evey sport.
I got invited out to a pro J-League soccer game today. I watched them warm up, and I had a clear view of the guys getting ready as subs. They keep moving the whole 90 minutes of the game, to stay warmed up and ready. Ready enough that one sub came in and scored the 2nd goal of the game in a 3-0 victory.

I saw running butt-kicks, "toy soldiers," crescent stepping (inside-out and outside-in), side stepping, short-range skipping (two hops per foot), skipping followed by short springs, high-knee walks, some half-depth walking lunges out to 45 degrees, and a few others drills that looked more like the "sawteeth" drills I learned for Filipino stickfighting footwork practice than anything else. The guys not playing the game don't use any soccer balls during warmup. No shooting, no heading the ball, just moving around and doing dynamic stretches. Heck, the guys warming up for the game didn't even practice kicking much...two guys did a lot of kicks to the goaltender while the rest jogged around.

I do absolutely agree with you that full-ROM workouts and warmup sets are critical. I do those too. I'd never skip them just because I did a few bridges and side lunges beforehand. But it's not the only way to warmup, and as KPj says mobility drills are a good way to deal with imbalances, teach people how to feel certain muscle activations, and generally get more body awareness. I know I squat better and deeper after a few glute activations (bridges and band side steps) than I do without them, because I can feel it all fire properly.

I'm not sure what I recommend to bob will solve his problems, but I offered a couple free links to drills he can try to find out. If it works, great, if not, well, we tried. Those drills plus warmup sets and some post-workout static stretching might help.

Peter

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Post by bob » Tue May 06, 2008 9:38 am

How about Yoga for stretching? Or maybe Pilates? :?:

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Post by pdellorto » Tue May 06, 2008 9:56 pm

I have no idea with pilates.

I've done some yoga. It depends on the yoga. It's a good way to stretch, but I'd do it separately from weight training, not beforehand or immediately after. Do it on another day. And find some yoga that'll challenge your balance, flexibility, and strength. Better the kind of yoga that'll have you doing a "peacock" (aka the planche) instead of just a few sun salutations while the teacher mutters about harmony!

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