What kind of stretch is appropriate?

Posted In: The Classics

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        Participant
        Derrick Brito on #8845

        i plan to start stretching again to increase flexibility. what kind of stretching should i do? ive heard that PNF is fast, but also has bad effects on power output. actually i think ive heard that most stretching has a bad effect on power output. is there a way to get around that? also what days should i put that kind of stretching into my program? and add anything else anybody wants to tell me about adding stretching to a training program.

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        Participant
        Derrick Brito on #24975

        any thoughts? i currently only use static stretches, and sometimes another that would probably fall under the 'ballistic' category. but thats really more to warmup my legs than increase flexibility

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #24976

        I'd incorporate dynamic stretching into your routine. The detrimental effects of stretching on power output are not yet fully unerstood, but generally it looks like the longer and deeper you hold a stretcch, the greater the diminishment in power output. Also, the shorter the duration in time between the stretching and the activity the less the effect. I know Phoenix has some interesting viewpoints on this topic………..Carl, have anything to add / say?

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Jay Turner on #24977

        Does anyone have any sites I could go to for all the dynamic stretches one could perform? Or does anyone have a dynamic routine that they follow and could show me?

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        Participant
        Derrick Brito on #24978

        by dynamic do you mean the kind that hurdlers do where you swing your leg off to the side for a groin stretch and back for a hamstring stretch?

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24979

        I feel that the intensity of PNF work (the method on trial here) is not heavy enough to interfere with performances unless it is acute and heavy. I have seen two elite sprinters (one world recordholder one gold medalist) use such a protocol as part of a warm-up.

        some points for debate…

        If stretching before speed is bad how long does this effect last?

        What intensity?

        How long the holds?

        What musclegroups?

        Will warming up reactivate the motor functions and allow for full power later?

        I would use some light PNF work for very tight but very fit athletes as part of the warmup 45 minutes before the first round and maintain tonus with manual therapy. PNF is also a trained method and people will addapt to the stress of the work.

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        Todd Lane on #24980

        If stretching before speed is bad how long does this effect last?

        I have seen in two studies where MVC decrement last up to hour post stretch. However,,,,,,,,,, this segways to other points, I believe studies had some very long holds. 30 seconds x 3 or one may have even been 20 minutes of repetitive stretching of the tricep surae.

        Will warming up reactivate the motor functions and allow for full power later?

        I guess this is my biggest question as I look through the research. I hope to have an answer sometime in the next several months.

        I would also throw two points together, is it warming up that reactivates or is it how time from stretch to speed that reactivation occurs?

        What are your thoughts Carl on the points you asked?

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        Jay Turner on #24981

        [i]Originally posted by cockysprinter[/i]
        by dynamic do you mean the kind that hurdlers do where you swing your leg off to the side for a groin stretch and back for a hamstring stretch?

        I mean that kind and any other kind that is available for sprinters.

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        Derrick Brito on #24982

        well you could just make them up to suit your needs. you might swing your leg forward and then curl it on the backswing to get a hamstrings/quad stretch. or swing arms across your chest to get shoulder/chest. or you swing your arms up and curl the back, then straighten them out and swing back for a bicep/tricep stretch.

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        Derrick Brito on #24983

        arggg you guys are too technical…. phoenix, in your opinion will warming up reactivate the motor functions for full power? or todd, or mike. todds post seems to suggest that reactivation does occur, but the reason is unclear.

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24984

        MJ used AIS (a form of PNF) a half hour before his 19.32….could he have gone 19.2 if he used dynamic stretching? I doubt it.

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        Jay Turner on #24985

        I think MJ is unlike any sprinter EVER born. What MJ does and/or did should not and does not apply to almost any other human. I think he was so far advanced in his training and so sharp and ready to go that nothing could have changed whether he did AIS or dynamic.

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24986

        MJ is human and…being elite would be more sensitive to his training.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #24987

        I have an abstract of a study that may be of interest that we did here at LSU with some of our jumpers. I mentioned it a little while back and will try and remember to post it when I get to the office. In the study, jumpers were 0.04s slower (statistically significant)over 20m after they had static stretched. As Todd mentioned though, the static holds were long (30 sec).

        I understand many athletes have suceeded with various types of stretching routines but the scientist in me looks at the growing evidence about the (at least acute) detrimental effects of stretching on high power output movements and it makes me very cautious of using too much flexibility training, especially prior to competitive efforts. Also, understanding the mechanical properties of the muscle complex makes it hard for me to concieve how static or traditional PNF could enhance performance when used just prior to performance. Having said that, I do think there are plenty of good uses for various flexibility routines and I use some form of flexibility training everyday. Like I said though, I'm cautious in using it before competitive efforts. However, I do agree with Carl that the method, timing, and intensity of the stretch are probably the most important factors in determining its effects.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24988

        Here is my opinion based on observations…I then tried to explain what I see using some raw (read very raw physiology).

        stretches with long holds and heavy forces tend to reduce power in research. This tends to be acute and I have failed to see any research showing that a warm-up –> light PNF–> then more warm up —-> then wait (30minutes for elite comp) would interfere with power.

        I think the window is 20-30 minutes after intense stretching and duration increases the loss of performance.

        more thoughts…speed days are a on days when rest has been present. If your training is right you should not need too much range of motion work prior to the workout because every day you are doing something to keep the range of motion even and constant. everyone wants to improve range of motion but that's all you have to do is keep it at full range by doing consistant work.

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        Todd Lane on #24989

        Mike makes a good point, in that the properties which are altered from a stretch are the same ones that what make power athletes successful.

        The duration could be the biggest component. I believe somewhere in the 6 second range of a stretch is where inhibition is achieved. This may explain why AIS can be utilized with its shorter holds.

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24990

        We are interviewing AIS founder Arron Mattes on the Friday Five…..

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #24991

        Here's the abstract I mentioned previously. While the stretch holds were quite long and were repeated 4 times, the total amount of stretching actually isn't out of the ordinary given the fact that only three stretches were used.

        ACUTE EFFECTS OF PASSIVE MUSCLE STRETCHING ON SPRINT PERFORMANCE

        A.G. Nelson, N. Driscoll, D. Landin, B. Marcello, M. Young, & I. Schexnayder

        Louisiana State University, Dept of Kinesiology, Baton Rouge, LA

        Previous research has shown that passive muscle stretching can diminish the peak force output of subsequent maximal isometric and concentric contractions. The purpose of the present study was to establish whether the deleterious effects of passive stretching seen in laboratory settings would be manifest in an actual performance setting. Sixteen members (11 males, 5 females) of a Division I NCAA track team performed electronically timed 20m sprints with and without prior stretching of the hip and knee muscles. The sprint testing was done as part of each athlete's Monday work-out program. Four different stretch protocols were used with each protocol done on a different day. Hence, the testing occurred over four weeks. The four stretching protocols were no-stretch of either leg (NS), both legs stretched (BS), forward leg in the starting position stretched (FS), rear leg in the starting position stretched (RS). Three stretching exercises (hamstring stretch, quadriceps stretch, calf stretch) were used for BS, FS, and RS. Each stretching exercise was done four times, and each time the stretch was maintained for 30 s. BS, FS, and RS all induced a significant (p<0.05) increase (~0.04 s) in the 20m time. Thus, it appears that pre-event stretching might negatively impact the performance of high power skills.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24992

        How much pressure and what gap of time was there?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #24993

        Carl-
        Pressure: Athletes were stretched to the end of their normal range of movement. All movements were within the "comfort zone."

        Time interval: The time between the stretching and the running was between 5-10 minutes and they weren't allowed to do anything in between.

        Obviously, what you're advocating is different than this protocol but the study at least gives evidence that static stretching can hinder sprinting performance if done with this type (which is pretty standard for many schools) of protocol.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24994

        First thanks for the study, it is key that researchers and elite coaches work together….PE students are not the same!

        It would be nice to have a "stretching tolerance test) like a glucose test in blood chemistry.

        Intervals of block minutes from 1-5-10-20-30-40-60 would be a nice way to evaluate the timing of the effects. This can create a negative window for stretching, similar to the post workout drink window after training…..

        Did the athletes warm-up before the stretches? great study by the way.

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        Participant
        Todd Lane on #24995

        Carl-

        Another study which somewhat comes closer to your questions/thoughts.

        "Effects of running, static stretching and practice jumps on explosive force production and jumping performance."

        Journal of Sports Med Phy Fitness 2003; 43:21-27.
        I'm direct quoting abstract.

        Did warmups of
        1) Control 2) 4 min run 3) Static Stretch 4) Run + Stretch 5) Run + Stretch + Practice Jumps

        2 min rest then concentric and drop jump performed.

        Results: Generally stretch produced lowest values. Run & Run + Stretch + Jump produced highest values of explosive force production.

        Run produced sign. better in drop jump height, concentric jump height, and peak concentric than run + stretch.

        Sometime in next 3 months, I'm hoping to complete study similar to Mike's, but will use different warm up flexibility treatments.

        Look forward to Mattes interview. What about those crazy Wharton's? They certainly have profited off of AIS.

      • Carl Valle
        Participant
        Carl Valle on #24996

        The father and son combo?…no comment.

        I am still not seeing anthing contradictive of the training of elite sprinters with good coaches…..but a lot of talented runners at MAJOR DIV I programs stretch and sprint….no warm-up.

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        Participant
        Derrick Brito on #24997

        this stuff is interesting, but…im not quite understanding the implications for training. i want to know how to incorporate flexibility training into my schedule. i think i was mislead about the extent to which stretching diminishes power. when i was reading it seemed like more flexibility=less power. which is something i didnt exactly want to trade off. i wanted to know what days to stretch, when to stretch, type of stretch etc. i wasnt concerned about meets and stuff yet.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #24998

        The potential detrimental effects of stretching on power output are not limited to competitive efforts only. I think they could extend to any form of high power output movement regardless of whether it was competitive effort or not. Despite this, I have several reasons why I suggest some form of flexiblity or mobility movement every day:

        1. It's a good atmosophere for team building and socialization.

        2. Many kids have grown up believing they HAVE to do some form of flexibility or mobility training before working out and doing it eases their minds as well as lends more credibility (in their minds) to what you're doing.

        3. Mobility is important, especially in those individuals who have inadequate mobility in particular areas. In these cases, I tend to think mobility training can actually be very beneficial if done correctly.

        4. It extends and increases the workload placed on an athlete and in some ways could be thought of as a general fitness component of the workout. This is especially true in the cases of PNF stretching and specific yoga poses.

        5. When used post-workout, stretching and mobility can be very relaxing if done correctly and may actually enhance recovery.

        6. Flexibility and mobility training helps to maintain healthy range of motion. As such it will be important to maintain the mobility of individuals who tend to easily become tight when mobilty training is eliminated. Note however, that I said healthy range of motion and not extreme range of motion. The latter could be quite harmful in my opinion.

        7. Research indicates the detrimental effects of static stretching are definitely acute but the literarure on whether the effect is longer lasting is inclusive at best. As such, I think when performance is not as important (as is the case in a practice) the potential benefits mentioned above may outweigh the potential short-term detriments.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Derrick Brito on #24999

        ok, so some type of stretching everyday… do you suggest PNF over static then? and what if you were stretching after practice as a sort of relaxation thing? would static types be good then? also, if stretching decreased power output, would that have an effect on your bodys reaction to the training? thanks for the info so far.

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        Participant
        Danny Tutskey on #25000

        The type of warm I have used is
        800m jog
        static stretch
        dynamic stretching (prisoner squats, highland fling, front lunge, side lunge, and speed skaters)
        I would do a 50m accel in between each dyanamic movement
        I would go through speed drills
        PNF
        Race.

        Would it be better for me to throw out hte static stretch and do PNF there instead then go about my warm up and not do the PNF just before I would race? Any thoughts?

        So it would look liek this
        800m jog
        PNF
        dynamic stretching (prisoner squats, highland fling, front lunge, side lunge, and speed skaters)
        I would do a 50m accel in between each dyanamic movement
        I would go through speed drills

        Any thoughts?

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        jumpscoachmike on #25001

        DT-

        You don't have to completely throw out the static stretch. Perform those stretches after your workout after a good cooldown. Stick with your PNF, dynamics as your pre-workout/pre-comp. warm-up.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25002

        Research indicates that PNF (at least if performed in the traditional fashion) has the greatest detrimental effect on power output. Keep this in mind if you do traditional PNF.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Danny Tutskey on #25003

        Wouldn't it more so deal with the amount of force your using when you are contracting/resisting? I don't push hard at all, more like 20%.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25004

        My comment was more for traditional PNF techniques and a 20% effort isn't the standard way to do it. Having said that, I think that you're correct in saying that the detrimental effect is highly correlated with the intensity of the hold, push, or contract (as well as with the length of each PNF phase); the effect would still almost certainly be greater than just a static stretch. This is because the hold, push, or contract elicits a nervous system response which relaxes the muscle and allows the joint to be moved through a greater range of motion, thus putting a greater stretch on the musculo-tendon system.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Jay Turner on #25005

        [i]Originally posted by mike[/i]
        My comment was more for traditional PNF techniques and a 20% effort isn't the standard way to do it. Having said that, I think that you're correct in saying that the detrimental effect is highly correlated with the intensity of the hold, push, or contract (as well as with the length of each PNF phase); the effect would still almost certainly be greater than just a static stretch. This is because the hold, push, or contract elicits a nervous system response which relaxes the muscle and allows the joint to be moved through a greater range of motion, thus putting a greater stretch on the musculo-tendon system.

        So as a result, your flexibility increases, but your power decreses?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25006

        [i]Originally posted by DaGovernor[/i]
        [So as a result, your flexibility increases, but your power decreses?

        Yep :yes:

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Jay Turner on #25007

        [i]Originally posted by Mike[/i]
        [quote][i]Originally posted by DaGovernor[/i]
        [So as a result, your flexibility increases, but your power decreses?

        Yep :yes: [/quote]Well then if you are just starting out with PNF stretches, do you think this type of stretching would be best to do in the off season? That way, the loss of power won't be relevant as you are doing it simply for flexibility increases. Thoughts?

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        Participant
        Jay Turner on #25008

        I never did figure out if this would be a good idea to do or not. Comments anyone?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25009

        I've used PNF with your rationale, implementing it to a greater extent during the non-competitive season than in the competitive season. I do however think it can have a place all year long because of its ability to address spacticity issues, develop strength in extreme ranges of motion, and maintain flexibility with little time commitment.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        Jay Turner on #25010

        Well if one were to use it year round. What days would be best to do it? Surely not on CNS days right?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25011

        I do it on my general / recovery days.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25012

        The article mentioned above is now available for reading in the article database. Click HERE.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #25013

        This might be of interest….

        Duration of Stretch Does Not Influence the Degree of Force Loss
        Following Static Stretching

        Source NSCA Conference Abstracts

        J.P. Brandenburg, R. West, Applied Neuromuscular Lab, Northern
        Illinois University, DeKalb, IL.

        There is an emerging body of knowledge consistently indicating
        static stretching (SS) acutely and adversely affects muscle
        performance. The practical value of this research is questionable
        considering the lengthy stretch durations utilized by much of this
        literature. It is unclear if stretch durations typical of those used
        pre-performance would similarly affect muscle performance.
        Additionally, there is a paucity of research examining if a dose-
        response relationship exists between stretch duration and the degree
        of muscle impairment.

        PURPOSE: To determine if SS, using stretch durations more
        representative of pre-event routines, affects force production and to
        establish if any changes in muscle performance were influenced by the
        duration of stretch.

        METHODS: Following 2 familiarization sessions, 16 recreationally
        trained males and females participated in 2 randomly ordered testing
        sessions. In each testing session maximal effort hamstring
        performance was assessed prior to and immediately after one of two SS
        protocols. During one of the SS protocols participants were required
        to hold each stretch for 15s (15S) while stretch duration in the
        second SS protocol was 30s (30S). Both SS protocols consisted of 3
        repetitions of 2 stretching exercises. A Kincom isokinetic
        dynamometer was used to assess hamstring performance during
        isometric, concentric, and eccentric actions. Testing velocity during
        the dynamic actions was 120 deg*s−1.

        RESULTS: Isometric force decreased from 241.8 ± 60N to 227.0 ± 60N
        following 30S and from 240.1 ± 50.6N to 225.0 ± 52N after 15S. In
        response to 15S and 30S, concentric peak torque fell from 133.5 ±
        34Nm to 129 ± 33.7Nm and from 138.8 ± 33Nm to 134.9 ± 33Nm,
        respectively. Peak eccentric torque in response to 15S was reduced
        from 127.8 ± 35Nm to 121.0 ± 33Nm and from 124.8 ± 32Nm to 117.5 ±
        33Nm in response to 30S. For each muscle action, a repeated measures
        ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of time (pre- vs. post-
        stretch, p < 0.05) but no interaction effect (time Ã? SS protocol).

        CONCLUSION: SS protocols using stretch durations typical of those
        employed in pre-event preparation are sufficient to impair muscle
        performance and the duration of stretch did not influence the loss in
        force. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Inclusion of SS, even with short
        stretch durations (i.e. 15s), in preparation for strength activities
        is not appropriate.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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