Oleg Zabluda's blog
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Via Igor Krivokon

For a long time there was an common advice to stretch before exercise. I was given this advice as early as I can remember.

Supposedly, [static] stretching before exercise increases performance and decreases injuries. Now a lot of research are saying that it does neither or even hurts. The state of "fitness research" and the public reporting of it is appalling, let's use this recent brouhaha as an example.

1. Decreases injuries.
Does [static] stretching decrease injuries from running head first into the wall? Did the proponents ever claim that it did? Why concussions and stitches are in the mix? What about broken ribs? Broken nose? Tennis elbow? Etc... Shouldn't we talk only about muscle hyperextension, and similar.

2. Increased performance.
I tried static stretching before weightlifting. It did not increase my performance. I tried it second time. Zilch. So I stopped. But now people warn that stretching "can create a 30% decrease in muscle strength." like in this G+ post by Sergei Burkov https://plus.google.com/117454227226372248347/posts/K6SNyWZFyiT That's clearly nonsense. How can one not notice 30%? I bench press 185 lb. So if I stretch, I will only press 130 lb? Really? And nobody noticed it for decades and now has to warned about it?

Somewhat surprisingly, static stretching loads muscles a lot. Among other things, it's a strength exercise. When done properly (no pain no gain) a muscle tenses to prevent injury from hyperextension with all its might (unless you are some kind of super yogi), just short of ripping a tendon off, which it could easily do. Imagine lifting the heaviest weight you possibly can and holding it for 15-120 seconds. Depending on exactly how you do it, your performance afterward may decrease by 1% or by 100%, if you go nuts. Ditto with "warmup", which is still recommended for increased performance and decreased injuries. Both effects clearly working for me, so I keep warming up.

3. I tried kicking people in the head with pre-stretching and without. With stretching is clearly better. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Of course, the stretching was dynamic, of which there is no mention of in the article. The word "static" is also AWOL. Stupid reporting. But even with just static pre-stretching it would be better. Trust me.

Note the the article is from 2001, but actual studies are from 1999-2000. I am not sure why the current sudden eruption of popular articles.


Powered by Blogger