Anvil or Hammer

Getting it back together again

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on November 8, 2007

Tuesday was a light row. 5,000 meters at roughly 2:30 pace. No heart rate info

Wednesday I saw a physical therapist. I didn’t learn of any ailments of imbalances or anything that I wasn’t aware of. The short version of his diagnosis it that I have tight muscles and need to put a stretching program in place. I have to admit that stretching is one of those things that we all hear we are supposed to do but I don’t and I don’t think most folks do. The reason is fairly simple, most of the stretches we were taught to do as kids are totally ineffective and we know it. What’s more, no one seems to give any really solid info on what to stretch, how and when. It’s possibly worse than the information we get regarding nutrition.

The PT gave me about 5 stretches. I pressed him for details on when to stretch, at first he was pretty reticent. Falling back to the usual, the best time to stretch is whenever you will do it. I finally got him to say that it would be best if I did them early in the day if I don’t train and to try and do them early and late if I do train. So, for now, I’m trying to do it twice a day. It takes about fifteen minutes per session. I got up fifteen minutes early this morning and did my stretches and I’ll do them again tonight. As I add to my repertoire I will probably only do the full set at night or I’ll even have one set for the morning and one for the evening. I don’t think I could reasonably manage more than two 30 minute sessions, if it comes to that.

Beyond that, he checked general mobility stuff. Moved my limbs around to make sure they work, watched me walk, the usual. I think he had trouble understanding exactly what I do in the gym or what I am going for. Oddly, he seems to not like the idea of overhead lifting. I’m sure we’ll get more into that in later sessions. I’m interested to learn more there, however, I don’t think overhead lifting will be going away in the near future.

He wants me to come once a week for a month to get up to speed then it should settle into a more mellow rate. Next session, I think he is gonna teach me how to use a foam roller properly. I’m really looking forward to that. He says I have to get a full length one rather than the half roller I have, which is fine. He is also talking about actually watching me on a few lifts and trying to make my technique more appropriate, from a body mechanics perspective. I’m all for that, although looking around the facilities, a field trip may be required.

Tonight, I intend to row although I can’t say exactly what I intend to do with it. I’m thinking I’ll still keep it fairly moderate.

5 Responses to 'Getting it back together again'

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  1. Chris Rice said,

    I’ve been preaching the benefits of doing Astanga Yoga for a few years now and you’ve not listened – one visit to some therapist and now you decide to stretch. Do the Astanga, it really is as good as I keep saying it is.

  2. Mike said,

    I spent about a year doing the Bryan Kest Power yoga DVD several times a week. I liked it but I can’t say it helped my flexibility at all. In the end I quit because of time. Do you have another favorite DVD?

  3. Scott Styles said,

    It sounds like you are heading down a good track Mike. The most important thing with stretching is to have it focused on the right muscles. 5 well performed, well chosen stretches are better than 30 poorly executed ones.

    I have found that for a stretching session to improve my flexibility, I need to be mentally relaxed and physically warm. Stretching right after a training session does absolutely nothing for me because I am too wired.

    I need daily stretching to improve flexibility in a tight muscle. Maintenance will happen for me if I keep up on it 2-3 times a week. Either way, the most important factor for me to get something out of a stretch is to mentally will myself to relax. This requires coordination of breathing and slowly working into a stretch. My physical therapist likened it to working through the layers of an onion.

    Regarding yoga – I tried a mind/body yoga DVD that came as a continuing education course for my ACSM cert. I failed at improving from it. In retrospect, I lacked the awareness of and control over my body to properly execute the exercises. My time was spent reinforcing poor motor patterns while I struggled through the DVD. I do not know if this mirrors your experience.

  4. Chris Rice said,

    Mike – remind me at Gripmas – I do have one I like better.

  5. Mike said,

    I’ll be interested to see what you have.

    Your experience sounds similar to mine. Many of thsoe DVDs assume you have a basic, or better, knowledge of the poses and their specific goals. I don’t. Additionally, a lot of yoga fans don’t really know why they do what they do, from a physical standpoint. The do as their told and try to feel “tootally awesome” without really knowing what they are supposed to be doing physically or mentally.

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