I’ve received a lot of questions regarding my stretching lately, especially after my 531 post, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to describe what I have going on and how I’m addressing it.
In the Indy Seminar Series DVD’s, Bill outlines how to determine if a muscle is stiff or short. In my case, I have a somewhat unique hip alignment – I am short into internal rotation on my right hip, and short into external rotation on my left hip.
The goal of my stretching/mobility program is simple: To improve symmetry, gaining internal rotation on my right hip and external rotation on my left.
In the Indy DVD’s, Bill discusses the three ways you can stretch to increase the length of a muscle (i.e. increase the number of sarcomeres in series):
– Eccentric-Quasi Isometrics
– Active Oscillatory stretches, and
– Low-load, long-duration stretches
In my case, the easiest stretch to use was a 90/90 stretch where my left leg/hip was externally rotated, and my right leg/hip was internally rotated. Unlike typical stretching protocols, however, I stayed in this position for 20 minutes, two times per day.
I would venture to say I’ve gained at least 20 degrees of internal rotation in my right hip in the last 6 weeks. That’s a pretty significant change.
Now an ideal situation would allow you to use at least two of these methods to increase length. Hip rotation is harder as there aren’t a ton of great EQI’s to employ, so let’s use a better example.
If someone had true shortness of the rectus femoris, they could perform the low-load, long-duration stretches 2 or more times per day. At the conclusion of their workouts, they could perform a Bulgarian Split Squat EQI to further increase length.
The key here is to have a firm diagnosis of the issue at hand (is it stiff, or is it short), and then to apply the appropriate training protocol.
I hope all this makes sense. Again, if you haven’t checked out Bill’s presentation in the Indy Seminar Series, it should clear up a lot of the confusion.
Good luck and good stretching!