Stretches for Weight Training
November 3, 2012 9:14 AM   Subscribe

Looking for stretching recommendations for intense weight training program

I've been doing Jamie Eason's Livefit program since the summer. It's been awesome and I've seen massive changes not only in my body but also in my overall health and well-being. However (and I realize this is a big however), I had to take a month off in September after doing something terrible to my trapezius muscle on Day 40. Since then I've slowed down & modified it a bit, paying attention to what feels right & for my body.

There are two things the program doesn't make clear, and I hope addressing them will help me prevent another injury: rest time between exercises and stretching guidelines.

So my questions are
1. What stretching recommendations do you have for someone doing a fairly high intensity weight training program? Before the workout? After? Specific stretches? I heard about some guy who snapped his bicep muscle. I definitely do not want that to happen to me.

2. Rest time between exercises? I feel good about my rest time between sets ~ 1 minute. I've been resting about 3 minutes between exercises.
posted by MaddyRex to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD is a pretty great resource for question 1.
posted by Zonker at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I second the Kelly Starrett recommendation. Improving and maintaining joint mobility should be your primary concern, and this is something that can be done as its own "workout".

I've been lifting extremely heavy for about 10 years now, and never do any stretching. I also play tennis at a decent level and never do stretching either.

However, dynamic warmups have made an immense difference to me in preventing injury and improving performance.

From what I can gather, the current thinking is that static stretching doesn't have much of a role to play in performance enhancement, injury prevention, or recovery.

As for rest time, I generally take about 5-10 minutes between sets (although I do supersets, so while resting between one exercise I do a set of another exercise). However, I'm less concerned about muscular endurance and more about strength, and I'm lifting weights that I can only do for 3-6 reps.
posted by spacediver at 11:30 AM on November 3, 2012

Stretching is actually more controversial than you might think. The literature is sparse and conflicting on the subject with additional conflict differentiating dynamic vs. static stretching. Most experts agree that stretching certainly can help flexibility, but pre-workout stretching (especially static) may actually reduce the benefits of a workout and increase the risk of injury. If your goal is to optimize the safety and efficacy of your current workouts, it may be safer to simply do a light aerobic warmup, start with a few lighter weight warm-up sets for any resistance training you're doing, and focus heavily on proper form. I avoid stretching pre-workout entirely. This is purely my anecdotal experience, but the vast majority of training injuries I've seen are related to overtraining, and breaking proper form to try to lift too heavy.

Flexibility and mobility are there own priority, and I include a focus on these independent of any resistance training I'm doing.
posted by drpynchon at 11:38 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

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