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Old 05-19-2008, 12:08 AM   #1
Steve Ericson
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Default Splits...Bad for Oly Lifting?

Hi, I am considering starting a stretching regimen with the end goal being able to do the front and side splits. However, during my research I ran across a few people that seemed to think that being able to do the splits is too flexible for oly lifting?

The arguments that I ran across is that elite level Olympic lifters don't train for flexibility beyond what is necessary to perform the lift correctly because it would reduce power, and that you may end up squatting to low when cleaning / snatching therefore promoting injury? Wouldn't it be good to have a little extra flexibility in your back pocket to for instance enable yourself to get a tad lower in the squat position then you normally would when going for that PR? Thoughts...
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
Greg Everett
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Yes, you want a little extra.. but the splits is more than a little extra; mainly the side splits. With good Oly flexibility, you won't be too far off the front, but a legit side split is well beyond necessary. You just need to decide if you want specific functional flexibility or party tricks. Either is fine, just know what you're training for.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:49 PM   #3
Jamila Bey
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I juat wanna be able to get up from the floor again...
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:15 AM   #4
Steven Low
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The flexibility itself doesn't reduce power.. the static stretching before a workout does.

Although it might be debatable whether you get a better stretch-shorten cycle from a muscle at the edge of its ROM instead of more flexibility than you need. Well, specifically stretched out muscle spindles may not provide as good of feedback if they are more flexible than they need to be; however, I don't think this makes THAT big of a difference. If we were to consider the foot placement in sprinting, high jump and long jump.. they don't operate at the edge of their ROM when performing these activities and also strongly utilize the stored energy from stretch-shorten cycle to perform at elite levels.

Do you have any data on that Greg?

Last edited by Steven Low; 05-20-2008 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:46 PM   #5
Steve Ericson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post
Yes, you want a little extra.. but the splits is more than a little extra; mainly the side splits. With good Oly flexibility, you won't be too far off the front, but a legit side split is well beyond necessary. You just need to decide if you want specific functional flexibility or party tricks. Either is fine, just know what you're training for.
Good point Greg, I am going to focus more on the front splits. I am having a hard time thinking of when the flexibility of side splits would be beneficial (besides cool party tricks) as I am not a competing gymnast.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:33 PM   #6
Greg Everett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Although it might be debatable whether you get a better stretch-shorten cycle from a muscle at the edge of its ROM instead of more flexibility than you need. Well, specifically stretched out muscle spindles may not provide as good of feedback if they are more flexible than they need to be; however, I don't think this makes THAT big of a difference. If we were to consider the foot placement in sprinting, high jump and long jump.. they don't operate at the edge of their ROM when performing these activities and also strongly utilize the stored energy from stretch-shorten cycle to perform at elite levels.

Do you have any data on that Greg?
You should get a better stretch reflex in the mid ROM because you're going to get the best actin-myosin coupling. More flexibility = longer resting length via sarcomere addition = mid ROM is farther out. So really you just need to decide 1) what the necessary ROM is and 2) where you need maximal tension in the pertinent movements. You may not be able to get the two to coincide well, so you want to minimize disruptions to each by the other.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:03 AM   #7
Steven Low
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post
You should get a better stretch reflex in the mid ROM because you're going to get the best actin-myosin coupling. More flexibility = longer resting length via sarcomere addition = mid ROM is farther out. So really you just need to decide 1) what the necessary ROM is and 2) where you need maximal tension in the pertinent movements. You may not be able to get the two to coincide well, so you want to minimize disruptions to each by the other.
Hmm, interesting.

But wouldn't that put say an unflexible person (whos limit is maybe a bit more than ATG) near the edge of their ROM like an arbitary length of 10cm close to about 1cm from their length which is ~4 cm from midpoint whereas if you had someone with the same biomechanical anatomy at 14 cm flexibility then they would be 5cm from the edge of ROM which would put them only ~2 cm from the midpoint.

Well, whether you're looking at sarcomeres or the whole muscle length it's still similar in the respect of near the middle you're the strongest and at the edge of ROM you're the weakest contraction-wise. So the "longer" the muscle is it would seem that the closer it would be to the midpoint if you had to make a cutoff for squat depth.
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