It seems reasonable to me. The problem is that articles like this tend to be interpreted by the public as "stretching isn't helpful".
Agreed with some, not others; I know what degree, type, etc., of stretching works for me. Don't play the 'myth/truth' games.
I (we) hardly ever stretch, just take it easy till all is warmed up! Not sure if it's correct, just our style,
Lot of hedging in the various claims, I don't know anything about what 5 minutes of stretching will do before intense exercise - though I do believe that a quick stretch will not ameliorate improper technique in any physical activity.
I also believe - from my own experience - that yoga practiced regularly over the period of a year will bring greater flexibility and balance, even in a 58 year old.
I am taking about 4 yoga classes week now, and it seems to be paying off. Form what I understand, balance, flexibility, and strength should continue to improve for a number of years to come.
I've stretched since HS track (1972) and really believe in doing stretches since my back injury and surgeries. I have to do a couple every morning before I even turn on the coffee maker. Regardless of what this study found I know the stretches the PT taught me in rehab do work, very well, for me and have kept me injury free in those areas they help, ever since. YMMV.
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Some of it seemed right on, some of it just stated the obvious and some of it was vague.
I believe in and practice the notion that static stretching before warming up is not a good idea and that consistency is important.
To me the most difficult thing related to stretching is knowing what to stretch. They point out that aches in one part of the body might be caused by a problem in another. It would be terrific is someone would write an article explaining what to stretch to help which problems.
2011 Felt Q620
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1992 Trek 1200
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I always stretch at the beginning of a long charity ride since I don't get a chance to do any warm up rides prior to the start. I have never had any issues during or after the ride when I stretch. I did have issues on one ride when I got there late and just in time to start and wasn't able to do my stretching. I had to wait until I got to the first SAG station to stretch because my thighs were starting to cramp.
On my daily rides at the MUP, there's almost two miles of service road before it gets to the main loop. I normally ride this part of my first lap at a slower pace just to warm up and then finish the rest of my ride at my normal, faster pace. This has worked well for me and until it no longer works, I think I'll continue my normal routine.
I believe stretching is highly overrated. Especially if you stretch "cold".
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2007 Cannondale Caffeine 29er Lefty. Crank Bros pedals, wireless cateye. Specialized body geometric seat(uh, saddle)
The main thing emphasized by my trainer is to do active stretches as opposed to static stretches. I stretch basically every day, regardless of what I'm doing in terms of weight lifting or biking/aerobics.
Seems to be working for me. Flexibility is largely a thing of the past, so current routine is designed to maintain current flexibility.
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I'm new to cycling, but not new to physical activity - and have done plenty of high-stress events.
I have never stretched, and I have never been injured.
I think stretching simply improves flexibility, which is a good thing. I do agree that there are misconceptions about stretching as an adequate warm-up activity. If one is extremely careful and uses static stretching, slowly allowing the muscles to stretch it can have some limited value as a warm-up. That is, there will be some increase of blood flow in the regions being stretched. However, this is very time consuming, only creates the most minimal increase in blood flow, and is likely not done properly by most people. I think a better warm-up activity is to simply begin moving those muscles that will be used slowly and then gradually increase the intensity. In terms of building flexibility, I've always felt you get better results stretching after the body if fully warmed-up.
I use a similar approach in cycling. Any ride always starts with me telling myself to take it easy and just spin in an easy gear for the first 15 to 20 minutes. I don't consider myself even remotely ready to "put the hammer down" or take on serious climbing until I have a good sweat going from spinning and a gradual increase in speed and gear inches. However, when I stretch at the end of hard rides, I find my recovery less difficult. I think it helps get all those toxins out that build up with hard efforts.
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Is it just me or did some of those slides contradict each other?
Anyway I stretch. I have a back condition and did physical therapy yrs ago. When they cut me loose I discovered that if I didn't stretch the back would get tighter and painful again. Continued stretching keeps it under control. So I stretch once a day weekdays.
But I don't stretch before or after riding or weights or other workouts. Generally just hop on and go. In the mornings I'm slower than the afternoon/evenings.
Yoga is God.
I've done it to some degree or another since 1978 for the pain I was having racing- and for the chronic injuries since. I had John Mellancamps fiddler as one of my first instructors at an Ashram. If I could only do one form of exercise, it would be yoga- mind, body, flexibility, BALANCE of muscles and structure, BREATHING- I usually only do about five or six poses now- not elaborate- and it only takes maybe 15 minutes unless I want to go longer- the best!
Saved me from a number of sprains when I turned an ankle or missed a step- just gives you that extra range to turn or flex without injuring.
People these days want to turn it into a line dance, and then they complain they've hurt themselves somehow. The beauty is that even if you overstretch or strain something, it is usually just a day or two before settling it back out. Newer practioners are more prone to overstretch, but the first rule is that if you feel pain, you've overdone it. It's not like training where you intentionally stress to build up the level- you progress without pain in yoga.
me circa 1993
Last edited by harpon; 01-23-12 at 10:27 AM.