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Old 11-16-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Bright lights Baked Ziti
491 posts, read 1,654,959 times
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Stretching is difficult to study but there is a recent study conducted by Dr. Robert D. Herbert, a professor at the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney.
I always warm up then stetch out before doing any rigorous exercise then stretch out after exercising, so I was a bit surprised to read this article on the minimal benefits of stretching out in this current study. I tend to agree more with Dr. Michael Fredericson, a professor of sports medicine at Stanford University than Dr. Herbert.

Phys Ed: The Right Reasons to Stretch - NYTimes.com



Some notable excerpts:

“Our interpretation of the data is that, on average, stretching really does reduce soreness, but the reduction is tiny,” Dr. Herbert told me, probably too small to be meaningful in practical terms. Most of us wouldn’t notice much difference in our muscle soreness regardless of whether we stretched.

This finding jibes with other, related science suggesting that static stretching is not particularly good at reducing injury risk, either. In the same randomized study by Dr. Herbert, those who stretched experienced about the same number of sports-related injuries as those who didn’t.

So what does all of this intriguing but still muddled science about stretching mean for those of us who regularly exercise?

“It does not mean that you should not stretch,” said Dr. Michael Fredericson, a professor of sports medicine at Stanford University and the chief physician for that school’s cross-country and track-and-field teams, who recently completed an online report about stretching. So-called dynamic stretching regimens, during which you move while lengthening muscles and connective tissues, could be more effective than static stretching at reducing injuries and soreness, he says. Try substituting jumping jacks for toe touches before a run, he says. “And if you feel frequent tightness” in certain muscles or tissues, like in the iliotibial band that runs along the outside of your knee, a common occurrence in distance runners, “then stretch those particular muscles after exercise to lessen your chances of serious injury.”




If you’ve never stretched, though, don’t feel obligated to begin now, Dr. Herbert says. “There is little evidence that stretching does anything important,” he says, “but there is also little to be lost from doing it. If you like stretching, then do it. On the other hand, if you don’t like stretching, or are always in a rush to exercise, you won’t be missing out on much if you don’t stretch.”
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
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I stopped stretching after I got injured a few years back. I had just ran 1 mile and started lifting weights. I was doing light warm up weights when my bicep tore for some reason. I thought to myself, all that stretching was useless! Waste of my time. So I don't put too much effort in stretching anymore, other than a quick 3 minute routine.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:56 PM
 
Location: NC
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If you are going to stretch do the dynamic kind where you hold only for a few seconds unlike the static stretches. You are less likely to get injured. They have done studies where it showed you were weaker when holding stretches for long time.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:12 PM
 
Location: California
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I just started running back in August and found that if I do a 10 min. warm up walk and just a few minutes of easy stretches I seem to feel better and can run longer. I dont really know if its just a mental thing or if it really helps, but since I seem to feel it does help I will keep stretching alittle. So far no injuries, and right now I'm at 3 miles per day.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
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I think a lot of people injure themselves from over stretching. Stretching has definitely always helped me run better but maybe a ligh warm up would do the same thing.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Bright lights Baked Ziti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bs13690 View Post
I think a lot of people injure themselves from over stretching. Stretching has definitely always helped me run better but maybe a ligh warm up would do the same thing.
Yes, some over do it, and what I don't like to see is when people bounce multiple times as they stretch, instead of easing into it.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Wine Country
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Do not stretch before exercising. Do it after while your muscles are warm. Never stretch cold. Just warm up a bit before diving into a workout. I do not think stretching makes all that much difference personally. I always stretch my husband never does. I think it is more of a preference. I like my stretching ritual after my workout. Its more of a mental relaxation more than anything else.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
7,199 posts, read 9,271,252 times
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I stretch. But neither before nor after working out. Instead I warmup before exercising. A few yrs ago a physical therapist told me that to prevent injury it was more important to warm up the muscles before strenous exercise than to stretch them just prior.

Actually, I hate stretching. It is slow, torturous and boring. But I stretch. Why? Because several yrs ago I hurt my back. Don't even know how but it was painful.

Went thru a few weeks of physical therapy. Guess what they do? Stretching with light strengthening exercises thrown in. I have tried several times to stop stretching since then, but the pain comes back. So I stretch.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Old Bellevue, WA
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I have never liked stretching and never done much of it as a runner. Now it's nice to learn that the research is saying that 'statiic' stretching (stretch & hold) can reduce performance). Here's a good article from Running Times on so-called 'dynamic stretching.'
Dynamic Stretching Better Before Training and Racing | Running Times Magazine

"To get a good static stretch you are asking the body on a subconscious level to relax," says Reiff. "From a muscle-recruitment standpoint, you don't want to turn the muscles off."

I am a big believer in warming up. I'll run a 5K (3.1 miles) to warm up for a 5K. I like to go out pretty fast from the start, but I noticed that my worst tempo runs (40-60 mins at a quick pace) were when I tried to skimp on warmup. Sometimes I would feel so stressed in the 2nd or 3rd mile that I would crap out and stop running. When I warmed up thoroughly, that didn't happen. For me, if I try to run fast without a very thorough warm up I am risking a 'crap out.' I think it may have been Churchill who said 'never crap out.'
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:56 AM
 
Location: SoCal - Sherman Oaks & Woodland Hills
12,974 posts, read 33,993,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyd609 View Post
Do not stretch before exercising. Do it after while your muscles are warm.
^ This.

I NEVER EVER EVER stretch before exercising. Before I begin any routine, I do a warmup that usually consists of some combination of kung fu forum, jump rope, air squats, shadow boxing, lunges, etc.

I do my warmup, then my routine, and AFTER my workout, some stretching (usually yoga asanas or yoga poses/routines) are my cool down.
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