The right way to stretch?
- 04-15-2004, 01:54 PM
The right way to stretch?
After reading the 'Cycles on Pennies' thread on this board, Im really interested in learning how to stretch the right way. Ive always tried to get deep stretches every workout, but obviously I wasnt doing enough because I injured myself a few months back.
I dont want it to happen again - what's the best way to stretch (for each muscle group) to prevent injury and increase gains? Anyone know of a book or a site that has pics,etc? I know my calves really took off after I started doing deep stretches inbetween sets...
- 04-15-2004, 03:24 PM
Some food for thought:
CDC research finds no evidence stretching prevents injuries
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretching does not live up to its reputation as an injury preventer, a survey has found.
"We could not find a benefit," said Stephen B. Thacker, director of the epidemiology program office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Athletes who stretch might feel more limber, but they shouldn't count on stretching to keep them healthy, he said.
Thacker and four CDC colleagues combed research databases for studies that had compared stretching with other ways to prevent training injuries. They combined data from five studies so they could look more closely for any benefits that might emerge as a pattern. Their report is in the March issue of the American College of Sports Medicine journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
People who stretched were no more or less likely to suffer injuries such as pulled muscles, which the increased flexibility that results from stretching is supposed to prevent, researchers found. And the injuries found in the study typically happened within the muscle's normal range of motion, so stretching them would not have made a difference, Thacker said.
Other research has found that warmups, which increase blood flow through the muscle and make it more ready to respond to exercise, can reduce the risk of injury, Thacker said. Being in good shape also helps. Strength and balance training reduced injuries as well, he said.
People such as gymnasts and dancers might be exceptions, because their activities require great flexibility, so stretching might improve their performance, Thacker said.
In case future research does find a benefit, Thacker has no problem with athletes continuing to do gentle stretching. That's not the case with stretches that include sudden fast movements, called "ballistic stretches," which have been found in other studies to raise injury risks.
The study's findings make sense, said Mike Bracko, director of the Institute for Hockey Research in Calgary, Alberta. "We have done some work with hockey players showing flexibility is not an important variable," he said.
A strain typically happens when a muscle has to react suddenly to control an athlete's movement, Bracko said. An example would be a tear in a muscle in the back of a sprinter's leg as it contracts to keep the muscles in the front of the leg from moving the knee too far forward, he said.
Two other researchers said, however, that there may still be value in the stretches that coaches require, and athletes do.
Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, said her experience in treating people with injuries tells her that those who don't stretch may find they can't move their arms and legs as far as they used to, and this could set them up for injury.
"Unfortunately, a lot of us don't have a normal range of motion," Millar said.
Stephen Rice, director of the sports medicine center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, said he values the experience of trainers and athletes.
Flexibility is an element of fitness, and stretching ought to make a person more flexible, Rice said. "I would say the conventional wisdom has a certain amount of wisdom to it," he added.
- 04-15-2004, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the informative reply, Jweave. Maybe it wasnt the lack of stretching, but too much weight at the end of my range of motion that did it (heavy dips/DB pull overs and I damaged a tendon and/or rib in my chest). Stretching was essential to getting it healed up, however.
04-16-2004, 12:46 AM
I learned in an ES class in college stretching before warming up doubles your incidence of injury. I always warm up with very light weight to get some blood volume and warmth to the targeted area. After achieving this, I would stretch. If you want a permanent stretch in your muscle, hold your stretch for at least a minute. If you desire a permanent stretch in connective tissue, hold your pose for at least 90 seconds. Following these guidelines prevented injuries in me for 2+ years.
04-16-2004, 12:53 AM
That's what Im looking for...I always do 5-10 minutes of mid-intensity cardio as soon as I get to the gym, then I warm up, then I stretch. I always get better pumps when I get the heart moving first - I think it would also help prevent injuries caused by hypoxia that take years to develop (like shoulder impingement).If you desire a permanent stretch in connective tissue, hold your pose for at least 90 seconds. Following these guidelines prevented injuries in me for 2+ years.
I always warmed up - but now that Ive had to overcome a really pain-in-the-ass injury I look foward to my pre-workout warm up/stretching routine as much as I do heaving the actual weights.
04-16-2004, 12:45 PM
You might want to check out the whole thread over at animalkits on DC's training. The stretches he promotes are not so much for injury prevention as they are for hypertrophy- and he suggests a 60 sec. weighted stretch after working a muscle group and the muscle's pumped. I haven't done them personally, but everyone who has written about their experience has said it is ... quite an experience
04-16-2004, 01:31 PM
I applied some of DC's training techniques on leg day yesterday. I havent felt pain like that in a long time - it was awesome.
04-16-2004, 01:35 PM
When doing a warmup set of bicep curls. Does the weight not stretch the muscle?
When doing warm up squats, ass to the grass. Does this not stretch the muscles.
When i do overhead triceps, i stretch my tri to the limits.
When i do bench press, i warm up with a lighter weight and i stretch my chest at the bottom of the movement.
Hamstrings get stretched with every variation.
When you lift you are essentially pulling on the muscle/connective tissue and stretching it out. As long as you do warm up sets you will be fine.
I have never been able to stretch an injury away. I have pulled on my injuries and tried, but the injuries remain unless i get proper rest and/or medical attention.
just my own opinion. Please flame at will!
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