Skip to comments.Reasons Not to Stretch
Posted on 04/03/2013 1:53:43 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Most of us grew up hearing that we should warm up with a stretch. Strike and hold a pose, such as touching your toes, for 30 seconds or more, we were told, and youll be looser, stronger and injury-proof.
But anyone who follows fitness science or this column knows that in recent years a variety of experiments have undermined that idea. Instead, researchers have discovered, this so-called static stretching can lessen jumpers heights and sprinters speeds, without substantially reducing peoples chances of hurting themselves.
Now, two new studies are giving us additional reasons not to stretch.
One, a study being published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a bogglingly comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.
Many issues related to exercise and stretching have remained unresolved. In particular, it is unclear to what extent, precisely, subsequent workouts are changed when you stretch beforehand, as well as whether all types of physical activity are similarly affected.
For the more wide-ranging of the new studies, and to partially fill that knowledge gap, researchers at the University of Zagreb began combing through hundreds of earlier experiments in which volunteers stretched and then jumped, dunked, sprinted, lifted or otherwise had their muscular strength and power tested. For their purposes, the Croatian researchers wanted studies that used only static stretching as an exclusive warm-up; they excluded past experiments in which people stretched but also jogged or
(Excerpt) Read more at well.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Listen to the NYT, don’t stretch before exercising, die anyway along with the guy who stretched.
Unless you’re doing plyometrics or explosive reps in weight training, it’s probably sufficient to loosen up through light reps of your exercise regiment.
The light reps will loosen you up sufficiently.
I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true? A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it...don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.
One important reason to stretch is to gain flexibility which is in itself important in many sports. I’d trade some of my strength for more flexibility in terms of martial arts. I suspect the same is true for many other sports. And of course it’s a required attribute for sports like gymnastics.
Living here in the Northwest, I hike a lot. It has always seems strange to me when I see the rare hiker stretching before hiking. Come on, it is just walking up hill. Walk slow for a bit if required to limber up, but who stretches before walking?
Where did you get that?
“Want to live longer? Take a nap.”
I like your thinking here. Off to nap now.
You da man. LouAvul for President!
Jack Lalanne on stretching:
“Warming up is the biggest bunch of horse—— I’ve ever heard in my life. Fifteen minutes to warm up! Does a lion warm up when he’s hungry? ‘Uh-oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.’ No! He just goes out and eats the sucker. You gotta get the blood circulating, but, does the lion cool down? No, he eats the sucker and goes to sleep. And that, is the truth.”
Gee, more than 30 years ago, it was a rule that before a taxing karate workout, that you only did “loosening” exercises, to make sure there were not muscle, tendon, or joint “surprises” that would come out during the workout.
This would be followed by some unusual mild strength and endurance exercises, only about 30 seconds to a minute each, which would also loosen up the internal organs, give the back muscles and selected joints a test from odd angles, as well. This had everything from “Sumo push ups”, which are a rocking motion, standing leg lifts, and some light kicks.
Only then would you get into the karate workout.
Stretching was saved for after, as part of the “cool down” after the workout. It was always long, slow tension, never bouncing, which could damage muscle.
Doing that is very destructive to your back.
I should add that Judo warm ups were a very different kettle of fish, because they want students to be exhausted before they begin, so they have to use technique, not just brute force.
The only time I ever pulled a muscle was while stretching. I was never that into it before then, and stopped after.
Lions also sleep eighteen hours a day on average. That’s ten more hours a day than humans do. They also don’t get to eat very often, unless there is a lot of easy prey or carrion around.
Also, they don’t have the pleasure of sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen for 8+ hrs a day.
Hmm, many pounds ago I was a regular 10K runner. I have to (!) stretch my upper IT band ligament, or else it will tear and take a heck of al long time to heal.
Also, for skiing, I’d rather have my ligaments pre-stretched a bit in case I wipe out badly, to prevent tears.
Other than that, I’m not keen on stretching anymore - especially before doing some warm-up.
Only then would you get into the karate workout.
Stretching was saved for after, as part of the cool down after the workout. It was always long, slow tension, never bouncing, which could damage muscle.
Years ago, when I was doing Karate, this was exactly what was done. A little loosening up first, and the stretching came after the workout. In fact, stretching after the workout felt exceptionally good.
“Want to live longer? Take a nap.”
I’d love to, but my boss says he’ll fire me if he finds me asleep at my desk again...
Or, you can live/work around a bunch of liberals. You won't actually live longer, but it will seem like it.
When I was running I never stretched before, but I did sometimes stretch after. I would simply start slowly, and gradually increase my speed.
I am a devotee of the nap. :)
Back in the 70’s, mine safety dept. had us do stretching exercises while waiting for our cage. It all came to a screeching halt when the Union grieved for extra pay. The company thought it would prevent back injuries. Some guys kept it up on their own but it didn’t seem to make any difference.
Yup. My best 10K races are when I either walk or jog right before the race.
Only occasionally if a muscle is really tight do I stretch and even then I only stretch a little.
“Ive heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true? A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and thats it...dont waste them on exercise.”
If your presumption about a fixed number of heart beats were true (there is no evidence that it is), then exercise would prolong your life immensely.
With exercize, I triple my heart rate for 1.5 hours per week. The aerobic exercize reduces my resting heart rate (after becoming conditioned in 6-12 weeks) by 1/3 for the other 166.5 hours.
Basic math 166.5 x 1/3 = 55.5 hours. Subtract the 3 “extra” hours from increased heart rate while exercising, and you have a net gain of 54 hours per week, or 32 percent less beats per week.
By your logic, exercising for aerobic fitness will increase your life expectancy by a little less than one third.
That excuse does not fly. I am not trying to run your life. Exercise is hard work, and the discipline to do it does not come easily. It is clear, from your desire to rationalize, that you are thinking about it.
I can tell you from experience, that my life is much better for regular exercise, even though it is hard work to do, and I would gladly avoid it if I thought it was not worth it.
Aw, that was great, I love her smile and obvious enjoyment of her sport... hurdles and I don’t get along nearly as well! :o)
They are also finding out obesity isn’t as dangerous as they thought or being thin as healthy. Skinny people tend to be sicker and die earlier, not that liberals would ever want that.
Pray for America
Interesting article. Why the San Fran 49ers love to stretch.
Lifting weights IS stretching. Absolutely no need for “stretching.”
I always thought “stretching” was a Lefty, whole-grain, anti-Western, pacifist, collectivist, holistic, Commie importation, anyway.
I think it’s good to do light stretching and warm ups before starting physical activities. It shouldn’t hurt your performance if you don’t overdo it.
If I ever get the urge to exercise in Croatia, I’ll remember not to stretch beforehand.
That's long been a superstition in the Appalachian region.
Really? You’re that dense? That’s too funny. It’s a joke.
Glad you enjoyed it. I wasn’t taking your post too seriously either.
Still, I have heard that assertion quite a bit. The mathmatics were fun to play with.
Actually if you work out regularly your heart rate will slow down considerably. When I was young and doing heavy exercise my heart rate was 44 beats per minute. That is known as athletes heart. So, the speeding up of heart rate during exercise is offset by the slower beating that comes from being physically fit. Your theory is not good.
It ........ was ......... a ......... joke! Seriously, are you guys truly that obtuse?
Stretching is usually done in public by those who want to draw attention to themselves. They usually do it while leaning on the Prius or other hybrid car.
If you look at them while stretching you get the “stare” back.
Similarly the duffers on the golf course who spend 15 minutes “stretching” and warming up - then they get on the tee and hit a blazing 180 yard drive - usually a nice slice 20 yards off the fairway. Yep stretching helps lots!
I always thought it was the breaths that were limited.