Is stretching good or bad...?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 14, 2007 3:39 AM GMT
    I currently am in my freshman year at college and i am taking a health class, where we recently covered the topic of stretching. My professor actually told me something shocking: that stretching can be bad for your workouts. Since i train seriously and really care about my body, I wanted to ask you all about this...

    According to my professor, stretching actually takes away strength that could help you while working out, to lift heavier weights. But I heard that stretching can allow more muscle growth after a work out... I guess my question is this: Is stretching good or bad?
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    Nov 14, 2007 11:00 AM GMT
    I've read an article recently on the same subject, and I've always thought that warming up is important but I consider stretching as turning my nice, taught, ready-to-go muscles into baggy elastic bands that are not going to lift anything.

    Warm up - Lift - Stretch - Rest; it's always worked for me, and do what this article says; listen to your body.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2002208437_stretch16.html


  • toybrian

    Posts: 395

    Nov 14, 2007 11:43 AM GMT
    Am a big runner here and I stretch for at least 15-20 minutes before I run and have never had no problems. Sometimes it gets the kinks out of my legs and makes me feel a lot better also before running . I run with over 50 people and have watched them all stretch for various times so for me it workd and also do it before any races to help also...
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Nov 14, 2007 1:57 PM GMT
    For lifting it can make your muscles looser and less able to lift heavy weights if you stretch beforehand.

    However, if your muscles are tight, then not stretching can increase chance of injury.

    Stretching after promotes muscle growth, especially if it's a good stretch (terms terms... primary fascia?).


    Listen to your body. I do a light stretch before and then try to do a longer stretch after, because I stand and sit all day and workout in the evening, when I'm tight.
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    Nov 14, 2007 2:12 PM GMT
    I have to stretch, for obvious reasons. It's not bad for you in the least. I actually recently read a study that men who stretched before doing squats were able to push more weight and for a longer period of time then those who didn't stretch.

    INTERESTINGLY a friend of mine studies at the School of American Ballet (For those of you who could give a rat's less about ballet, SAB is a big deal... you don't really get much more of a big deal than SAB) and she was told NOT to stretch before class, but to stretch after! Crunches and push-ups were a better "warm up" before class because it doesn't put stress on cold tendons and ligaments, which can lead to injury.

    Regardless, stretching is good and needs to be done! Don't you instinctively stretch when you wake up? Veins (i think it's veins) also need stretching in order to move blood back to the heart. Stretching lowers blood pressure as well. Stretching exercises, such as yoga and pilates, have a million benefits, look up the information for yourself.

    And stretching can cause you to do things that make you look like a side show circus freak!!!! Which is always fun at parties!

    Yes, stretching is good!
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    Nov 14, 2007 3:32 PM GMT
    What should probably be pointed out is there's a difference between warming up and stretching.

    Warming up is good BEFORE hand as it allows muscles to get increased blood flow BEFORE you start to demand a lot of them. Stretching AFTER a workout promotes flexibility which will help you the next time you workout/participate in some activity and helps lengthen muscle fibers promoting additional growth.

    As Diver said, you have to listen to your body to determine how much/how little you need of either. I feel like a geriatric if I don't properly warm up before a run and I definitely feel a difference the next day if I don't properly stretch afterwards.

    Disclaimer - I do not have any kind of degree and so all this is based on what I've read and and learned through experience. I'm sure the professionals out there can say a lot more on this topic.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:27 PM GMT
    There's a lot of emerging research that states that a static pre-exercise stretch can actually have detrimental effects on your body. Instead, researchers suggest a more dynamic warm up that consists of small movements that somewhat mimic what you will be doing in your workout. Eg... if a leg day, start with some very shallow squats or lunges. Then, once warm, get into the workout.
    The previous analogy about saggy rubber bands is somewhat true. What is also said is that stretching turns off some of the neuro receptors in the muscles and inhibits optimal muscular contraction.

    I NEVER stretch my clients first unless they have a pre existing condition that requires it. They ALWAYS get a stretch after, though.
    Hope this helps
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:30 PM GMT
    SD: Great tat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and though i warm up-stretch-lift-stretch, i totally agree with you!

    For me, i require that extreme flexibilty training, however i am sure that almost all of the other guys on here do not. Stretching POST workout would certainly be the best option.
  • basildog

    Posts: 5

    Jun 28, 2008 12:29 AM GMT
    Well I just rad an article about this in Fitness RX and also in Muscular Development and both said that if you are lifting for strength purposes, stretching lowers you one rep maximum. So, if you stretch before hand you might not be as strong as if you didn't.

    They also suggested that your warm up should be sufficient enough as a stretch. Your warm up could include active stretches that mimic the same movement you would do for your strength exercise. I like to stretch after and do some foam roller to get out all the knots.
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    Jun 28, 2008 1:30 PM GMT
    I agree: warm up the muscles beforehand with some light cardio and maybe a few stretches. Then stretch more thoroughly at the end of a workout. But I also have days where stretching is the workout. Keeps my injury rate down and helps fix the ones I do get.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Jun 28, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    Heavy stretching weakens the muscles, so you would do the heavy stretching after your workout.

    A bit of light stretching before, would probably be OK.

    Mike
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    Jun 29, 2008 5:03 AM GMT
    I can't see how stretching could be bad but of course you must be careful..
  • rob_dogg

    Posts: 11

    Jul 08, 2008 3:24 AM GMT
    Stretching is a good and a bad thing. Before a weights session it's a bad thing before a cardio workout it's a good thing. the idea of stretching is to increase blood flow and muscle elasticity (loosen up the muscles) for a cardio routine (aerobic) you want blood flow to be at it's maximum and you're muscle to be loose and stretchy so you don't fatigue as easily. For a weights session which is primarily anaerobic, the rapid uptake of oxygen is not required, so why stretch? Also I would have to agree with your professor that stretching reduced strength. If you curious about stretching after a workout that’s a different story...
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    Jul 08, 2008 3:41 AM GMT
    stretching is good. 90% of people have muscle imbalances leading to poor posture.
    it's not a good idea to stretch out lengthen muscles, instead target the tight muscles.
    dynamic stretching is great for the advanced client but not for the average joe. active stretching would be best for someone that is building strength. Static should be used during stabilization and or during corrective exercise phases.

    learn to use a foam roller before workouts as a warm up. gets your blood pressure up and removes adhesions.

    hope that helps


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2008 11:41 PM GMT
    reedw saidI currently am in my freshman year at college and i am taking a health class, where we recently covered the topic of stretching. My professor actually told me something shocking: that stretching can be bad for your workouts. Since i train seriously and really care about my body, I wanted to ask you all about this...

    According to my professor, stretching actually takes away strength that could help you while working out, to lift heavier weights. But I heard that stretching can allow more muscle growth after a work out... I guess my question is this: Is stretching good or bad?


    yes it takes away strength from heavy lifts but it does this while preventing muscle tears, ligament tears, and all sorts of other collateral injuries which would put you out of the gym for 4-8 weeks at least depending on the injury.

    Plus there's a school of thought that believes that stretching between sets actually makes your muscles grow faster because it also stretches the outer sheath of your muscle fibers creating more room to grow.

    If you're in it for powerlifting you may regret the loss of strenth, while thanking your prolonged career. If you're in it for bodybuilding, you have nothing to lose and all to gain.
  • gumbosolo

    Posts: 382

    Jul 10, 2008 9:18 PM GMT
    Just to reinforce what everyone's been saying about the importance of stretching afterwards-- stretching after a workout, besides encouraging your muscles to build back up stronger and keeping you from getting quite as sore as you otherwise would, helps relieve the lingering tension of your weight training, which, if it becomes habit, can cause a lot of undue muscle stress, pain and posture problems. A stretching session can be a lot like getting a good massage after a workout.
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    Jul 11, 2008 2:47 PM GMT
    I always stretch out before a work out: stretch, warm up, full stretch, exercize, cool down, full stretch again. I also stretch whenever got small body/head aches so muscles are more relaxed and don't lead to big body/head aches later.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Jul 11, 2008 3:13 PM GMT
    warming up is the key, just to get your core temp up. warm muscles will always perform better. so like light cardio for 10mins is good, i personally before a swim,bike or run do dynampic stretching and always start out slow and warm down slow. after a long run, i walk for 5-8 mins afterwards. swimming, i do a very easy mix of kick,stroke and dril 200-300 meters.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Jul 13, 2008 11:06 AM GMT
    Stretching is actually the wrong term...
    and should be replaced by the term Warm up

    You don't want to Stretch the muscles because that's only going to make them less able to contract efficiently during your workout
    what you want to do and some guys have already touched on this is... work the muscles that you'll be calling into play with small fluid movements to get the blood flowing into this area and loosen up the joints to prevent irritation and injury
  • VinBaltimore

    Posts: 239

    Jul 18, 2008 3:06 AM GMT
    I can report that yoga, don't laugh, I'm serious, yoga has really helped with my tight hamstrings and lower back. I used to get severe back pain every few months and now I feel great. It forces you to stretch muscles you really can't get to any other way.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 22, 2008 11:17 PM GMT
    know your body.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 29, 2008 10:41 PM GMT
    For warming up, I do a quick 10min cardio then I am HORRIBLE at stretching afterwards so I do Bikram's Yoga 1/2x a week to get a GOOD stretch in!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 25, 2008 11:41 AM GMT
    Your professor is totally right. Stretching is way over-rated, has been for years. Finally, we now have "science" to back up that I have been saying that for years. Stretching feels good, but it has nothing to do with real wokouts. It is counter intuitive. Stretch a muscle before you work it out and it will be less likely to be injured? No. Now science says that . Why? I always ask why? Why does stretching a muscle make it either stronger or less likely to injure?

    Is it better to warm up? Probably yes. Get blood moving into that muscle. Muscle is tissue and blood. But stretching? No. It is a waste of time.

    Thankfully science has caught up with me on that one.

    JW
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 25, 2008 12:03 PM GMT
    Realmasc-

    Must be a chiropractor

    Cause ya lost me between lengthening muscles and whatever...

    Muscles do one thing- they contract.

    They do not lengthen. They are attached were they are attached. You cannot make a muscle lengthen. They either contract or they are at ease. They only lengthen when the opposing muscle contracts.

    Biceps either contract or relax. They lengthen when the tricep contracts pulling them but that is not an action of the bicep, it is totally an involuntrary action.

    Or to put it a different way, a muscle does not push.

    Or maybe I am crazy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 25, 2008 12:09 PM GMT
    Stretching is essential, especially for a bottom.