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Janet Rosen
09-02-2010, 12:11 AM
Here is yet another study (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/phys-ed-does-stretching-before-running-prevent-injuries/?ref=health) that hammers a nail in the coffin in which this nurse would like to see pre-training static stretching buried forever....
Quoting Gretchen Reynolds, a really good health/sci writer for the NY TImes: "Stretching is, of course, a contentious issue in sports. The bulk of the available science strongly suggests that static stretching before a workout not only does not prevent overuse injuries but also may actually hinder athletic performance. “There is a very important neurological effect of stretching,” said Ross Tucker, a physiologist in South Africa and co-author of the Web site The Science of Sport (http://www.sportsscientists.com/). “There is a reflex that prevents the muscle from being stretched too much,” which is activated by static stretching, inducing the muscle to become, in effect, tighter in self-protection. Past studies have found that athletes’ vertical jump is lower after a bout of static stretching than with no stretching at all. They can’t generate as much power. Meanwhile, other studies have found, like the new track and field association report, that static stretching seems to have little benefit in terms of injury prevention, particularly against the overuse injuries common in running."
This study involved almost 1400 runners, from teenagers to folks over 60.

dps
09-02-2010, 01:50 AM
Do you recommend warming up before an activity and stretching after and what exercises would you consider warm ups as compared to stretching?

David

Janet Rosen
09-02-2010, 10:35 AM
A warm up is just that: activity that prepares the body by warming the muscles, slightly elevating the heart rate, and takes the major muscle groups through their full range of motion.

Range of motion is literally what it says: moving a joint or group of joints through its normal movements. The individual in movement may take the motion to a degree that a dynamic stretch occurs, or may just "get things moving."The confusion I see in the aikido world in "traditional" warmups is because often an instructor will show/do upper torso or neck range of motion and call it "stretching" and the next moment show/do static stretching..

Most research, which tends to be done in Univ. or pro settings under guidance of team coaches, since that's where the $ is, supports taking the body through the range of motion that is specific to the sport - which is what we do when we do aiki taiso and rolling/falling practice before doing partner techiques.

If I had my druthers, I'd start with just some gross muscle movement and range of motion (turning the neck through each direction of its normal range of motion, then the shoulders, etc - parts of which are done in many dojo), then go on to very gentle rolling and then aiki taiso. Stretching afterwards optional for those who want it - I personally don't find a need for it right away and prefer to stretch later, at home. Again, just my preference, YMMV.

maynard
09-02-2010, 12:11 PM
Pardon my ignorance and target lock as I zero in on one detail.

"Stretching is, of course, a contentious issue in sports. The bulk of the available science strongly suggests that static stretching before a workout not only does not prevent overuse injuries but also may actually hinder athletic performance.


How many sports injuries are actually overuse injuries? Do we include the affects of fatigue and it's affect on skill/coordination? Is the stated goal of pre-exercise stretching really to prevent overuse injuries or to increase range of motion a little bit before a traumatic impact? Something else?

"There is a reflex that prevents the muscle from being stretched too much," which is activated by static stretching, inducing the muscle to become, in effect, tighter in self-protection. Past studies have found that athletes' vertical jump is lower after a bout of static stretching than with no stretching at all. They can't generate as much power.

That bit is interesting though.

What I can't seem to get my mind around is how to increase range of motion without static stretching. I usually feel too cooled down by the time I get home. I tend to do a little of both, light rolling and strecthing before class.

I was going to try and reiterate what I thought Janet's position/approach to stretching is, but as I typed it I realized, I don't think I know.

Always trying to find a better way. I should probably take some time and parse the forums for Janet's previous posts, but I don't have the time at the moment, perhaps later this weekend.

John

grondahl
09-02-2010, 12:29 PM
Static stretching is ok after practice. But I´m not sure that static stretching is effective in increasing practical rom either as opposed to mobility drills and dynamic stretcing.


What I can't seem to get my mind around is how to increase range of motion without static stretching. I usually feel too cooled down by the time I get home. I tend to do a little of both, light rolling and strecthing before class.

Janet Rosen
09-02-2010, 02:58 PM
You increase ROM by doing ROM.

WilliB
09-02-2010, 06:50 PM
That is surprising. In all sports that I know, stretching before exercise is the rule.
Are they all wrong?

mathewjgano
09-02-2010, 09:05 PM
Pretty much, as I "understand" it, anyway. This was a point that was brought up in Born to Run, and I remember hearing this piece of advice somewhere during my years of soccer playing. Most of the guys I play with now played on premier teams and they're very sure to get a warm-up run in before doing any stretches.

Janet Rosen
09-02-2010, 10:54 PM
Traditional "rules" tend to be based on the best prior knowledge, and don't keep up. Sometimes its magical thinking - for instance, a digression to healthcare:

it makes absolute sense to do proper skin prep before doing invasive techniques, but research has shown that swiping the skin with an alcohol pad before doing a fingerstick blood sugar has no infection control afffect (you are better off with warm water, soap and scrubbing) AND if the alcohol isn't allowed to dry (as in, a fair amount of the time when folks are rushing), it will throw off the blood test results. But try to convince professionals or paraprofessionals about to do a fingerstick on you and see what happens....

Same thing with stretching. If you read the article they specifically address the issue to belief systems and their power.

Carsten Möllering
09-03-2010, 02:36 AM
Some years ago the opinions - and the knowledge - about stretching changed drastically here.
Preparing exercises are more about "waking up the body" and warming up the body since then.

You can read this also in new books about aikido by now.

But, indeed, there are a lot of elder coaches or teachers who learned and believed in other knowledge or opinions for years.
And it's not easy to forget a truth which leaded youf and which you trusted in.
And again their students do trust those coaches and teachers.
So a change will take time. (Like always ...)

Interesting enough:
There isn't much stretching in the classical aiki taiso I know.
The stretching parts mostly origniate in modern sports.

Carsten

Jon Haas
09-03-2010, 07:04 AM
Hi Guys,

Muscles do not need to be stretched to grow more flexible. Flexibility is a measure of range of motion in one specific direction. This does nothing for us in real life, it's just a measure. Mobility is movement into the extreme range of motion of each joint through voluntary muscle control.

Static stretching pushes the mucle beyond what it's able to do because you're forcing it to lengthen until it changes shape and stays longer. This comprimises the elasticity our muscles have, and need, in order to protect themselves.

In order to increase our range of motion, it's better to focus on regulating the tension in our muscles through mobility, breathing, and reciprocol inhibition where flexation of one muscle causes the release of its twin, as in yoga asana. Not by deforming our tissues causing micro-trauma which may catch up to us later in life.

Not saying anyone has to adopt this approach, but I do think it's healthier and more benefiical in the long run. :)

Hope that helps,

Jon
www.warriorfitness.org

dps
09-03-2010, 07:28 AM
It is not only the muscle that is affected by stretching but also the connective tissue surrounding the muscle.

from;
http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/stretching-muscles.php

"What is the fascia?
Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body.

But your fascia may also be holding back your muscle growth. Think for a moment about your muscles. You train them and feed them properly. They want to grow and will grow but something is holding them back. They have no room to grow!

Because fascia is so tough, it doesn't allow the muscle room to expand. It is like stuffing a large pillow into a small pillowcase. The size of the muscle won't change regardless of how hard you train or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your muscles is constricting the muscles within.

The best example of this is the calf muscle. The lower leg is riddled with fascia because of its tremendous weight-bearing duties in the body. It is because of this fascia that many trainers have great difficulty developing their calves.

The solution: Stretching
Using the pillowcase example from above, imagine you can expand the size of the pillowcase by stretching it. Suddenly, the pillow within has more room and will expand to fill that new space.

By stretching your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia and give your muscles more room to grow.

The key to effective facial stretching is the pump. The best time to stretch to expand the bags that are holding in your muscles is when your muscles are pumped up full of blood.

When your muscles are fully pumped up, they are pressing against the fascia. By stretching hard at that time, you increase that pressure on the fascia greatly, which can lead to expansion of the fascia.

"One of the major reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger had such incredible chest development was that he finished his chest workouts with dumbbell flyes, an exercise that emphasizes the stretched position of the pectoral muscles. He would pump his chest up full of blood during the workout then do flyes, holding the stretch at the bottom of the flye. This gave his chest room to grow to amazing proportions.

Learn more about The Stretching Handbook and DVDStretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance and getting rid of those annoying sports injuries. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective."

(snip)

"Hold each stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds as you must give your fascia time to be affected by the stretch. Stretch hard like this only when you have a fully pumped muscle as you must give your fascia a reason to expand. If your muscles aren't pumped, just stretch normally."

David

bkedelen
09-03-2010, 05:41 PM
The bizarre thing about stretching is the "more is better" attitude that comes with being flexible. For the purposes of sports performance and injury prevention, the current understanding is that an athlete should maintain the range of motion required to perform their activity, plus a little to help in unforeseen circumstances. In addition, flexibility and range of motion in areas where large muscle groups oppose one another needs to be adjusted in a way that maintains a balance between the various factors. It has now been repeatedly demonstrated that maintaining flexibility in excess of the amounts needed to maintain balance and deliver the range of motion necessary for your activity will severely detract from the contractile potential of your musculature, leaving you less adaptable to unknownable and potentially injurious situations.