How long do you spend stretching?

I seem to get seriously tight muscles whenever I train.  I doesn't matter what distance, how frequently, or what intensity, if the muscles are in use, they start going really tight.  The only way I seem to be able to keep myself from having painfully tight muscles is to stretch everything (shoulders, chest, lats, lower back, and of course all of my leg muscles) for about 30min in the morning, and then again in the evening, every day.

Does everyone have to stretch this much or are some people more susceptible to developing tight muscles than others are? 



  • I hardly ever stretch - I used to do a bit at the end of a gym session - but I haven't been to the gym for years.

  • same here - hardly ever stretch
  • In fact, does anyone know if there's any connection to what foods you eat?  I'm clutching at straws a bit, but I really wish the tightness of my muscles didn't restrict me.
  • Harldy ever stretch.

  • Ive noticed im a lot less flexible than a few years ago. I used to be able to bend forwards and lay my palms flat on the floor, these days its a effort to touch my toes.

    Something to work on perhaps?
  • I stretch my legs before and after each session and stretch my calves every morning whether training or not. 

    I do also suffer a lot from cramp which happens more when I don't stretch, and I take medication for that.  If I don't take it, I suffer.  I'm also a great advocate of salt!  Apparently you sweat more potassium than sodium so Lo salt is better for you as it has equal proportion of sodium and potassium. 

  • Is that because of your cycling Barley ? That shortens the muscles in the back of the legs.

    And I'm with the hardly any stretching league here. Basically only when I've done a spin class or run with others - I'll do some stretches then.

    My wife will stretch for 10 mins before going out - but she's clearly insane.

  • barlist - you are seeing the downside of advancing years......less flexibility

    I do a Pilates class on Monday's and some of the stretches are now impossible for me as I just don't have the joint or muscle flexibility I used to have
  • Ah I didnt realise that Cougie, thats probably the reason then, its deff only been in the last 3-4 years that the change has happened.
  • Ive been meaning to do Pilates for ages. Im not able to attend the classes at my current gym as the timings are all wrong but will be changing gyms in the new year.
  • I hardly ever stretch and sometimes get tightness..I know this sounds mad, but at my gym we have these foam..damn! don't know what they're called - will ask! They're foam cylinders..really big and you can roll your legs..various parts of your body on these things are they straighten everything out. It's a bit like a sports massage..when your doing it, can feel a bit of pain, but after it's amazing! I'll have a look online...
  • Pilates all depends on the trainer as well - we've had 4 this year and they all have different approaches so we're probably going to can it in the New year and do our own thing at home with some DVD's to follow........we have enough of the basics now.....

    the upside of classes though is the discipline as you've paid so you go!! is too easy to opt out at home
  • MG - amazingly they're called foam rollers.....
  • ah ha! 'Foam Rollers' big thumbs up! image

  • Muffin girl, is this what you mean?

     foam rollers

    They are fantastic.  I use one for my ITB stretches.

  • Yeah Holly image Garr I would go for those!!
  • I know what you're talking about Muffin Girl.

    Ok, I'm actually relatively flexible, I can still reach down and put my knuckles on my toes, but never-the-less, my hamstrings (and lots of other muscles) are still feeling very tight.  They cramped a couple of times over the weekend while I was doing virtually nothing.

    Anna, I eat loads of bananas anyway (good source of potassium).

    I'm beginning to think I've just got naturally tight muscles.  It's not my imagination.  I can feel the areas of tightness when I rub them.

    Oh well, stop complaining Garr.  At least you can still run!

  • I stretch for about 15 minutes after every session. I also get PNF'd twic e a week, it aint pleasant but it works.
  • I'll put some on my crimbo list, want one of those swiss balls to image
  • want one of those swiss balls to - what??

    stick up yer arse??

  • I don't stretch every day but I do two or three yoga classes a week (which have a lot of stretching in them) and do a few other classes, too (pump, etc) which have a stretching bit at the end (very short, only about five mins). When swimming a lot I do try and remember to stretch neck, lats, chest etc otherwise I am prone to injury and horrible tightness.
  • Dr Nic, what about Twinkler?  I know he's suffered with his back, and I know that when I suffer with my back it's usually when I've not been stretching regularly.  Hence this coming to mind now as my back's been playing up a bit.

  • Garr, have you ever had regular sports massage?

    You can't stretch your muscles as much as someone else can, so if you had a series of sports massages to loosen the muscles, then you can continue stretching them yourself and have an occassional massage when you need it.

  • Garr, Twinkler can't even stretch at the mo but yes when he's better than this he does the yoga classes with me (one or two a week for him - it's a yoga/pilates combo), and then does stretching/strengthening stuff at home. He knows he has to do more (esp. core work) though, but he's just not well enough to start yet.  He also has physio work (massage/acupuncture) which helps I think.

    Agree with Holly - when my neck/upper back has been particularly bad through swimming, I have monthly massages and find that helps me with effective stretching.

  • The consultan i saw about my back stopped me from stretching to much ... i used to dtretch after every session but now dont bother unless feeling fery tight.

    I do balance/stability more often now

  • isnt stretching a bit gay?
  • Quite simply, I can't afford to be paying for massages.  If I could, I'd have them at least once a week.
  • If you ask in the right places, you'll probably be able to find a student sports masseuse who'll be able to do it cheaper. (I probably wouldn't go for a first year student though)

  • Oxy - very.  I touch my toes before a race sometimes and I race ~4 times a year.  I don't think that makes me gay though.  Can't remember the last time I did a sit up either if someone wants to start the 'Core Stability' debate.

    Me - fly in the face of conventional 'wisdom'? Never I don't have time  - too busy applying intergallatic ballistics to my training for that.

    As I am thanks.

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