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Zoe S Toth
03-27-2012, 03:03 PM
Hello all!

I've never met a teacher in any physical activity (ranging from zumba to soccer to martial arts) who thinks you can skip streching. YET everyone has vastly different ideas about streching which is understandable. Afterall, soccer uses different muscles than Aikido so why strech the same.

To my understanding, ballistic streching is not very efficent and many suggest it is down right harmful. Yet that is what our main sensei does here. (Personally, I have to admit I deviate and try to hold the streches to make them static. He's never said a word to me, although I try to be as nondisruptive as I can.) We also have a yudasha who is a certified chiroprator and has flat out said ballastic streching is bad for you.

All of our black belts have their own verisions of warm ups that draw from their life experience. One who boxed, for example, has us do 'on our feet' warm ups before sitting down and breathing. The chiroprator has us do static streches.

This makes me curious about other dojo's warm up. What do you guys do? Also, if you can't do what the sensei is doing (for medical/ safety reasons) do you deviate or try to stick it out?

Thanks!

Chris Li
03-27-2012, 03:11 PM
Hello all!

I've never met a teacher in any physical activity (ranging from zumba to soccer to martial arts) who thinks you can skip streching. YET everyone has vastly different ideas about streching which is understandable. Afterall, soccer uses different muscles than Aikido so why strech the same.

To my understanding, ballistic streching is not very efficent and many suggest it is down right harmful. Yet that is what our main sensei does here. (Personally, I have to admit I deviate and try to hold the streches to make them static. He's never said a word to me, although I try to be as nondisruptive as I can.) We also have a yudasha who is a certified chiroprator and has flat out said ballastic streching is bad for you.

All of our black belts have their own verisions of warm ups that draw from their life experience. One who boxed, for example, has us do 'on our feet' warm ups before sitting down and breathing. The chiroprator has us do static streches.

This makes me curious about other dojo's warm up. What do you guys do? Also, if you can't do what the sensei is doing (for medical/ safety reasons) do you deviate or try to stick it out?

Thanks!

Try this one for a slightly different outlook: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php

Best,

Chris

grondahl
03-27-2012, 03:14 PM
Its important to separate ballistic and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching, that is controlled, non static stretching (ex lunges, squats, wall slides etc) is superior to static stretching in warm-ups. Static stretching before training actually makes you weaker and increase the risk of injury.

Stumbled upon this study today: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22446678


ABSTRACT: Aguilar, AJ, DiStefano, LJ, Brown, CN, Herman, DC, Guskiewicz, KM, and Padua, DA. A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 1130-1141, 2012-Research suggests that static stretching can negatively influence muscle strength and power and may result in decreased functional performance. The dynamic warm-up (DWU) is a common alternative to static stretching before physical activity, but there is limited research investigating the effects of a DWU. The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of a DWU and static stretching warm-up (SWU) on muscle flexibility, strength, and vertical jump using a randomized controlled trial design. Forty-five volunteers were randomly assigned into a control (CON), SWU, or DWU group. All participants rode a stationary bicycle for 5 minutes and completed a 10-minute warm-up protocol. During this protocol, the DWU group performed dynamic stretching and running, the SWU group performed static stretching, and the CON group rested. Dependent variables were measured immediately before and after the warm-up protocol. A digital inclinometer measured flexibility (degrees) for the hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexor muscles. An isokinetic dynamometer measured concentric and eccentric peak torque (Nm/kg) for the hamstrings and quadriceps. A force plate was used to measure vertical jump height (meters) and power (watts). In the DWU group, there was a significant increase in hamstring flexibility (pretest: 26.4 13.5, posttest: 16.9 9.4; p < .0001) and eccentric quadriceps peak torque (pretest: 2.49 0.83 Nm/kg, posttest: 2.78 0.69 Nm/kg; p = 0.04). The CON and SWU did not significantly affect any flexibility, strength, or vertical jump measures (p > 0.05). The DWU significantly improved eccentric quadriceps strength and hamstrings flexibility, whereas the SWU did not facilitate any positive or negative changes in muscle flexibility, strength, power, or vertical jump. Therefore, the DWU may be a better preactivity warm-up choice than an SWU.

phitruong
03-27-2012, 04:17 PM
i used a number of elements from this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=PL58A234CDDA09A4CC&v=Bd8J3nTMOWk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL83CE5CF13ACBEFE8&v=6pwe5zvQ1oY&feature=player_detailpage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL83CE5CF13ACBEFE8&feature=player_detailpage&v=kuzpnJcLu0w

Jon Haas
03-27-2012, 05:01 PM
Hi Zoe,

Here's a different opinion: To Stretch or Not to Stretch (http://warriorfitness.org/2012/02/22/to-stretch-or-not-to-stretch/)

Hope this helps!

gregstec
03-27-2012, 05:35 PM
Hi Zoe,

Here's a different opinion: To Stretch or Not to Stretch (http://warriorfitness.org/2012/02/22/to-stretch-or-not-to-stretch/)

Hope this helps!

Nice approach Jon - gave me some different insights to think about.

Thanks

Greg

Janet Rosen
03-27-2012, 05:55 PM
All current research I"m aware of says there is no benefit to static stretching before exercise and there may be risk of microtears if stretching cold muscles.
Most aikido dojos seem to do a hodgepodge of range of motion, static stretching and dynamic stretching as their "warmups." I believe that good range of motion is all that is really needed. Nobody listens to me :-)

Janet Rosen
03-27-2012, 05:57 PM
I add that range of motion can and should focus on movements specific to the activity to be done. For this reason I think a little general range of motion + the "ki exercises" (udefuri waza, etc) + some low key rolling are in themselves plenty of "warm up" for aikido.

Malicat
03-27-2012, 06:38 PM
All current research I"m aware of says there is no benefit to static stretching before exercise and there may be risk of microtears if stretching cold muscles.
Most aikido dojos seem to do a hodgepodge of range of motion, static stretching and dynamic stretching as their "warmups." I believe that good range of motion is all that is really needed. Nobody listens to me :-)

"I don't believe in it. You ever seen a lion limber up before taking down a gazelle?"

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

--Ashley

kewms
03-27-2012, 07:55 PM
"I don't believe in it. You ever seen a lion limber up before taking down a gazelle?"

Actually, my cats do pause for stretching during play sessions. They also stretch throughout the day, as they move from one nap spot to another.

Katherine

kewms
03-27-2012, 07:57 PM
All current research I"m aware of says there is no benefit to static stretching before exercise and there may be risk of microtears if stretching cold muscles.
Most aikido dojos seem to do a hodgepodge of range of motion, static stretching and dynamic stretching as their "warmups." I believe that good range of motion is all that is really needed. Nobody listens to me :-)

I do! :-)

For my classes, I mostly do range of motion stuff.

Katherine

Keith Larman
03-27-2012, 10:29 PM
Hey, Janet, I listen. No static stretches, just gentle movements at first working in to the aiki taiso ending with rolling. Then to rest! The movement is to "check in on your body" to see what's tight, what needs more movement, what hurts, etc. Get it moving!

Janet Rosen
03-27-2012, 10:45 PM
Hey, Janet, I listen. No static stretches, just gentle movements at first working in to the aiki taiso ending with rolling. Then to rest! The movement is to "check in on your body" to see what's tight, what needs more movement, what hurts, etc. Get it moving!

That's exactly what I do on my Tuesday night class. Including giving folks about a couple of minutes of freestyle time to move about the mat and work on whatever they find needs it.

Carl Thompson
03-28-2012, 03:45 AM
All current research I"m aware of says there is no benefit to static stretching before exercise and there may be risk of microtears if stretching cold muscles.
Most aikido dojos seem to do a hodgepodge of range of motion, static stretching and dynamic stretching as their "warmups." I believe that good range of motion is all that is really needed. Nobody listens to me :-)

Hello Janet

I'm sure your research is well-founded for sports and activities that emphasis the use of regular muscle-power. I wonder why one would want to warm up conventional muscles for use in aikido anyway.

As I understand it, a lot of aikido stretching comes from the makko-ho (http://www.makkoho.or.jp/shiru/about3.html) and nishishiki undo (http://www.nishikai.net/english/6dai.html). Then there's chinkon no gyo and other solo exercises.

The way I see it, they are part of the conditioning rather than working on external muscles to prepare them for use in training. In my experience,even push-ups tend to be adapted for conditioning wrists, knuckles and so on with conventional fitness being a useful byproduct.

Regards

Carl

Jon Haas
03-28-2012, 05:39 AM
Nice approach Jon - gave me some different insights to think about.

Thanks

Greg

Thanks Greg!

chillzATL
03-28-2012, 06:38 AM
We have a set of stretches that are always done before taiso. I usually do other things to warm up before class and then use the stretches to stretch my body more than just my muscles. I agree with what Carl said in a lot of ways.

phitruong
03-28-2012, 07:02 AM
Nobody listens to me :-)

what? what? did you say something? :D

lbb
03-28-2012, 09:01 AM
As with nearly everything, the discussion tends to founder if you don't start off by defining your terms and stating your goal. What do you mean by "stretching" -- people use the term to mean vastly different things, ranging from a warm-up to exercises designed to increase flexibility -- and why do you think you should be doing it?

I believe that if the goal is injury prevention, a pre-workout warmup consisting of fairly slow movement within the normal range of motion is the way to go. But no one listens to me either ;-)

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2012, 09:05 AM
I'm listening Mary, and I agree. I don't stretch before training, I warm up.

Janet Rosen
03-28-2012, 10:16 AM
Hello Janet
I'm sure your research is well-founded for sports and activities that emphasis the use of regular muscle-power. I wonder why one would want to warm up conventional muscles for use in aikido anyway.

Because we are moving.
We are not power lifting but we are moving in space, rolling, falling, receiving pins, etc. Warmed muscles move through activity with less chance of microtears or overstretch injury.

lbb
03-28-2012, 11:06 AM
I'm listening Mary, and I agree. I don't stretch before training, I warm up.

Yeah, I meant more that every sensei in the world seems to start class with this stretching-and-warmup melange that is really an homage to tradition rather than a functional exercise.

Keith Larman
03-28-2012, 11:12 AM
Hello Janet

I'm sure your research is well-founded for sports and activities that emphasis the use of regular muscle-power. I wonder why one would want to warm up conventional muscles for use in aikido anyway.

All I can say is that you must be in great shape. Cause if I don't get some warm up movement in before training I'm going to be regretting the first few times I hit the mat. There are various body parts on me that need to loosen up a bit before I can get out there. Well, before I can get out there with a realistic expectation of being able to get back off under my own power...

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2012, 11:44 AM
Yeah, I meant more that every sensei in the world seems to start class with this stretching-and-warmup melange that is really an homage to tradition rather than a functional exercise.

Agree and it is a pet peeve of mine. Having taken personal fitness training courses, it pretty much goes against all modern recommendations. That is what most dojos do.

Carl Thompson
03-29-2012, 01:05 AM
All I can say is that you must be in great shape. Cause if I don't get some warm up movement in before training I'm going to be regretting the first few times I hit the mat. There are various body parts on me that need to loosen up a bit before I can get out there. Well, before I can get out there with a realistic expectation of being able to get back off under my own power...
Hello Keith

I agree about warming up in the sense of "loosening" or raising the temperature of the body although the extent depends on the season for me. I think the preparatory exercises aren't just about that and I don't regard stretching as being for that.

If you look at Chris's link (http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php), one important point is the purpose of stretching. I don't see the need to specifically warm-up the omote kinniku (outer muscles) for the purpose of doing aikido training or how stretching would do that anyway. I agree that movement exercises for "loosening up" and raising the temperature of the body generally (inside and out) are fine as needed.
The difference is in intention. The intention of stretching in the context of good qigong, yoga or martial arts is to focus the mind, to stimulate vitality through a combination of mental and physical exercise. The intention is everything without the intention, you might as well not bother with these activities.

I can't see how the stretching parts of the makko-ho and Nishi health systems are intended to loosen up or raise the temperature of muscles. Katsuzō Nishi created his exercises from practising all kinds of health systems including Yoga. He was also a direct student of the founder of aikido and instrumental in the creation of the Aikikai. I don't think Nishi-shiki exercises caught on within the aikido community just because of this position though. Osensei also incorporated Nishi's exercises into his warm-ups along with the makko ho. Here he can clearly be seen doing these stretches.

http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/osensei-stretching003.jpg

http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/osensei-stretching006.jpg

I am not an advocate of Osensei did it, so it must be right. I am an advocate of Osensei was a gifted martial artist with a good understanding of how to cultivate the human body, so there is a very good chance he knew what he was doing. There is a good chance that he took things of value from Nishi-shiki and the makko-ho.

Because we are moving.
We are not power lifting but we are moving in space, rolling, falling, receiving pins, etc. Warmed muscles move through activity with less chance of microtears or overstretch injury.
In Japanese the preparatory exercises are usually called "junbi undo" or "junbi taiso". The whole job lot of exercises sometimes gets referred to as "warming up" in English. When I teach English, I usually do a "warming up" activity that has nothing to do with body temperature or loosening up the body for movement or falling (actually... it depends on the age of the students. ;) ) The point is that there are different ways in which we are using terminology here.

Let's disambiguate this a little more by totally separating "warming up" from "stretching" within the umbrella-term of "preparatory exercises". If we do that, I think we are in agreement regarding the "warming up" part. The value and purpose of stretching as an activity not for raising temperature/loosening within the preparatory exercises is something I would like to resolve a little more if possible.

Specifically I am interested to know which muscles Osensei is in danger of micro-tearing or overstretching as a result of the specific stretching pictured above.

Which muscles are endangered by the other nishi-shiki exercises and the makko-ho?

Given the ongoing discussions regarding Internal Power and body structure, I think these are important issues to understand before we discard any body-conditioning that Osensei practised. Bear in mind that other martial arts that feature in these discussions also involve actions including stretching as part of their conditioning.

Kind regards
Carl

hughrbeyer
03-30-2012, 08:48 PM
What I find interesting is that most of the traditional warm-up isn't really static stretching. It's the "ballistic stretching" that every coach I ever met criticized when I was growing up.

What I think is interesting is that the "fascial fitness" people are promoting something that looks a lot like that old ballistic stretching. Bounce, bounce against some resistance but not taking the ROM past where it's comfortable. Could it be that those old budo people knew what they were doing? Nahhh....

kewms
03-31-2012, 01:08 AM
Specifically I am interested to know which muscles Osensei is in danger of micro-tearing or overstretching as a result of the specific stretching pictured above.

In the bottom picture, pretty much every muscle along the back of the leg, from the Achilles tendon all the way up to the glutes. Possibly lower and mid-back. Every muscle that you can feel in a stretch is vulnerable to damage if the stretch is performed improperly.

Obviously, from a static image it is impossible to say what O Sensei was doing internally or what preparatory movements he had done. I'm certainly not going to claim that he was doing it "wrong." But I also suspect that the vast majority of aikidoka who perform that stretch don't have the foggiest idea what O Sensei was doing, or what the "proper" "aiki" approach to that exercise should be. Without that "aiki" content, they are no different from any other athletes, and research on other athletes shows pretty definitively that "non-aiki" static stretching before a workout is a bad idea.

"Because O Sensei did it" isn't a bad place to begin one's explorations, provided you know what "it" actually is.

Katherine

Carl Thompson
03-31-2012, 07:52 PM
In the bottom picture, pretty much every muscle along the back of the leg, from the Achilles tendon all the way up to the glutes. Possibly lower and mid-back. Every muscle that you can feel in a stretch is vulnerable to damage if the stretch is performed improperly.

Obviously, from a static image it is impossible to say what O Sensei was doing internally or what preparatory movements he had done. I'm certainly not going to claim that he was doing it "wrong." But I also suspect that the vast majority of aikidoka who perform that stretch don't have the foggiest idea what O Sensei was doing, or what the "proper" "aiki" approach to that exercise should be. Without that "aiki" content, they are no different from any other athletes, and research on other athletes shows pretty definitively that "non-aiki" static stretching before a workout is a bad idea.

"Because O Sensei did it" isn't a bad place to begin one's explorations, provided you know what "it" actually is.

Katherine

Thanks for your response Katherine.

I was particularly interested in Janet's answer because I gather that she has done some research and could perhaps indicate some relevant studies. Do you think you could do the same? Otherwise, it is just you telling me there is a danger of damage. It's a complex subject and evidence for risk in a particular kind of stretching for one activity (running is the usual example) will not be the same as in another. That's logical. The question is what are the risks for us and what are the benefits?

Carl

lbb
03-31-2012, 08:30 PM
I was particularly interested in Janet's answer because I gather that she has done some research and could perhaps indicate some relevant studies. Do you think you could do the same? Otherwise, it is just you telling me there is a danger of damage. It's a complex subject and evidence for risk in a particular kind of stretching for one activity (running is the usual example) will not be the same as in another. That's logical. The question is what are the risks for us and what are the benefits?

Hi Carl,

In the sentence that I bolded, what does "another" refer to? Another activity? Or another type of stretching?

If you're asking about stretching, and different types or ways to approach stretching, my own feeling about risk vs. benefit is that (to my understanding) if you're stretching in a way that will get you the most benefit, you're also stretching in a way that minimizes risk. Of course, there are plenty of low-risk ways of "stretching" that won't get you much benefit, if any...they won't do any harm, but they won't do any good either. But the approaches to stretching that produce the most benefit are also quite low-risk. They just don't produce results overnight, which is why (particularly among those who are stretching for flexibility, or who measure the results of their stretching by flexibility) people get impatient and sometimes resort to risky shortcuts. We used to have a saying in my TKD days: "anyone can do the splits...once..." :D

jurasketu
03-31-2012, 08:34 PM
"I don't believe in it. You ever seen a lion limber up before taking down a gazelle?"

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

--Ashley

I love that quote. Jack LaLanne is DA MAN.

When I worked in the construction business, we "warmed up" by moving heavy lumber around. For me, "breathing" is the true warm up. It is the first thing I do - several nice deep breathing exercises to get the blood flowing to all body parts. Cramping/tight muscles need heat and/or massage therapy - not stretching.

Robin

Carl Thompson
04-01-2012, 05:02 AM
It's a complex subject and evidence for risk in a particular kind of stretching for one activity (running is the usual example) will not be the same as in another. Hi Carl,

In the sentence that I bolded, what does "another" refer to? Another activity? Or another type of stretching?

Yes another activity, For example a stretch that affects a muscle that is going to take a pounding through running might not carry the same risks if you substitute running for an activity in which the muscle is barely used. Sports tend to use the omote kinniku (outer muscles) but in aikido most styles are aiming to at least minimise that and certain lineages close to the founder train to forge kokyu-roku which uses the ura-kinniku (inner muscles).

Carl

Janet Rosen
04-01-2012, 11:32 AM
Carl, I'm a nurse. I don't have the time or inclination to bookmark, save, or catalogue all the health findings I read in real time as they get published. What registers in mind over months and years, is there an accumulation of like findings or are there contradictory findings?
So I can say that multiple studies over time shows static stretching of cold muscles offers NO benefit during or after training and can make the body more prone to microtears or strain - NOT during stretching, during the activity. The most beneficial warmup in terms of training performance and also how one feels after seems to be any brief activity that slighty raises heartbeat and warms muscles via gross movement plus movement drills that mimic the movements and engage neuromuscular responses that will be used during the training. The studies include running and team sports and include both US armed forces and collegiate teams. Cannot provide links, never keep them.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2012, 12:42 PM
yup agree with Janet...it is what I have been taught.

Carl Thompson
04-01-2012, 05:22 PM
Carl, I'm a nurse. I don't have the time or inclination to bookmark, save, or catalogue all the health findings I read in real time as they get published. What registers in mind over months and years, is there an accumulation of like findings or are there contradictory findings?
So I can say that multiple studies over time shows static stretching of cold muscles offers NO benefit during or after training and can make the body more prone to microtears or strain - NOT during stretching, during the activity. The most beneficial warmup in terms of training performance and also how one feels after seems to be any brief activity that slighty raises heartbeat and warms muscles via gross movement plus movement drills that mimic the movements and engage neuromuscular responses that will be used during the training. The studies include running and team sports and include both US armed forces and collegiate teams. Cannot provide links, never keep them.

Thanks for trying to clarify that for me Janet

As I said, if we separate warming-up from stretching as part of junbi undo then we are in agreement regarding the "warming-up" part. From what you wrote here about stretching, it seems you are only talking about the dangers of doing it to cold muscles, so I am in agreement with you there too. It also seems that your studies apply mainly to cold stretching for activities that involve sport and running. I still feel in the dark regarding the dangers of "correctly" (for type, moderation and purpose) stretching a warm body for an activity like aikido.