Fighter's Codex Stretching Protocol

Laura Rainbow Dragon

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Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
Most of the postures shown on the stretching days in Fighter's Codex I am most familiar with doing as post-workout static stretches or, as we do in yoga, working with the breath to slowly go deeper into a position. However, with the exception of the side split holds, the stretching days clearly indicate reps for each exercise, and in some cases fairly high rep counts at that. It would take me hours to get through one of these stretching workouts using the stretching protocols I'm familiar with!

So my question is: What is the intended protocol for the stretching days in FC? Are they meant to be bounces? Larger movements done at speed like in HIIT? Moving with the breath but at a more cardio speed (like with high rep weight lifting)? Or...?
 
Solution
@Laura Rainbow Dragon it's a martial arts-based program. The focus is mostly on a controlled stretching movement with a passive stretch at the end of each posture. Because of your Yoga background you're overthinking it (not a bad thing :LOL: ). A stretch, whether passive or active is mechanical tension applied to the muscles and tendons so it is always strength-inducing. At the same time it sends a signal to the brain from the elongation of the individual muscle spindles in each muscle fiber that tells it is is OK to reset the failsafe point past which muscles can stretch without the brain signalling them to stiffen and resist the stretch.

Whether you really feel it or not the stretches will help you strengthen the parts of the...

broli

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You go from the start position to the end one for the number of reps.
It shouldn't take too long.

I don't think that you should it at speed but focus on stretching instead.

This is how I interpreted it when I did it.
Maybe someone else can clarify better :)
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

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Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
Thank you for taking a stab at my question @broli . Unfortunately, your response does not clear anything up for me.

I will try to explain my query better.

I understand the visual presentation of DAREBEE workouts. i.e.: when an exercise is to be performed for a specified # of reps, the graphics typically depict the starting and ending positions of the exercise. But in most cases, the exercises are done at best speed. When the intention of the exercise is otherwise, this is usually noted. (For example, when we do slow kicks to build endurance and balance, this is noted in the workouts.)

The workout days I'm asking about are clearly marked as focusing on stretching, yes. But there are many different types of stretching, which utilize different protocols and vastly different speeds of movement. (See this DAREBEE guide for some examples.) The Fighter's Codex workouts do not specify which stretching protocol or movement speed is intended, and it is not clear to me from the choice of exercises themselves which protocols or speeds to use.

Take the Day 4 workout, for example:

The first exercise is "side lunge stretches" and the exercise is shown as being a dynamic exercise done for reps. But the dynamic component of a side lunge primarily trains balance, coordination, and strength. The stretch comes in at the end point of the exercise, and is quite complicated and dependent upon specific characteristics of the bodies of each individual exerciser. (With the outstretched foot sole-to-the-floor, as depicted, I feel the stretch much more in the connective tissues on the lateral side of my ankle on the stretched leg than in my groin, for example.)

In the case of a side lunge, there is also a component of the exercise which is dependent upon ankle flexibility and the nature of the shoes the exerciser is wearing. I workout barefoot, and the limiting factor for me in reaching the end point depicted is the flexibility of my ankle on the side of the bent leg. Barefoot, it is challenging for me to keep my heel on the floor and my centre of mass far enough forward that I don't fall onto my buttocks. I need to lean really far forward in order to do so. If I was wearing running shoes with a high heel-to-toe drop, however, this would not be the case.

Specifics of individual anatomy and footwear aside, the end point of a side lunge (really of any lunge or squat, if one is flexible enough) can be either a passive position (one you can hold without effort because your bodyweight is resting on your joints) or an active one (a position you need to actively engage your muscles in order to hold). See @Damer 's videos here and here for examples. I could be wrong, but it looks to me that in the Balance Side Lunges video Damer is ending the movement in an active position, whereas in the Side Lunges video he is moving into a passive hanging position. (I also note that he, like me, needs to lift his heel to get into the deeper lunge.) Lunges are complicated, and the drawings don't show everything.

The second exercise on Day 4, the "standing toe" exercise, I have seen done both as a static stretch and a ballistic one. The way it is depicted in this workout, coming fully into an upright stand between each toe touch is, for me at least, more of a back/core/glutes/hamstrings strengthening exercise than a stretch. (I can stand with my legs straight and my palms flat on the floor and not be at my end range of motion.)

In exercise 3 on Day 4, the "deep lunge" exercise, the graphics do not show much movement at all. The difference shown is primarily in the lean of the torso--which is something I have never seen before in an exercise I am otherwise very familiar with. When I try that movement I don't feel much change at all in the stretched leg. Maybe a tiny bit in my hip flexor tendons. But nothing at all in the belly of the quadriceps.

And then we have exercise 4, the highly controversial seated "hamstring stretch". I have read much on both side of the argument ("It's highly dangerous! Don't ever do it!" versus "It's vital! Do it regularly!") regarding this movement and also seen it done as a static stretch, a ballistic stretch, slowly moving deeper with the breath, passively as in Yin Yoga but also actively, engaging the muscles to stretch further. It is also sometimes done with a rounded back and sometimes with a flat back. And in any case: the movement depicted here is labelled as a hamstring stretch, yet the lengthening and contracting that occurs is primarily in the back and glutes. (With straight legs and an anterior pelvic tilt, one's hamstrings are in a stretched position throughout.)

@Damer can you shed some light on these workouts and the specific stretching protocols intended?
 

Damer

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@Laura Rainbow Dragon it's a martial arts-based program. The focus is mostly on a controlled stretching movement with a passive stretch at the end of each posture. Because of your Yoga background you're overthinking it (not a bad thing :LOL: ). A stretch, whether passive or active is mechanical tension applied to the muscles and tendons so it is always strength-inducing. At the same time it sends a signal to the brain from the elongation of the individual muscle spindles in each muscle fiber that tells it is is OK to reset the failsafe point past which muscles can stretch without the brain signalling them to stiffen and resist the stretch.

Whether you really feel it or not the stretches will help you strengthen the parts of the body which support complex movements (like kicking) and also help you do them with less resistance. You breathe out on the stretch, as in most exercise movements that end with some kind of tension. There is a count, always, and in exercises like standing toe they can be gentle bounces or, if you are already very flexible, gentle pulls of the body further down so you can feel your muscles slowly stretch past their comfortable point.

I hope this helps clarify it but don't hesitate to let me know if you need me to explain anything further. I'm excited to see how you do in FC, particularly as we have a follow-up coming out next year.
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

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Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
Thank you, @Damer .

Because of your Yoga background you're overthinking it (not a bad thing
:LOL:
).
Heh, heh. Probably. Also: I have been doing this fitness thing for so long, I have been told many different things about stretching over the decades. (Including once by a physiotherapist who yelled at me when he caught me stretching in his clinic and then proceeded to lecture me on how stretching is "useless" and won't make any difference unless you invest significant time in it on a regular basis. I said to him, "You know I'm an athlete,"--this was a sports injury clinic--"you know I invest significant time on a regular basis in strength, speed, coordination, balance, and endurance training. Why would you assume I don't also invest significantly in improving my flexibility?" He then told me I didn't need to stretch because I was already more flexible than 99% of his clients. I haven't been back to that clinic since.)

I'm excited to see how you do in FC, particularly as we have a follow-up coming out next year.
I'm a little bit scared of all the push-ups. :shiver: But we'll see how it goes!
 

Damer

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I'm a little bit scared of all the push-ups.
Heh-heh! You should be! Push-ups are hard because at some point in the up and down motion you're taking up to 75% of your bodyweight on your arms and shoulders. At the same time it's an almost total-body exercise that also works abs and core, glutes, thighs and calves. This means it will challenge you and therefore it will transform you, over time. Persevere with the numbers and see what effect the program will have on someone like you who is already above average. I am dying to see the outcome now.
 
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