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AIS and flexing muscles

Posted by JanP on 6/08/05 at 18:14 (176360)

Ron: I've attempting to do these AIS stretches for maybe 2 weeks now, and the last 2 days I feel tight and sore. Normal?

Also, I too am having a hard time locating some of the muscles to tighten while relaxing the other. I've gotten so I really don't worry about which ones to flex as long as I can feel a pull somewhere...something is stretching! I suppose that's wrong, but it seems to be helping. I'm not home free yet by any means. I don't know the names of most of the muscles either. So far I've not thought it necessary, but maybe it would help. Sigh...PF is painful and recovery is lots of work!

Re: AIS and flexing muscles

Ron on 6/08/05 at 21:22 (176366)

I must be honest with you, I don't have the requisite knowledge to address your concerns in a complete manner. I'll do my best, however.

The sore muscles are the ones you've been flexing, right? I have had sore stomach muscles. If you haven't used these muscles in a while that might happen. This is one of the principles behind AIS that can benefit a person in not becoming too limber. The flexing of the agonist muscle will strengthen that muscle.

Being tight is a bit of a concern. I'll like to hear more of where you're tight and why you think that's so.

Make sure you're not feeling too much of a pull. This is my routine that I've gotten down over the last month. Mind you, I am not very disciplined and so haven't applied every technique all at once. My concentration isn't as great as it should be (I get distracted by my surroundings), and I've just gotten used to breathing as of late, and I've been relaxing more between stretches, and so on and so forth.

I'll go over two stretches of mine and tell you not only my problems but successes with them.

The first stretch is the hamstring stretch. I lie on my back and wrap the rope around my right foot, in the arch. I lift my leg up first straight without help of the rope. I've learned not to worry too much about tightening my quad because my body will take care of that while lifing the leg. The quad is the only way it can be lifted. At the end of lift when I can't go any further, I'll tug on the rope for an estimated two seconds. I'll be breathing out at this time at the peak of this stretch. When my breath is all gone I'll relax my leg to the floor again. I'll be breathing in at this time for an estimated two seconds, then repeat this for around 8 to 12 times.

The hamstrings have been the hardest for me to see results. But now I'll see that I can lift them further and further. I'll actually do different routines with this. Sometimes, I won't do 8 to 12 but only a few of straight leg hamstring stretches and then I'll move my leg out to the side, either straght or bent. I'll feel a real strong stretch here but watch out about this. Too much too fast will get you. I've actually felt a pull the next day from doing this so I take it extra easy.

Next is the calf stretch. I'll sit on my bum with legs extended about 6 to 12 inches apart. I'll wrap the rope around my foot once (some sites have recommended 'twice' but I find that cuts off circulation). I'll dorsiflex my ankle as far back as I can. I'll actually see my shin tighten and it even gets a small dimple in it. This very act alone will relax your calf. It should need no more flexing other than this (but I'd imagine some time down the road I might be able to flex it even further.)

While my ankle is dorsiflexed as far as it can go, I'll be breathing out and then I'll tug a little on my rope (actually it's a tie down strap about 2 inches wide, the kind you can find on trucks). I'll feel a small discomfort at the top of my calf, but nothing like when you're doing static stretches against the wall while standing (you know the ones that are always recommended). This is only a tiny pull, more like a pinch of pain. I've noticed too much pressure on the rope really hurts. It isn't like a stretchy feeling at all.

Eventually my dorsiflexion has gotten greater so as Aaron Mattes recommends on his site, you can add more resistance by either bringing up the foot or bending down toward your foot. I bend toward my foot now.

The goal of this is more flexibility. How you get there only matters to the degree that it's getting you there. That's the paradigm. The paradigm isn't stretching for the sake of stretching, or technique for the sake of technique. If you aren't more flexible after a few weeks to a month, I'd say you either are doing something wrong or you may be very flexible to begin with. Females are more flexible as it is. My success can be mostly attributed to my incredible tightness from my neck down to my toes.

Ask away anything that you are confused about. I love helping.


Re: AIS and flexing muscles

KellyM on 6/09/05 at 12:10 (176394)

I just discoered that I have PF,at least I think I do.I am a haidresser and spend long hours on my feet and this past week spent my day off walking around Atlantic City.I have never experienced pain like this,EVER except my pain runs from the heel of my foot down the outside of my foot.Everything I reAD SAYS THE PAIN IS USU. ON THE INSIDE OF THE FOOT.I have every symptom though and am in agony.Is this what I have??Will it ever go away??My job depends on it.I'm very worried

Re: AIS and flexing muscles

Ron on 6/09/05 at 13:37 (176397)

Kelly, see a podiatrist to get a real diagnosis. Start worrying when you know what you have to worry about. After the diagnosis there are many treatments available depending what you might have. If you have PF, most people are treated successfully within 3 months of diagnosis.

Re: Ron, Thanks

JanP on 6/10/05 at 11:18 (176454)

Thanks for the time you spent on my questions. I think I'm doing it right, because I am more flexible, but it does come slowly. I found a stretch elsewhere that also helps me judge my flexibility. I sit with legs spread comfortably, and lean forward and 'reach through'. In other words, stretch forward and try to touch elbows to the floor. I'm getting closer! Also, one of the pictures for the straight hamstring stretches that you mentioned, showed the model with his foot at about a 130 degree angle. Only in my dreams!

I said I feel tight. Maybe stiff would be more accurately stated, but it's not serious. I do wonder if I'm stretching/flexing too much sometimes. I have a hard time getting past the theory of 'no pain no gain'. Maybe that's why I'm stiff, kind of like when I used to exercise after long periods of not being active.

Do you try to do all the stretches, or mainly the ones you named? They seem the most pertinent. I've been going through all the ones on the Hartmann International site.

Re: Ron, Thanks

Ron on 6/10/05 at 16:22 (176474)

> I think I'm doing it right, because I am more flexible, but it does come
> slowly.

You've been stretching for 2 weeks now - give it some time would ya'!? Two weeks is nothing at all. I stretched the way I was told for years with no improvement.

With strethching the 'no pain no gain' philosophy doesn't work at all. All you have to do is incrementally get more flexible. You got this way slowly, and the solution will come slowly.

I've been practicing all the Hartman stretches, but I have a routine now when I'm in a rush. I skip a few of them but always will do my hamstrings, my glutes (pulling knee toward opposite shoulder), and my lower and upper calves. The latter being the absoluely most important.

I do the calves last. I'm more warmed up then, and as of late I've started to dorsiflex my ankle until my calves feel loose before I get up in the morning or after a break. This has eliminated the pain after getting up, which also means less re-injury and further healing.

I think I'm really getting a handle on this PF problem, but only after way many hours of research.

Re: Ron, Thanks

JanP on 6/10/05 at 20:55 (176505)

Okay, okay, I'll try to be patient. I've had so many things in the last 2-3 years that I thought would be the 'cure' and proved not to be, that I tend to think nothing is going to help. My feet still hurt, but I think, hope, pray not as bad?

I got a pair of Birks (thanks to Suzanne!) that feel so good when I put them on, and now I have to be patient and break them in slowly. I wore them too long today and my feet felt worse...Back to patience again!