Static Stretching

Posted In: The Classics

  • Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #30559

    Since I’ve mainly been giving the reasons against stretching I thought I’d (somewhat) balance my comments with some of the reasons supporting the use of stretching.

      [*]There is some evidence that an effective stretching program combined with strength training can result in beneficial postural realignment. This may contribute to more efficient movement. Research evicence on this topic is divided.
      [*]Stretching can help improve flexibility imbalances among limbs which may be a cause of injury.
      [*]Stretching is both psychologically and physiologically relaxing and it can be opportunity for social development and team building when done in a practice situation.
      [*]Stretching can increase the compliancy of tendons which may create a more elastic response. There is little research to support this notion though.
      [*]Extreme flexibility imbalances (whether agonist / antagonist or by side of the body) may result in movement disfunction and only increase the the imbalance and stretching is one of the most effective tools at addressing this issue.
      [*]PNF stretching routines can be used to develop strength in extreme ranges of motion.
      [*]There is some anecdotal evidence which suggests that certain types of stretching may be used to address abnormal firing patterns in a muscle.
      [*]Dynamic stretching may provide a lead-in from general warmup activities to more specific and higher velocity movements.
      [*]Certain stretching routines are effective for treating muscle spasms and rehabilitating injured joints and returning them to normal ranges of motion.
      [*]Soft tissue stretching such as that used in ART and Rolfing are effective tools to address soft tissue adhesions and movement disorders.

    Anything else?

    ELITETRACK Founder

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    thor on #30560

    When I started sprinting a couple of years ago, I hadn’t really been working out for around ten years. I was always pretty stiff when I was younger and of course at that time I was even worse, especially in the whole posterior chain. When seated on a floor, legs slightly bent, I couldn’t move my head closer to the feet than slighly past the hips (back bent and all).

    After doing static stretches for three hours a day for a whole year, I could touch my knees with my forehead. Stretching was done a couple of hours before training and then four or five hours after. No warm-up. The protocol was 3×1 minutes holds on each stretch.

    Today, after having stopped stretching for over a year, I’m back where I started – stiff like few others. However, this has not changed my running a bit, which makes me wonder – does increased flexibility really improve range of motion?

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #30561

    I don’t think your observations are unique. I would make the following points though:
    *Static flexibility undoubtedly enhances static flexibility and ROM.
    *The correlation between static and dynamic flexibility is quite low.
    *Dynamic flexibility is what appears to be more necessary in sporting movements.
    *As long as dynamic flexibility is maintained there may be little detriment and perhaps even an improvement in performance if a muscle becomes more tight.

    ELITETRACK Founder

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    Kebba Tolbert on #30562

    I just stumbled onto this discussion today…… I think that the benefits of static stretching are often overstated… but i do think the flexibility, especially dynamic flex, is crucial. Part of being athletic/graceful is the ability to effortlessly get into and out of positions. i think that this is one of the hidden benefits of stuff like hurdle mobility and olympic lifting.

    i do think that a good static routine is good post workout or on certain evenings. i also like Kit Laughlin as well for evening routines.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #30563

    What / who is Kit Laughlin? Is this some new girlfriend that you secretly meet for evening routines?

    ELITETRACK Founder

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #30564

    I've added the article mentioned above to the article database. Click HERE to read it.

    ELITETRACK Founder

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