Baltic Dog, I have an older version of "Stretching Scientifically" as well as the VHS. That along with a few other sources ("Synerstretch" from Health for Life, "Stretching" by Bob Anderson) combined with my own experimentation has led to what I do now. But I'm always open to try new ideas.
Very good info here and fits well with my own research and experience. My super simplified approach to stretching is similar to what stilljames posted.
Before a workout is the time to warm up muscles, joints and connective tissues by 1) easy cardio to raise heartrate (walking, knee bends, knee lifts, light jogging) 2)Joint rotations (more and more important as I get older) 3) Dynamic stretching (some easy leg and arm swings)
After the workout is when I do static stretching. I use this as a way to cool down and a chance to relax and review in my mind the things I did in the work out. I stretch the target area to where I start to feel a nice stretch but well before the point it gets painful. Breathing deeply I relax into a deeper stretch but never to the point of pain and always aware of keeping the muscles other than the target muscles relaxed (particularly when stretching the hamstrings it's easy to tighten up your quads). Sort of yoga like though I don't know much about yoga. This type of stretching does cause a certain amount of muscle weakness afterwords which is why I do it post workout.
I've been wanting to try on a pair the Vibram 5 fingers but I haven't found anybody that carries my size (48). I went to REI today and was able to try on a pair of 47's. Though they were a little small I was at least able to get a feel for them. They're weird feeling but I'm sure it's the kind of weird you get used to. I walked on they're little simulated rocky outcropping and I liked how they made you feel connected to the surface. I still wonder how my plantar fasciitis would be affected. But I'm close to pulling the trigger on a pair.
I'll resurrect this thread and introduce myself. My name is Mike Melone. I live in El Segundo, CA. I've been training FMA off and on for about 10 years. Started out in Manaois Eskrima with GM Conrad Manaois. Spent some time in Floro Fighting Systems with Marc Scott. Currently a DBMA student with Guro Crafty. I've also done some boxing, western fencing and a little MMA.