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When do you stretch?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by TonyD, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. I understood that it is not healthy to do stretch exercises immediately after playing. There should be a couple of hours in between, to give your muscles a little bit of rest before they are stretched....

    Do you agree?
  2. livingstone


    Jun 15, 2007
    Oneonta NY
    But methinks cold muscles don't stretch so well. Unless hands are different.

    I never felt the need to stretch but warm up is important to me.
  3. livingstone


    Jun 15, 2007
    Oneonta NY
    After rethinking, I suppose you're not referring to muscles but tendons in which case I have no idea.

  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I stretch fingers, wrists, shoulders during/after a set as I feel the need. Seems to help me, but I don't presume to speak for what you should do.
  5. When you use your tendons or muscles intensively - you are infact 'damaging' your tendon's and muscles. Stretching excercises after 'damaging' is not the way to go. Better to give it rest and do the stretching afterwards.

    At least, this is what I think... :meh:
  6. I stretch my arms/hands all the time. Every day. I try to have my arms and hands in a relaxed state as much as possible and keep from forming tensions or knots. I also work with computers a lot so I have a fine line between comfort and RSS injury.
    If I feel the slightest build up of tension in either arm I will literally stop using that arm for a day or so.
  7. What kind of exercises are your favorite?

    Mine are (I try to do these every day):


    Your suggestions are welcome
  8. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    I was told by a therapist & chiropractor not to stretch when you're in pain--you can damage muscle. Not supposed to stretch cold either but stretch often throughout the day. Yet some acrobats gymnasts I know stretch without warming up first.
  9. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    I am big on warming up. A percussionist just introduced the notion of stretching and it seems to help on longer gigs.
  10. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    there are many myths about stretching, if you want specific advice about it do a google search and take your info from people who do research into this subject. muscle tightness can be from several things: mechanical from muscle contraction, neural from nervous system activation and lastly is connective tissue, some people are tighter/looser genetically. so the need to stretch varies especially when there is pain involved. Stretching muscles that are already long is not healthy, I also disagree w/ the chiro, sometimes pain is due to scar tissue which restricts movement, stretching scar tissue is important to restore range of motion. Mobility exercises are big movements that take joints/muscles to end range without stretching, these are always good to do especially before, during, after bass playing. bass playing requires a fair amount of fine motor skill combined with a fair amount of muscle effort just to play the thing.
  11. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    +1. I like to do more dynamic warm ups/stretching rather than static stretching (and if/when I do do static stretching it's only after the dynamic warm up/stretching has been done). Good to get the blood flowing and the body loose.
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't stretch, but I "loosen" before and during playing if i feel any tension building up; basically letting go of the tension as completely as possible when and where I feel it. On watching video of older performances versus more recent ones, I notice that some of this has been subconsciously absorbed into the playing technique itself, which is kind of interesting in a "House, M.D." kind of way.

    The issue of whether stretching is a good or a bad thing is also interesting in the same kind of way. I know proponents of both sides, and don't really have a horse in the race as far as an argument would be concerned. My experience has been that it can help me with range of motion in some ways - most notably as regards calfs and hamstrings - but that there is a real limit to how much "progress" I can make by stretching. I suspect this limitation is largely genetic.
  13. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    When cold before playing, lightly stretch fingers and forearms, roll wrists and thumbs around, back and shoulder stretches help more than you would think. After warming up a bit give it a more intense stretch before you get into it for a while. I generally dont stretch after...
  14. When I ran track in high school, my coaches preached another school of thought. The idea was that you stretch before and after your performance, or practice, or race, but there are different goals. The problem with stretching too hard before anything is that really stretching actually decreases the explosiveness of your muscles, because by stretching you slightly breakdown the muscles. So, what the coaches had us do was what they called "kinetic stretching." Rather than pulling on your muscles you put them through some natural motions that might achieve the same goal of loosening without reducing the effectiveness of your muscles.

    An example might be to do slow arm circles instead of stretching your shoulders or play air-piano to loosen your fingers. Tai Chi deals with a lot of this in terms of movement without tension.
  15. playbass0410


    Feb 8, 2008
    Well, I'm in running for about 35 years. Advice on how to do stretching changed over all those years. When I was a teen stretching was often done by luffing against the muscle tension - something no one would advice today due to the fact the muscle reacts with contraction an can get injured.

    Today I follow this procedure that I've been told recently during a medical sports therapy:

    a) No stretching before exercise as it lengthen the muscle by stretching its filaments. This results in less power and a bigger chance to get injured. But warm-up is key.
    b) No stretching after exercise when the muscle is exhausted. This very easily causes injuries. Never stretch during action.
    c) But do stretching exercise every day:
    - Done right no warm up is needed - the muscle gets warm in the process
    - Never stretch to strong tension or pain
    - Never move hard against the muscle mechanical stop or do luffing
    - Move near the mechanical stop until you feel light tension is building up (far,far,far from painful tension). Hold this position for about 10-15 seconds. Do not move further to hold the tension feeling but stay statically and you will feel the tension ceases slowly. Relax yourself and the muscle and repeat this process several times.

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