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Feb 27 16 7:19 AM

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After a number of years reading the forum threads on and off and gathering so much useful information I thought it was probably overdue that I make a contribution myself. 3 or 4 years ago I stumbled across this forum after seeing the photos that Fred posted. At the time I thought that strands would offer a good way to work my back while keeping my elbows straight as I had (still have to some degree) elbow tendinitis that prevented any movements like rowing and pull-ups. I bought the hook and its strands and attachments, I found a local rubber shop and was able to get some lengths of speargun rubber of three different thicknesses and I already had some flat looped bands from iron edge (I am from Australia). A year or so ago I felt like a change and got a gym membership ( I hadn't been to a commercial gym in over ten years) but have decided not to renew and am rediscovering the fun and variety of working with cables. I thought it was time to let everyone know how much information and inspiration I have found from reading the various threads on this forum and I am sure there are others like me around. Fred, your posts often refer to what a good forum you have here and you are right, a brief look at other fitness related forums quickly reveals nothing but arguments an abuse. Anyway sorry for the long winded post but maybe someone will find my story interesting as I have found the stories of others.  Thanks
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#1 [url]

Feb 27 16 12:14 PM

Yes, I feel the same.

I have same experience - long time lurker; I know about this forum for several Years, when I found it thanks to my another gatherings about oldtime strongman training theories - I briefly red it then but I hadn´t start to perform expander training. I had been more into weights in the past (childhood inspiration from Arnold and Sly´s movies) and strand training was only another optional tool that I though was good in stretching, shoulders workout and that´s it. On top I was influenced by general fitness sites and options of people, who never try strand workout for longer period of time and conciced them as inferior to weights (though I knew about fact, that some people I know from my gatherings have great results with them).

Few Years back I was dealing with possibillities of working out cheap at my previous little apartment that lead me more into expander training and another fitness stuff (kettlebell, dumbbells, bodyweight fitness). I had in some times need to switch to another equipment but found out in all cases that I don´t need that. I had worked out then from time to time. 
As Sparty, in last months I renew my stance to strand training and working out reguralry in general (another thing that leads me to it from I post is health reasons too - I have dislocated neck vertebra and poor desk job posture and experienced headeches from it in past. In addition, for several hours a day I have my elbows bended in work - weight training in the past and more push-oriented workouts have their´s part to this issues for sure).
I decided to give it (strands + BWF addition) a try and see how far it can go. 
I know strands don´t provide maybe quick solution for muscle growth/maximal strength as weights do, but that´s not only one thing I´m looking for in my workouts (but as one could see my another post´s in Setting realistic goals topic, I had for example better results in terms of vertical pulling strength than I had with weights).
So, in current time I have first hand experience with regular expander training and it is great so far.

Another thing is regular motivation to working out. I work out in the morning, when my wife and kids still sleeps. For me it´s hard to motivate to regular workout with weights as one of first things in morning. But it´s simple with strands. I think it´s due to nature of equipment (strands are more stretch oriented and don´t "attack" spine and nervous system the way weights do).

This forum, experiences and stories are another motivational source and such an inspiration.
So, thank You, all

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#2 [url]

Feb 28 16 11:44 AM

Lemmy, I agree with your point about strand being a bit easier on the body. I also train in the morning before my wife and kids are awake and it is very difficult to roll straight out of bed and start doing heavy deadlifts! By the time I am sufficiently warmed up there would be no time left to train. The strands offer a more gentler introduction to an early morning workout and I still find that I am able to work up to a fairly heavy resistance (for me) without my joints popping and cracking.

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#3 [url]

Feb 28 16 2:35 PM

Welcome Sparty.

I had golfer's elbow from doing too many chins also. The main consideration for healing injured tendons is time. Now I do pull-ups (palms facing away from me) with a close grip and I do them very slowly on the eccentric (letting myself down).

Here's a thread on the Zen Forum (Bruce Tackett's forum - the guy who makes The Hook) discussing golfer's or tennis elbow (treatment is the same for either) with info that helped me. 
I continue to carry the rubber bands, that I mention in that thread, with me everywhere to use while driving or standing in line, etc. They come free on bundles of asparagus.
George Jowett had a lot to say about the importance of strong tendons and ligaments and how one can accomplish it. He said, "Strong muscles must have strong attachments.". I found that holding type exercises, like heavy suitcase/farmwer's walk/carries, deadlifts, KB swings, high bar hangs (just hanging, not lifting myself) other words holding against a significant resistance with my arms extended and without bending them at the elbow....was very instrumental to building tendon strength and rehabbing my elbow ligaments and tendons. Holds require tensing up, but the joint doesn't bend or bends very slightly as an aid to the hold.

Please note that we do a lot of ragging and making fun of each other on the Zen Forum. That place in similar to a men's locker room at the gym, complete with towel snaps and some rude behavior.  Happy

"Any problem in the World can be solved by dancing." James Brown 
"I don't even know if I'm doin' this right" John Mellencamp
Mastering principles, frees us from slavery to recipes.
Set a DIRECTION, not a goal.

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#4 [url]

Feb 28 16 4:57 PM

Thanks for the info Mikey, I'll be sure to check out the thread you mentioned. I can do most movements like rows or pull downs now with and overhand grip and am generally okay with a hammer grip for curls ( I often do this with the straight tubing) but anything with an underhand grip still causes discomfort as can little things like brushing my teeth or holding a phone to my ear for too long! I tend to go through periods of time with no issues but then when I happen to do something out of the ordinary it becomes quite uncomfortable for a couple of weeks. I do quite a bit of work with straight elbows ( swings and trap bar lifts) but am interested in what has worked for you. Thanks

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#5 [url]

Mar 1 16 2:53 AM

Sparty: Yes. Another thing about strands and morning workout is back. I see lot of reccomendations to not use for early morning excercising (usually mentioned when You start working out up to 30 mins - up to 1 hour after waking up) weights or anything that puts lot of stress to Your spine because higher risk of injury of spine and back in general (spine and muscles around it, mainly in lover back aren´t immidiately after waking up ready for heavy work and need to be stretched by the day with everyday activities and movements). Because of it is usually reccomended to work out with weights (and other heavy stuff) ideally at afternoon or at least hour after waking up.

It¨s another reason I use expander. Even if I sometimes don´t sleep well and my back hurts after waking up, I feel that strands correct that pain and correct my standing position in morning (my back is not so rounded) - for me mainly Overhead downward pull (and it´s variation, when I put hands to my lover back at the end of pull), Seated rows, Back Press and Shoulder press works best as for overall back stretch (and Front Chest pull, Archer´s pull for upper back stretch on top of that too).

But... it depends I thing (on how You watch form, on workout programming, etc...): I know about athetes, that had/are excercising in the early morning after waking up with weights and have great results and any problems with back from it (or ever correct back problems with early morning workouts)..

Interesting You mentioned KB (swings). I had been thinging if weighted excercises with straight hand position (which kettlebell, as barbell and dumbbells) had many are good for correcting elbow problems: because for me it´s simple matematics: Elbow is damaged mainly with movements that put stress on it when it´s bended. So putting hands in straight position (and with excercising - supporting it in this position with weights) should do oposite.
I had stopped reading books in public traffic few months ago due to this thoughts (I have lot of elbow bending position at work already) and from that time I feel better with my elbows.
Reduction of elbow bending in general is maybe best way to heal elbow - but in some cases it can´t be unfortunately done in way we with (in my case - I know hours of bended elbow in my work could easily lead to heavier problems with elbow health but don´t have another option than stretches and expander workout, that massages elbow joints in good way )..

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#6 [url]

Mar 1 16 7:48 AM

Isometrics (the literal, strict definition where no movement occurs in the joint) is a valid way to stretch and rehab tendons and ligaments. Even though movement is occurring in the exercises I mentioned, there is little to no movement of the joint being re-habbed (the elbows). The high bar hangs would probably be the closest to a real isometric since a person just hangs without movement.

Here's the part of an article which talks about PNF and isometric stretching that might interest you:

  • PNF Stretching: PNF stretching, or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, is a more advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching was originally developed as a form of rehabilitation and for that function it is very effective. It is also excellent for targeting specific muscle groups, and as well as increasing flexibility, (and range of movement) it also improves muscular strength.There are many different variations of the PNF stretching principle and sometimes it is referred to as Contract-Relax stretching or Hold-Relax stretching. Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) is another variation of the PNF technique.The area to be stretched is positioned so that the muscle (or muscle group) is under tension. The individual then contracts the stretched muscle group for 5 – 6 seconds while a partner (or immoveable object) applies sufficient resistance to inhibit movement. The effort of contraction should be relevant to the level of conditioning. The contracted muscle group is then relaxed and a controlled stretch is applied for about 30 seconds. The athlete is then allowed 15 to 30 seconds to recover and the process is repeated 2 – 4 times.
  • Isometric Stretching: Isometric stretching is a form of passive stretching similar to PNF stretching, but the contractions are held for a longer period of time. Isometric stretching places high demands on the stretched muscles and is not recommended for children or adolescents who are still growing. Other recommendations include allowing at least 48 hours rest between isometric stretching sessions and performing only one isometric stretching exercise per muscle group in a session.To perform an isometric stretch; assume the position of the passive stretch and then contract the stretched muscle for 10 to 15 seconds. Be sure that all movement of the limb is restricted. Then relax the muscle for at least 20 seconds. This procedure should be repeated two to five times.

"Any problem in the World can be solved by dancing." James Brown 
"I don't even know if I'm doin' this right" John Mellencamp
Mastering principles, frees us from slavery to recipes.
Set a DIRECTION, not a goal.

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#7 [url]

Mar 3 16 4:19 AM

Question for Lemmy,
.                    You mention that you train first thing early in the morning as do I. I was wondering how you go about warming up/ getting loose before train, I assume that as with myself time is somewhat limited without getting out of bed ridiculously early so I can't afford to spend half an hour getting warm. at the moment here in Australia it is summer so it is usually quite warm in my garage even early so that helps a little. I usually try to walk around my backyard a bit while doing some light mobility work ( arm circles, leg swings etc) then go in to some light swings ( I have made a T-handle set up) which I find helps stretch out and loosen my back. I usually fell quite good through the shoulders and upper body fairly quickly but getting legs and hips ready for heavier work is can be quite time consuming (especially in winter!). Do you have any ideas or techniques that work for you?


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#8 [url]

Mar 3 16 7:43 PM

Sparty: I feel You. My time is also very limited in the morning (I don´t have much spare time for longer workouts -  I am usually at work as soon as possible so I can be soon back home and enjoy family time - family is huge priority for me, it´s one of reasons I excercise in the morning).

I think I´m not best person to advice about stretching and warm up because ... well, I don´t do them to be honest.
I woke up, do some morning hygiene, have a glass of watter and few minutes on computer (helping my wife with her work from home, quick skimming of my personal e-mails) and perform workout. Then quick shower, quick breakfast and maybe some few minutes on top of that (depends on when I woke up) and travel to work after that.

Main thing columns and information about fitness from my gathering have one thing in common - they concider some excercises as warm up or sort of stretching. One is for example pull apart excercise, which is practically another name for Front chest pull.. Some sports concider bodyweight excercises as warm up it self as well.
So - I don´t do stretching, because it´s in my opinion provided by strands itselfs. I don´t do warm ups, because I take it like I do them with bodyweight and strands excercises (Jack LaLanne always comes to my mind about famous fitness person who didn´t do warmups ).
But if I do squats and push ups, I do quick mobility work before first set and between other sets. With squats I try to few deep reps before and take first set slow - so my knees use to bending better in the morning). With Calft raises, I do little mobility before sets. I don´t do stretches for core (as mentioned - I do usually bridges and I take them like stretch itself).
I end my workout with mentioned bridges and neck stretches (from my physio, I wrote about this in different topics - I had to do them due to my dislocated verberta and as rehab for my desk job).

I always workout with some clothes on me (shirt, trousers, underwears). I take them off when I get warmed throught workout.

But I wasn´t into warm ups even if I did weighted workouts in mornings (I did only mobility work and quick stretches before workouts - which depends on type of training and muscle parts I worked in it) and I have been always morning person (good activity in morning, but tired early at evenings:)).

Summary: I take strands as stretch/rehab workout itself I´m not big believer in warm ups, except for quick mobility for only maintaining better blood flow and deloading after excercise set.

But: I´m planning to more orient on bodyweight excercise stuff in this month. We will see if my stretching/warm ups will change for that (for warm up part - I don´t thing so ... for stretches: I think I will stick with mobility and few slow reps before with some excercises).

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