So, I'm having a discussion on a non-running specific forum regarding stretching and whether it is beneficial. Some guys are saying don't stretch at all, and there is little evidence to suggest it is beneficial.
I am no expert, with only anecdotal evidence to, so I am happy to bow to those with greater knowledge.
What are your thoughts?
Every text book written advises to stretch. that is enough for me.
Modern research has debunked it to some extent. The current consensus seems to be that stretching prior to a run (with cold muscles) is not beneficial and may cause injury. Stretching after a run isn't as clear cut - if I have a tight muscle at the end of a run I will do some stretches to try and release the tension, otherwise I don't bother.
See following link:
It lets you run faster.
Long muscles contract and relax more dynamically than short ones.
Show me a guy who can barely touch his knees and I'll show you a guy with a crap stride, crap style and times to match.
Nothing to do with avoiding injuries.
Good article, thanks for the link. Looks like I may have to re-think
RicF wrote (see)
It lets you run faster. Long muscles contract and relax more dynamically than short ones. Show me a guy who can barely touch his knees and I'll show you a guy with a crap stride, crap style and times to match. Nothing to do with avoiding injuries.
If you read that article, it suggests that your flexibility is genetic and actually trying to lengthen your muscles beyond their natural flexibility could lead to injury. A runner, for example just needs to be flexible enough to perform their activity, and that doesn't require stretching to achieve.
It suggests a good active warm-up is far better than stretching. Once you are warmed up, your muscles are effectively stretched for that activity anyway, so stretching further, whether it be part way round, or at the end of a run, could result in over stretching, leading to injury.
Stretching is beneficial. The older you get the more you find that you HAVE to stretch. If you get cramp you HAVE to stretch. Stretching after exercise helps prevents this. Stuyr is right about cold muscle stretching, the muscle will resist when attempted to stretch without adequate blood flow. The runners with the greatest injury records are those that don't stretch at all and those who pre-run stretch. Hold a stretch too long and the same will happen, the muscle will resist. Current thinking is leaning towards a thing called 'active isolated stretches,' where the muscle is repeatedly held in stretch for 2 - 3 seconds and then repeated several times. This system has worked well for me for some time now, most folk my age (63) can barely touch their shins, never mind their toes.
This article gives some serious food for thought;
Penny Walker 3 wrote (see)
This article gives some serious food for thought; http://sock-doc.com/2011/04/stop-stretching/
Funnily enough someone linked to that article in the other thread. Certainly something to think about.
I can see the logic in the opinion that many tightnesses are created by muscular imbalances. In particular, I firmly believe that if the muscles of the hips (glute med, glute max) are not working/firing as they are supposed to, then other muscles have to compensate for that. Take hamstring tightness, for instance. Plenty of food for thought in this article;
Instead of trying to stretch your hamstrings, try strengthening your glutes!
It's all interesting stuff!
cougie wrote (see)
Ric - that's me then ! Years of cycling and no stretching means there's no chance I can get past half way down my shins. I don't think my times or style is that crap and I'm sure I'd run faster with more running rather than more stretching.
I am a cyclist.
When I started running 25 years ago I had so little range in my hamstrings that I managed to tear one of them (sounded like a rifle shot)
Dealing with this issue means I can now put the flats of my hands on the ground while keeping my legs straight.
As for the bike. I doubt if there's many in a time trial situation who can operate from the extreme tuck position I can adopt.
As for strong glutes. No problem there. I've got a f....g great arse on me to prove it.
There is research that suggests global warming is a myth/unsubstanciated. I used to play football and as I became older (less subtle) I tore muscles reguarly. I then stretched before and after matches and the problems ceased. The reseach i suspect (without properly reading it) is based on 'overstretching'. I prefer to cite professional sports men/women/institutes. How many of these do not strectch??? (please forgive my spelling)
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