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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:59 AM
adivee adivee is offline
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Why do my muscles get so tight?

Everytime I see a massage / chiro /MAT / ART guy , they always say "oh you muscles are so tight". Why do they get tight? The ART guy has loosened up my leg muscles yesterday and I am pretty sure they get super tight by my next visit.

what can I do to keep them always hydrated and loose? Thx
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Old September 17th, 2009, 05:14 PM
viajerasheila viajerasheila is offline
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my top two tips are to stretch and use a foam roller, yamuna ball or other self-massage/release tool

sheila
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:04 PM
Jerry Hsieh Jerry Hsieh is offline
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Which muscles are you finding to be tight?
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:50 PM
adivee adivee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Hsieh View Post
Which muscles are you finding to be tight?
All the muscles.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 01:17 PM
Dev Chengkalath Dev Chengkalath is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adivee View Post
Everytime I see a massage / chiro /MAT / ART guy , they always say "oh you muscles are so tight". Why do they get tight? The ART guy has loosened up my leg muscles yesterday and I am pretty sure they get super tight by my next visit.

what can I do to keep them always hydrated and loose? Thx
There are many reasons that muscles get tight or, more often than not, "feel" tight. Here is a very basic, broad over-view where I'll try to touch on the major points without the minutia.

While getting and feeling tight may seem to be the same thing, they aren't.

Getting tight (a better term would be to describe the muscle as short-referring to a loss of length) is usually a long term adaptation to specific stresses that occur over time.

Adaptive shortening is essentially a shrinking in the muscle via a loss of sarcomeres (the base units of muscle) in series.

Think of this as lining up dominoes end to end. If you line 10 of them up, you have a certain distance that they cover. If you removed two of them, you'd have a shorter distance. This is essentially what happens to those muscle sarcomere over time if the stress on the body system tend to favour the shorter length (e.g. sitting for extended periods of time favours a shortened hip flexor position; conversely slouching for long periods of time favours the stretching of various muscle tissues in the back which leads to adaptive lengthening).

The other form of tightness is relative stiffness, or "feeling" tight.

In my experience, this is either a neurogenic process (where the nervous systems gives the signal to the body that the muscles/tissues "feel" tight (without actually having lost any length in sarcomeres) and toned or when the body has structurally changed the muscle tissues themselves to resist passive movement (relative stiffness).

An example of relative stiffness would be the the highly developed biceps of a bodybuilder.

With high levels of hypertrophy, sarcomeres are laid down in parallel (instead of laying the dominoes end to end, think of laying them side by side- thicker rather than longer) and higher levels of a stiffening protein called "titin" are also present.

This bodybuilder would walk around with his or her arm slightly bent because of the internal tension created in the biceps (I'm sure we've all seen someone at the gym like that!).

If someone were to try to straighten that arm out passively, they would find that it would require quite a bit of force as the muscle would seem to resist. However, if that bodybuilder decided to straighten the arm out, it would extend fully with no significant issues.

That's relative stiffness (essentially an internal resistance created within the muscle tissue itself).

Hopefully I haven't fully confused you with my rambling background info. I just find that it is important to actually figure out your type of "tightness" first.

Here's where I'll actually try to answer your question!

To stay loose, first you need to figure out what type of "tightness" you are experiencing: is it because of short muscles (loss of length), neurogenic tone or structural relative stiffness?

Once you figure that out, then you can choose the appropriate treatment/training modality be it stretching, de-training/de-loading, foam rolling, soft tissue work, postural work etc.

Hope that helps.

Regards,
Dev
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Old September 20th, 2009, 02:31 PM
adivee adivee is offline
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Dev,

Thanks a lot for great information.

From your explanation, I think I am suffering with short muscle stiffness (loss of length).

I sit (in indian style : http://images.inmagine.com/img/photo...a136000038.jpg) before a laptop on foam bed for extended hours and also I slouch because I cant sit straight without slouching as it hurts my low back.

May be this is causing my leg muscles so tight and also lower back muscles tight.

how can I prevent this kind of tightness? Thx
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Old September 20th, 2009, 03:46 PM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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Adivee, hard to get used too, but very good for you if you can do it without issue. Put your laptop on the counter, stand when you work. When you get tired/uncomfortable, step away, do some stretching, or anything to get you moving.

Bill Hartman wrote a bit about this, I've tried it and love it. It took some getting used to, but we really are made for standing, squatting and lying down. The sitting isn't a good place to be for long, especially the way you do on your bed. I bet you sleep on the left side of the bed (left when laying on your back), and I bet you lean to the right, as you work, for either reading, or what ever, from time to time?

1 hour of exercise isn't enough to counter the other 23 hours!
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Old September 20th, 2009, 04:16 PM
adivee adivee is offline
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Roland,

while working in the day time, if I feel uncomfortable sitting on bed, I will lie down like this ( http://mtblog.self.com/fitness/blogs...s/IMG_3050.JPG) on my hand on left side most of the time and use my right hand to work on my laptop (I am right handed).


while sleeping, my wife just tole me that sleep equally on both sides.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 06:25 PM
Roland Fisher Roland Fisher is offline
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Yes sir, laying and working like that for more than even 15-20 minutes will cause your joints to 'prefer' that position, which would contribute to your current alignment issues for sure. If not contribute, may even be the cause.

After time in a position, a joint will adapt to lengthen and/or shorten muscles, and even tendons and ligaments to a degree, to make that position more the norm.
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