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Thread: US News and World Report about cold stretching

  1. #1
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    US News and World Report about cold stretching

    I just stumbled upon this article and found it interesting.


    6/21/04
    No bending or twisting
    By Emily Sohn

    Can't touch your toes? Don't sweat it. For decades, flexibility has been considered a key element of fitness. From the professional football field to the local health club, trainers have advocated stretching as part of a regular workout. But new research is showing that stretching does not prevent injuries or make you any less sore the next day. On top of that, it doesn't appear to improve performance.



    Stretching might, in fact, cause more problems than it solves, say a growing number of researchers. This is especially true for women, who tend to suffer from knee, ankle, and other soft-tissue injuries far more often than men do. Extra flexibility might be to blame. "It is so hard to believe that stretching could somehow be the enemy," says exercise physiologist Stacy Ingraham of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. "But there has never been any science that actually put stretching into the athletic world."

    Indeed, a recent review underscores how little support there is for the value of pulling, reaching, and twisting. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found only six studies designed to isolate the effects of stretching, and none showed a link between stretching more and getting hurt less, says lead researcher Stephen Thacker. In fact, says Ingraham, more-pliable muscles might cause more injuries than they prevent, especially if you stretch before you exercise. Baseball players are notorious for stretching before games, Ingraham says, yet they tear muscles and ligaments all the time. "One study showed that marathon runners who stretched had a higher rate of injuries than those that didn't," says fitness expert Jay Blahnik, author of Full-Body Flexibility .

    But why? One explanation is that stretching muscle fibers makes them less stable and less able to resist the jarring impact of running or jumping. Stretching may hinder performance because a stretched muscle can't produce the same kind of force as an unstretched one. And as muscle fibers lengthen, it takes longer for the brain's messages to tell the muscles to move.

    Rather than stretching, Blahnik and other experts encourage people to warm up by jogging slowly, lightly swinging a golf club, or doing whatever else they need to do to achieve the range of motion required for their activity. Strengthening and conditioning exercises are also helpful, Ingraham says, because fatigue and muscle weakness cause most injuries. The only reason stretching feels so good, she says, is that it results in tiny tears in the muscle fibers. The body then releases hormones that mask the pain.

    Flexibility might even help explain why women are up to 10 times as likely as men to tear the anterior cruciate ligament in their knees, and four times as likely to have serious ankle sprains, among other injuries, Ingraham says. She studies a hormone called relaxin, which increases flexibility in women. Unlike men, women have receptors for the hormone in their ACL s and in their pubic ligaments. Levels of the hormone change throughout a woman's monthly cycle. In a study of 28 women over three months, Ingraham found, participants were more likely to get injured when levels of relaxin were highest. Stretching might have the same effect, she says.

    Not all experts agree that stretching is all bad all the time. Light stretching is OK as part of a cool-down after a workout, Blahnik says, because it won't affect performance and won't cause injury. The key is to do stretches that stay within your normal range of motion. Most important of all, Thacker says, is that people keep moving. "We strongly believe that we want to have people exercising. We just don't want people going out and getting hurt."

  2. #2
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    Nice article.

    I've always strongly believed that stretching was a Good Thing(tm), mostly from a mobilization and functional strength POV but I'd never stretch cold or before a workout. I stretch AFTER lifting, and in fact now I'm stretching a muscle directly after lifting useing doggcrapp-style extreme stretches... I have found this to be pretty damned effective. Despite wicked DOMS on leg day I can still stretch out and do palms-to-floor even after a set of heavy GMs or Leg Curls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callahan
    Nice article.

    I've always strongly believed that stretching was a Good Thing(tm), mostly from a mobilization and functional strength POV but I'd never stretch cold or before a workout. I stretch AFTER lifting, and in fact now I'm stretching a muscle directly after lifting useing doggcrapp-style extreme stretches... I have found this to be pretty damned effective. Despite wicked DOMS on leg day I can still stretch out and do palms-to-floor even after a set of heavy GMs or Leg Curls.
    Yeah. I always do light weights with the muscle group I'm about to exercise, and then stretch. Stretching cold isn't a good thing. Maybe even some VERY light cardio to get the blood flowing, just enough to warm my muscles and not hamper my workout performance.
    "Hey skinny, I can see your ribs!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

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    theyre missing the point that stretching is simply to allow blood circulation to flow easier, which inturn allows you to warmup the muscle and allows it replace and expell used nutrience faster, also helps the burning of bodyfat. What these scientsts have tried to proove seems to be based completely on unscientific and unthurough observations

    Stretching is the same as warming up with lighter weights. Just on the track you dont have weights. What these scientists are trying to proove is being lazy is good for you. Lets remind of ourselves of the "scientsists say body fat boosts your immune system", body fat may respond as antigens (viral and foreign cell fighters) , but when are foreign cells ever lurking in the layer of body fat.
    Last edited by Shad; 09-16-2004 at 03:27 PM.
    think youve got an edge on me? think again.

    Shad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shad
    What these scientists are trying to proove is being lazy is good for you.
    Re-read the last paragraph:

    -
    Not all experts agree that stretching is all bad all the time. Light stretching is OK as part of a cool-down after a workout, Blahnik says, because it won't affect performance and won't cause injury. The key is to do stretches that stay within your normal range of motion. Most important of all, Thacker says, is that people keep moving. "We strongly believe that we want to have people exercising. We just don't want people going out and getting hurt."
    -

    Now restate your objections.
    Last edited by jww13; 09-16-2004 at 04:43 PM.
    Stats
    Age: 22 Height: 5'-8" Weight: 175 (6-10-07)
    BF: 13.2% (6-10-07 w/ calipers)

    Lifts
    Bench: 300x1 (9-22-06)
    Squat: 285x4
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    Long-term Goals
    Weight: 180 BF: 8% Bench: 315x1

  6. #6
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    I think gymnasts would disagree with this stuff...
    "Hey skinny, I can see your ribs!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

  7. #7
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    So...let me get this straight. Eating lots is bad. Drinking lots is bad. Lifting weights is bad. Breathing hard is bad. Running is jarring and bad. Stretching is bad. Watching TV is bad. Sleeping too much is bad. Sleeping too little is bad. Stress is bad. Walking is bad. Sitting on my ass is bad. Thinking is bad (I'm sure there is an article out there on this). OK. Right. I guess I'll eat spriggs and tofu, drink from a gerbal feeder, wear a mask to breath through, buy one of those little moterized grossery carts to zoom around on and when I'm not busy (which will be all the time because stress is bad), I'll just sit and watch people live their lives....oh and I won't think about anything Sorry folks, I'm not buying this one...

  8. #8
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    No, doctors now accept that weight lifting is actually quite good for you. The other stuff, well, yeah it actually is bad for you. Most of that is common sense.

    This article is quite useful in dispelling some of the notions about stretching as it is commonly practiced. I spent years running track and every workout involved stretching after doing a few mile warmup. Did it make me more flexible? Not one bit. Did it make me less prone to injury? Doubtful.

    Most importantly, stretching is worthless for warming up. An aside: Cardio alone is not sufficient for warming up for weight lifting either, though I think most folks here know that.

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    I want some crack! TBone4Eva's Avatar
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    Flexibility might even help explain why women are up to 10 times as likely as men to tear the anterior cruciate ligament in their knees, and four times as likely to have serious ankle sprains, among other injuries....
    Wouldn't this have more to do with the fact that many women wear heels than it has to do with hormonal levels?
    The half-million citizens of the District of Columbia, like citizens of the fifty states, bear all of the obligations of American citizenship: they are required to obey the laws passed by Congress; they pay federal taxes; they serve in the military; and they fight and die in our wars. Yet they lack the most basic right that should accompany American citizenship—the right to full voting representation in Congress. This makes the United States the only nation in the world with a representative, democratic constitution that denies citizens of its capital representation in the national legislature. In fact, no fewer than 183 nations provide their citizens the type of representation citizens of Washington, DC are denied.

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