Legs tightening up

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    Feb 20, 2011 11:11 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I just joined a football league here in San Diego, and during and after every practice my legs are tightening up pretty badly. The backs of my hammies, and the very top parts of my quads. I'm stretching out for about 15 minutes pre practice and all through the week. If i run long distances it is fine, so I know it's the sprinting, and short bursts causing this pain. Any tips or advice on how to prevent this tightening up? Thanks for any replies in advance.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:49 PM GMT
    Tightening up, as in cramping? Or as in a knot?

    Try taking potassium supplements and make sure you stay hydrated. Also, I think 15 minutes of stretching is too much. Instead, you should run a couple laps around the field. And maybe throw in some mountain climbers to help you limber up.
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    Feb 21, 2011 12:10 AM GMT
    No this is not a cramping feeling. It is tightening, and gets tighter and tighter as I go. Thank you for the response.
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    Feb 21, 2011 3:57 AM GMT
    If you rule out hydration and nutrition, consider dynamic stretching before and static stretching after your workouts.

    Besides your practices, what other types of exercise are you incorporating throughout the week?
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    Feb 21, 2011 4:01 AM GMT
    It actually might be the stretching. Stretching elongates the muscle and we're so often told that its a great way to prevent injury. That said, its also a great way to create an injury. Stretching a muscle extends it past its normal 'comfort' zone as we elongate it. To accommodate this the muscle actually deforms itself and loses some of its integrity, from which it has to recover. Stretching is great especially after a work out to make sure that the worked muscles are relaxed and being experiencing an alternative form on movement. However it does weaken the muscle slightly for a short period of time, but when combined with working a muscle group increases recovery and impact of the work in the long run.

    Stretching extensively and intensively before putting your body through a strenuous burst style exercise may be ill advised, as you may be jeopardizing you muscle integrity during that period where the muscle is weakened and attempting to 'repair'. Warming up is of course a must, and a slight stretch is not without merit; at the start its about increasing blood flow and limbering up the muscle groups to prevent a serious strain.

    Also Never stretch cold, this is the best way to form small tears that can actually start to hinder your flexibility and increase problems associated with muscle strain and tightness.
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    Feb 21, 2011 4:17 AM GMT
    Did you say Legs TIGHTENING UP? icon_wink.gif

    229035_464669.jpg
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    Feb 21, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    JJCrush saidIt actually might be the stretching. Stretching elongates the muscle and we're so often told that its a great way to prevent injury. That said, its also a great way to create an injury. Stretching a muscle extends it past its normal 'comfort' zone as we elongate it. To accommodate this the muscle actually deforms itself and loses some of its integrity, from which it has to recover. Stretching is great especially after a work out to make sure that the worked muscles are relaxed and being experiencing an alternative form on movement. However it does weaken the muscle slightly for a short period of time, but when combined with working a muscle group increases recovery and impact of the work in the long run.

    Stretching extensively and intensively before putting your body through a strenuous burst style exercise may be ill advised, as you may be jeopardizing you muscle integrity during that period where the muscle is weakened and attempting to 'repair'. Warming up is of course a must, and a slight stretch is not without merit; at the start its about increasing blood flow and limbering up the muscle groups to prevent a serious strain.

    Also Never stretch cold, this is the best way to form small tears that can actually start to hinder your flexibility and increase problems associated with muscle strain and tightness.


    Great stuff. True stuff.
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    Feb 23, 2011 6:45 AM GMT
    After years of high-impact sports and running I had nearly disabling patellar tendinitis in one of my knees for a long time. I've learned to manage it, but what I've found is that with resistance training my muscles just seem to get tighter than average - which was independently commented on by both an orthopedic surgeon and a sports physiotherapist.

    My experience falls directly in line with what JJCrush describes:
    *Stretching (particularly static stretching) before exercise/sport even after a decent warmup = BAD.
    *Light to moderate stretching (mostly static stretching) after exercise/sport = GOOD.
    *Moderate to extensive stretching as part of my regular non-sport workouts on the rest of the week (think of it as "pre-hab") and very light but sport-specific dynamic stretching and plyo (e.g. short hops, slow lunges) as part of my pre-competition warmup = BEST.

    The reality is, stretching 10 minutes before vigorous exercise doesn't give you much worthwhile benefit during that exercise itself. Muscles aren't silly putty. Pulling on them doesn't automatically instantly make them longer and more flexible any more than pumping out two sets of triceps extensions right before a game is going to give you the strength to launch the football into the next county like JaMarcus Russell.

    Reformation of the muscle and connective tissue takes time, nutrition, work, and rest. You want your body to be in the condition you need the night BEFORE competition, that way on game day you only have to concentrate on getting the right kind of food-fuel and having the mental focus to execute the mechanics of your sport.

    After having been told most of my life that you should always stretch before a workout/game (which seemed to be the dominant kinesio paradigm in the 80s and 90s), and eventually developing chronic knee pain, I found a tremendous amount of relief by switching to post-workout/game stretching. At first I thought I was just the one weird guy, but in the last decade more research has shown that the alleged benefits of pre-exercise static stretching were not only overestimated but might also be actively harmful in some circumstances.
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    Feb 23, 2011 10:13 PM GMT
    Do you work a job where you're sitting down most of the day? If so, I'd advise you to get up and move about and do some light stretching or shaking out your legs at least once an hour maybe followed by more stretching in the evening, or after your workout. Flexibility, like anything else is something that's built over time.

    If you stretch properly, stretching before a workout isn't necessarily a horrible thing, especially if you have an area that tends to get short locked. I always stretch my problem areas before I run, hitting it from different angles, and actually for the most part, they aren't a problem. The problem with stretching is that most people stretch as far as they possibly can go, which does activate a response from an apparatus called the muscle spindle which prevents you from overstretching your muscle so it resists the stretch, the muscle contracts while you're trying to lengthen it, and that's where you heighten your risk of injury. So it's not the stretching in and of itself that's bad, it's the way people stretch.

    When you're stretching, think gradual lengthening, breathing and relaxing into it. If you've ever had a massage, you know what it feels like when the blood flows back into an area where a therapist has released it? Well you should feel the same thing after stretching. You should feel a bit of resistance from the muscle, but if you're doing it correctly you'll feel it relax, and you'll be eventually be able to go deeper into it.

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    Feb 24, 2011 4:28 AM GMT
    tyguy115 said... I know it's the sprinting, and short bursts causing this pain. Any tips or advice on how to prevent this tightening up?
    Stop sprinting.
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    Feb 25, 2011 11:05 PM GMT
    Hey guys, thanks for all the responses, it turns out I pulled a butt muscleicon_biggrin.gif. This would explain my problem.
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    Feb 26, 2011 8:25 AM GMT
    also stretch AFTER not before.