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Old 12-30-2007, 04:41 PM   #11
Greg Everett
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I've not intended to suggest the two cannot be done simultaneously, and they certainly can for novice and intermediate level lifters. My real concern is joint laxity, but as Dr. El Hewie mentions, muscle flexibility and joint laxity are not necessarily connected. That said, my concern specific to yoga is that in my experience, yoga instructors and practitioners have no experience with strength training and accordingly have no genuine appreciation or understanding of its demands and unique characteristics, and many pursue flexibility indiscrimately, causing irreversible damage to inelastic connective tissue, as well as flexibility well beyond what is appropriate.

In regard to flexibility itself, there is certainly such a thing as excessive. Flexibility is entirely discipline-specific. What's appropriate in terms of degree, nature and location for one discipline is not for another. Weightlifting is often cited as demanding remarkable flexibility, but this is only partially true--it demands a great deal of flexibility in very specific locations and manners. Flexibility beyond the necessary ROM plus a small margin of error is likely not much less risky in terms of injury potential as inadequate flexibility.

So the bottom line is that you just need to assess your priorities and determine what flexibility will best serve you. You may decide that flexibilit beyond what is appropriate for weightlifting is worth it for your pursuit of yoga--Just recognize that it's a compromise.
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Old 12-30-2007, 05:48 PM   #12
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Just one more quick thought - I've seen a number of times of athletes or others finding yoga and having these remarkable revelations about its ability to produce flexibility like some kind of voodoo magic. Invariably, these are people who have gone through life being extraordinarily inflexible, and NEVER DOING ANYTING ABOUT IT. Suddenly they find themselves dedicating 30-60 minutes/day to flexibility, and surprisingly enough, their flexibility improves! What they seem to overlook is the fact that it's not yoga itself that has delivered the results, it's the fact that they're comparing it to zero effort - ANYTHING would produce great results. That's another part of it that rubs me the wrong way - an athlete can achieve just as much flexibility in much less time and with no risk of joint complications with more straightforward flexibility training.
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:03 PM   #13
Frank Needham
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Originally Posted by sarena kopciel View Post
I saw on a thread on Mikes Gym that Coach Greg feels yoga is not a fitting adjunct to Olifting and was curious as to why and/or any other input regarding Olifting and yoga.
Thanks
Without going into all the gory details I'll just say that in 2001 I trashed myself in a car wreck and was bust up for weeks that I couldn't even move, literally, and for years after was in excruciating pain. The spine in my neck looks like someone tried to wring my neck like a chicken, you can actually see on the xray where the vertabrae seperate on the posterior and pinch on the anterior. Anywho, I did a crapload of research on getting this taken care of but ended up by telling myself that I'd do anything not to have surgery. That decision led me to yoga. Yoga helped me begin to move as a normal human again without so much pain, and in a relatively short time. I felt kinda weird working out in a class full of girls but got over it. Time passed and I felt lots better. Eventually this led me to have an itch to lift again and I began cfing. Began to feel even better which gave me the desire to get deeper into lifting and I actually began trying to olift about a year ago, never having done so prior. Progress has been slow but pretty steady. I'm at place now where I'd actually dare to have an assessment done on me by someone who is qualified to do so. What is my point in this ramble? Simply that yoga, for me, was a good starting point but I wanted to move well and move with strength. Yoga helped me move but didn't give me the sense of physical power that I wanted. Beginning to lift, and specifically olifting, has done that and more. I feel stronger now than I have in years and I don't believe that my flexibility has diminished either. On the contrary, I think it is much better than when I was doing yoga. I feel that olifting can offer me much more in the way of a challenge, now, and for as far as I can see in the future.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:03 PM   #14
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As always, I love Greg's description of just how gray the areas are. Sarena, in terms of your yoga flexibility, are you still very capable (and hopefully improving) in your flexibility needed for OL?

The F-yoga stuff is hilarious, if only for the opposite side of the pendulum opinion.

As I'm sure you already know, some yoga flexibility is totally yoga-specific, so devotion to other types of training would require some sacrifices somewhere.

Stretching tendons & ligaments = bad. Stretching (relaxing, really) muscles = good.

I've done a boatload of different styles and levels of yoga in my past. While I like it, I couldn't see it fitting into my schedule more than once a week at most currently. As Yael mentioned, I get much more from joint mobility training. No point in being able to stretch the muscles around a joint without having the coordination/proprioception to move it properly in an active fashion first!
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:33 PM   #15
sarena kopciel
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Thanks all for the input. I currently take a class or two max a week and teach a few as well. Will talk with my coach later in the week and also with you perhaps Coach Greg when we meet in January!
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:25 AM   #16
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Default Passive vs Active Flexibility

Yoga and static stretching, or passive stretching as I refer to it, is not "bad" per se, but must simply be used correctly and at the right time for the most effective results. You may find the following former post of mine a helpful introduction of the relationship between passive and dynamic flexibility.

"Passive stretching is definitely a component of my flexibility program, just not the major emphasis. My athletes begin a program comprised on passive flexibility, active flexibility, basic strength, static strength and dynamic strength from the first day that they walk into the gym (In fact this physical development, takes precedence over any and all skill development). It is easier of course to build flexibility in younger athletes, however that flexibility must be balanced with strength to allow that athlete to successfully mature into a National level (or higher) competitor.

Care must be taken to not weaken the joints through excessive passive stretching. Focusing on active flexibility ensures that the joint's level of strength increases right along with its flexibility. For athletic purposes, I would rather have a "strong" beginning athlete with tight joints than one who is naturally "loose". With correct training, I can develop the required flexiblity in the "tight" athlete.

As a side note, I have found that passive flexibility training only, past a certain point, has little effect on a very strong athlete or the very tight (a category that most adults would fall into), while active flexibility and dynamic stretching movements result in much greater and faster results without compromising their strength levels (or in other words, weakening the amount of leverage they can bring to bear on an athletic movement).

For adults, I have found that they as well respond much better to a mixture of passive and active flexibility. An example would be stretching a "pike". Training the stiff leg deadlift with a pause at the bottom or windmills done with legs nearly straight usually gives much faster flexibility results than simply sitting in a pike on the floor and stretching. The same with wall walks for bridge flexibility as opposed to simply pushing up into a bridge.

In my opinion, the body performs best from a foundation of strength and this seems to apply to flexibility training as well."

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Old 01-01-2008, 04:15 PM   #17
Mohamed F. El-Hewie
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I once got harshly rebuked for making a comment that equates Yoga with exercise. The yoga folks view their practice as spiritual rituals. Those make the mind aware of the body and allow the person to develop conscious awareness of their very self. It is not just flexibility that matters. It is the mind-over-body insight that constitutes the core of yoga.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:18 PM   #18
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I once got harshly rebuked for making a comment that equates Yoga with exercise. The yoga folks view their practice as spiritual rituals. Those make the mind aware of the body and allow the person to develop conscious awareness of their very self. It is not just flexibility that matters. It is the mind-over-body insight that constitutes the core of yoga.
Yes, exactly - which is why I don't like people using it as flexibility training. Flexibility training should be direct and efficient. Yoga is more of a lifestyle thing, not athletic training, and that's perfectly fine unless the two are confused.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:01 PM   #19
sarena kopciel
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Yes, exactly - which is why I don't like people using it as flexibility training. Flexibility training should be direct and efficient. Yoga is more of a lifestyle thing, not athletic training, and that's perfectly fine unless the two are confused.
Coach Greg, lets continue this conversation when we meet in just over 2 weeks. Perhaps Friday night when you arrive at hotel. You can see me, watch me lift over the weekend and then pass your opinion based on my specifics.
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:21 PM   #20
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I believe that some concepts from yoga can be used in training, especially when working with those who are at high risk for overuse injuries. I have had the pleasure of learning and practicing a form of yoga called Eishens yoga for the past year and a half. This form of yoga is more about proper alignment and learning how to activate muscles that you have not been using or muscles that are not as active as they used to be. This could happen for many different reasons but one of them is because of how well our bodys adapt to movement. I have had very good success with using a few different poses mixed in with both active and passive stretching. However when I have someone in a pose they are not trying to relax, it is the opposite actually, I try to use feedback through touch to help activate muscles and align the body. I was very skeptical of yoga myself before I started to learn more about eischens yoga and was still skeptical the first few months of trying it but I have seen some very good results in myself, my wife, and those that I train, including the athletes I work with at USD. I have had people tell me that yoga is the whole lifestyle thing and what I am doing is not yoga and that is fine with me because if I find a part of something that I like but do not like the whole, guess what, I am going to use the part that I feel is benificial. If I was to only use the whole of everything I would be nowhere because I dont agree with everything the NSCA does, I dont agree with everything crossfit does, I dont agree with everything in the RKC, and I dont agree with everthing that is a part of yoga but I use some things from all of them and from other things as well. The point is that I think we shouldnt just be like F Yoga only because of what someone else tells us what it should or shouldnt be. There are great things to learn in all areas! For weightlifting I feel it can be benificail because you need to be flexible but active at the same time (ex. catch of a clean or snatch) and Eischens yoga fits in well with this demand of the sport.

Skipp

P.S. I am also continually working on how to incorporate the poses into workouts and by no means feel I have figured it all out, it has been very interesting trying to tie them into full team workouts and most of the athletes here have really been liking it.
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