Stretching

oldirtdog

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 6, 2011
195
4
37
Georgia
I work out consistently ~4 days a week yet I am a bit of a slacker when it comes to stretching. I basically will do a few minutes of light stretches before and sometimes after working out.

Can anyone chime in on the importance/benefit of stretching as well as the optimal time to stretch? Do you stretch before or after working out? Am I limiting myself by not stretching like I should?

Also, any insight into particular stretches or routines would be appreciated.

Thomas
 

anthony_se

Private
Minuteman
Feb 8, 2011
0
0
83
Wyndmoor, PA
Re: Stretching

as you might suspect you'll get a wide range of opinions on stretching (sic). Technically what one is doing is "resetting the ROM, or range of motion," so as to offset any restrictions in ROM occasioned by chronic overuse. Unless there is very recent data, I'm unaware of any exercise benefit accruing to "stretching" or ROM resetting. While anecdotal only, the only injury I ever suffered in the 20 some odd marathons and 8 some odd ultra-marathons I completed or attempted, the only injury I ever suffered occurred when I let a young female gymnast "stretch" my hamstrings :D; blew out my left hamstring at about mile 15 of 22 mile run in the middle of nowhere. Lesson? If you are going to "stretch" do it on already activated joint systems, NOT as a means of warming them up. YMMV. HTH
 

Mo_Zam_Beek

Private
Minuteman
Jan 21, 2002
0
4
OR_GUN
Re: Stretching

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: copdoc</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Unless there is very recent data, I'm unaware of any exercise benefit accruing to "stretching" or ROM resetting. </div></div>

Maybe I am not tracking with you but...


As we gain muscle mass we often loose ROM. If we are sedentary, we loose ROM. Not everyone is born with the same ROM - yet it can be increased by stretching. Muscle tissue that is conditioned to being stretched is less likely to tear. Stretching relaxes muscle tissue and helps it stay in a relaxed state while at rest, which IIRC allow for increased capacity over time = increased growth or stamina.

As an anecdotal - and back on the accrued benefits - I have had mild IT band issues which cause knee pain. 9 months of stretching and foam rolling has made a significant difference.

I tend to stretch 1x - 2x per day for my lower body, back and shoulders. Focus is on glutes, hip flexors, hams, quads, Achilles, delts. Sessions are @ 20 - 30 minutes.

When consistent about it, *I* have found it has made a profound difference in my both my athletic pursuits and reduced pain.




Good luck





 

brutus1776

Full Member
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 12, 2007
871
0
backcountry, TN line
Re: Stretching

i start every work out with foam rolling/mobility drills.
changed recovery time for the better. i highly recommend doing this before every work out.

check out defranco's agile 8 on youtube among other drills
 

Mo_Zam_Beek

Private
Minuteman
Jan 21, 2002
0
4
OR_GUN
Re: Stretching

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: copdoc</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Perhaps useful links:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/stretchi...nal-warm-up-131

http://www.coolrunning.com.au/general/2000e023.shtml

</div></div>


The two articles question stretching <span style="font-style: italic">as a warm up</span>. Elongating muscle tissue and increasing flexibility in general was how I interpreted the OP's question - stretching for the sake of stretching - not as a primary form of warming up.

Good luck
 

skinney_7

Hammer down.
Commercial Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2008
1,715
553
41
SD
www.oneillops.com
Re: Stretching

stretching is very beneficial, i do it along with plyos/ladder drills specifically for speed, think of it this way, lengthen your hammy's and your hip flexors by stretching, quicken your feet by plyo/ladder/dot drills, the quicker you can stride, and the longer strides you can get (via stretching) the faster you are going to be...
 

powderBurnz

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Nov 30, 2005
775
14
Florida
Re: Stretching

Funny I just 'ran' into this the other day. I have always stretched before any workout. Sports through highschool and college, have always been taught so. So I have a regimen of stretching engrained in my head. Then a few weeks ago I woke up the morning after doing a short night run (approx 3 miles), where I stretched before and aft, and my hip and knee were throbbing. So bad that I hobbled around for the next week.

That week I was talking with some friends who routinely run and bike in marathons/triathalons, etc., and they told me I should never stretch. The doctor my wife works with said the same thing.

Is this something new? WTF?

Needless to say I have not been stretching for the last couple weeks and I am good to go.
 

Dylan in AZ

Shooting Addict
Full Member
Minuteman
Dec 24, 2010
1,218
3
Arizona
Re: Stretching

I bet this is another one of those things that varies from person to person... Some say do it, some say don't. Whatever, for me, stretching is something I do because I have always been taught to do it and it has always led to better times (running/biking specifically) and higher maxes than when I deliberately chose not to stretch. Days that I don't stretch, I end up either cramping up or pulling muscles. And for the most part when I do stretch, I don't have those issues. I have friends who choose not to strech and do just fine without it. But I personally feel that if you take two equally athletic people, one flexible and the other not so much, the flexible person has the advantage. But that's just my feelings on the issue. I like being able to put my palms on the floor without bending my knees. And I really like being able to scratch my own back. But whatever, to each his own.
 

oldirtdog

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 6, 2011
195
4
37
Georgia
Re: Stretching

Like several have said, i'm sure opinions and methodology vary from person to person and there really is no definitive right or wrong answer, just personal preference/experience.

I checked out the links and it seems that results are a bit inconclusive in regards to warm-up stretching vs. no warm-up stretching. If anything, it seems injuries we slightly less frequent with people who did not warm-up stretch, but only marginally. Also, I understand it's difficult to control all the variables in a study such as this.

That being said, since i'm not stretching diligently now, i'll try to slowly work in some more substantial stretching and see how my results vary. Something like the defranco's agile 8 is straightforward and something I could manage. It didn't seem too extreme or anything that would stress my body too much. I think the key for me is to introduce things slowly as the last thing I want is a set back due to an injury.

Thanks all, the insight and opinions are appreciated.
 

c_bass16

Major Hide Member
Full Member
Minuteman
  • Mar 15, 2009
    1,769
    117
    SD
    Re: Stretching

    Just from my personal experience...I've NEVER gotten hurt after stretching properly...but I've pulled quads, ham strings and groins trying to go without it.

    I don't think mild exercise like marathons or bike riding...that require more endurance than explosion have the same need for loose muscles as explosive workouts.
    That's partially why when we were in college track, we would do a 2-3 mile warm up BEFORE stretching....then stretch for 20-30 minutes...and then do our power work. Speed, explosion, plyo, iso, etc etc.

    I can get off the couch and jog 2 miles...but if you get off the couch and try to competitively sprint 200 yds...you're just putting your body at risk.
    Different exercise requires different preparation.
     

    Nocalphoenix

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 19, 2008
    1,015
    3
    Montana
    Re: Stretching

    Being in the middle of school right now I can tell you that stretching as a warm up has been gone for quite a while. Stretching cold seems to be a recipe for injury. The latest research in exercise physiology and performance indicate stretching can lead to earlier fatigue. The concept is predicated by tighter muscles giving a faster return to rest with regard to the length of the sacomeres. Basicly the tightness is used as a rubber band to snap the muscle back to postition vs using muscle energy to put it there. Simply stated a tight quad will "snap" the leg back forward from the hamstring contraction faster and with less needed energy than a loose quad.

    Sorry I have been studing for an exercise physiology test for the last 14hours and my attempt at posting might be clearer when I actually sleep.
     

    Va_Gentleman

    Cook
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Re: Stretching

    I have heard stretch after lately. I can tell that when I am tighter, I perform better with less "effort"... as I loosen up, I spend more energy keeping the muscles "quick".

    The best thing, if you can afford it, is a 40min reflexology massage after workouts.. so we just improvise and my wife just handcuffs me to the deck and ties my feet to the car and puts it in Drive.

    She seems to enjoy stretching afterwards too.
     

    Olivers_AR

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 19, 2011
    77
    0
    62
    Dulles, VA
    Re: Stretching

    Both, warm up before you start and lesson the chance of pulling/straining something. Stretch afterwards to relax the muscles.
     

    JJones75

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 18, 2008
    1,912
    2
    45
    southern , LA
    Re: Stretching

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Mo_Zam_Beek</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: copdoc</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> </div></div>
    As we gain muscle mass we often loose ROM. If we are sedentary, we loose ROM. Not everyone is born with the same ROM - yet it can be increased by stretching. Muscle tissue that is conditioned to being stretched is less likely to tear. Stretching relaxes muscle tissue and helps it stay in a relaxed state while at rest, which IIRC allow for increased capacity over time = increased growth or stamina.
    </div></div>

    Gaining muscle mass will only reduce range of motion if you do not maintain a stretching routine. (muscles get tight and stay tight)
    My current lifting style incorperates extreme stretching at the end of each weigth routine , the idea is to expand mot only the muscle but the facia around it with increases bloodflow and allows the muscle to expand better next time.
    This has also helped in explosive power

    It is very important to NOT stretch a cold or tight muscle
     

    oldirtdog

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 6, 2011
    195
    4
    37
    Georgia
    Re: Stretching

    From what I'm finding more and more information on while researching online, and what others seem to be reinforcing here, is to stretch after my workout. This seems logical to me and a reasonable approach.

    Now, that being said, how many of you do a few minutes of cardio before lifting? Is there a benefit to warming up this way?
     

    19818119

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 20, 2008
    593
    0
    Re: Stretching


    Stretching pre activity = less than useless
    Stretching post activity = beneficial in terms of performance & injury prevention.
     

    JJones75

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 18, 2008
    1,912
    2
    45
    southern , LA
    Re: Stretching

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: oldirtdog</div><div class="ubbcode-body">From what I'm finding more and more information on while researching online, and what others seem to be reinforcing here, is to stretch after my workout. This seems logical to me and a reasonable approach.

    Now, that being said, how many of you do a few minutes of cardio before lifting? Is there a benefit to warming up this way? </div></div>

    What ever exercise I'm doing that the exact same range of motion and movement I use to warm up , working legs , do a few sets 15-30 reps of body squats , chest same exercise you plan to do just about 25% of the weight your gonna use , use a nice slow controlled speed , feel a little stretch at the bottom and a good squeez at the top