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  1. #1
    I hate hills.
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    Are you stretching or what?

    How the heck do ya get more flexible especially in the hamstrings? Are you guys stretching every night or what? I can't even touch my toes, I am about 2 inches short, maybe one. How long does it take to get more flexible. If I stretch 3 times a day, get to the point where I can touch my toes with ease, Can i drop my saddle to bar height and be a little more aero and still be comfortable?

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    There is no scientific basis for stretching. There is a reason not to stretch as it tears muscle from what I've read on the subject. That said, it seems to help some. I'm "tight jointed" which means I'm inherently inflexible. I maintain flexibility by weight training with a carefully selected set of exercises over my normal range (and not more) of motion. I can easily touch the floor much less my just my toes.

    For me, stretching is not a good use of my time. I'd rather be ridding, cross training or just goofing off. Weight training is far more useful than stretching for the time spent.

    Al

  3. #3
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    Check out this website for some stretching exercises http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/...ec/stretching/

    I found that regular stretching has helped me stay loose on the bike gives me more energy, focus, and has helped me to breathe properly.

    Here is another site with some hatha yoga stretches. http://www.hathayogalesson.com/

    Just remeber to take it real easy when starting out, and don't forget to breathe and relax.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake76
    How the heck do ya get more flexible especially in the hamstrings? Are you guys stretching every night or what? I can't even touch my toes, I am about 2 inches short, maybe one. How long does it take to get more flexible. If I stretch 3 times a day, get to the point where I can touch my toes with ease, Can i drop my saddle to bar height and be a little more aero and still be comfortable?
    Cyclists are notorious for tight hamstrings. And having them tight can definitely affect your abililty to drop your bars and be comfortable.

    I've been using Cyclo-Zen a bit, and it has a nice series of stretches and exercises title "fix the back, stay in the drops". It covers the hams and other important muscles.

    http://cyclo-zen.com/

    My back is already in better shape, though I haven't dropped my bars yet.

    And to comment on what Al said, weightlifting also tears muscle fibers.
    Eric

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  5. #5
    BloomBikeShop.com BloomBikeShop's Avatar
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    I don't do much stretching, especially not before a ride.

    But like ericgu I do cyclo-zen and yoga stuff, which helps out enough for me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I like to contribute a little story:
    I used to run and jog. Well, eventually my joints started to tell me that I cannot do that. So I got into biking big time. For a few years that is all I did and here in cold weather country that means trainer in winter.
    Something unpleasant happened. I had a severe bike accident and had to stop biking for a while. During recovery I stared long walks. To my amazement I could not do a 12 mile walk around a park without suffering pain in my foot joints. I mean that it was so bad that I had trouble walking at all.
    Eventual I conditioned such that I was OK.
    The moral of this story is: Biking alone is not a whole body exercise. I now do weight lifting, walking, stretching and other random moves to keep whole body fit.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    I like to contribute a little story:
    I used to run and jog. To my amazement I could not do a 12 mile walk around a park without suffering pain in my foot joints. I mean that it was so bad that I had trouble walking at all.
    Eventual I conditioned such that I was OK.
    The moral of this story is: Biking alone is not a whole body exercise. I now do weight lifting, walking, stretching and other random moves to keep whole body fit.

    There's some thing about walking/jogging that helps my cycling and overall endurance. Probably the weight bearing, though I weight lift. When I've really pushed it cycling and my muscles feel tight, a couple of miles of walking totally relaxes them.

    I jogged for decades and eventally my knees started to hurt. I gave it up, but recently started again for just a few blocks during the walks. Even that amount makes me feel better.

    Cross training is necessary, especially to counter the effects of aging.

    Al

  8. #8
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    I usually do some stretches on the bike on a longer ride, plus stretch out the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, glutes, calves and back once I get warmed up on a normal day.

  9. #9
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    I know a women who insists on these crazy Yoga stretches. She stays injured a great deal of the time. The more you stretch, the looser those muscles/ligaments/tendons get and the less well your joints are kept together and the more prone one becomes to injury. I rarely, very rarely, get injured, yet I've stressed myself to the extreme on a regular basis for nearly 40 years. Stretching is a fad.

    Al

    Here is an excerpt of an article from:

    http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.a...cle/stretching

    "Which brings us back to our original question of what happens to the body when we do all this stretching over a long period of time, the answer is many things:
    Firstly as the connective tissue at the joint is the weakest point along the line we end up stretching the ligament, the small fibrous tissues that plays an important role in the support of the joint against dislocation and excessive, incorrect movement. Over time this constant stretching of a ligament causes it to stretch and become loose and weakened, making the joint hyper mobile and changing the important relationship that ligament has with muscles that also support that joint.

    As we know from the science books a stretched loose ligament stays that way and doesn’t return to its original length even after a long time has passed, especially if it is continually being stretched.

    As a result the person doing the stretching feels looser and they are, in the joint, but that only makes them more susceptible to injury’s like dislocation or more serious joint or ligament damage. A hyper mobile joint might work well in ballet or for martial arts kicks but it is not a good thing for a person involved in sports such as basketball, soccer, football, netball, or any activity involving body contact or where they are changing direction quickly."

    And:

    http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/ar...5/Feature1.asp

    "May 5, 2004

    Now, research suggests that stretching may not do your body as much good as people thought. After reviewing more than 350 scientific studies, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that stretching may not reduce the chance of injury.

    "There's insufficient evidence to demonstrate that stretching is effective," says Stephen Thacker. He's director of the CDC's epidemiology program in Atlanta, Ga.

    Athletic performance

    If it's athletic performance you're after, don't expect stretching to help you run faster, jump higher, or throw a ball farther, either. Some studies show that stretching may actually slow you down, especially if you do it before you play your sport.

    To top it off, it now looks as if stretching may actually make you even more likely to get hurt, says Stacy Ingraham.

    Ingraham is an exercise physiologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research focuses on injuries in women and girls, who tend to hurt their muscles and joints more often than men do.

    "Certain athletes stretch all the time," Ingraham says. "They're the ones who usually get hurt." "

  10. #10
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of stretching ("warming up" is clearly a better a strategy)... but I would like to point out one thing: stretching and yoga are not the same thing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancemac
    I'm not a fan of stretching ("warming up" is clearly a better a strategy)... but I would like to point out one thing: stretching and yoga are not the same thing.
    What is the difference between the 2? Sorry I mean stretching and yoga?
    Last edited by !!Comatoa$ted; 09-18-06 at 05:50 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancemac
    I'm not a fan of stretching ("warming up" is clearly a better a strategy)... but I would like to point out one thing: stretching and yoga are not the same thing.
    I may have misspoken then. What I possibly should have said/written is that she gets into these positions that forces her joints into angles that appear totally unnatural and beyond the normal range of motion. She demonstrated some of these positions and I've seen pictures of some on the web.

    When younger, I used to ignore warm-ups. NowI feel a real benefit. Also, it takes something like 10 minutes or more of exercise for your aerobic system to kick-in to stressfull exercise levels which by itself is a good reason to warm up.

    Then there's cool-down. Never bothered with it until this summer when I felt sightly dizzy for a few minutes after a near personnal best 18 mile time on our local singletrack. It was hot and humid. I picked up an issue of Mountain Bike Action the following week and they had an article on that. During hot weather, the solution is a cool down period where you slowly decrease the intensity. Solved the problem, or I just never got dizzy again.

    Al

  13. #13
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    yoga is awesome. most "westerners" spend much of each day pushed into unnatural positions, because we spend a lot of time in or on chairs, cars, couches, and bicycles (etc.). sitting down all the time screws your lower back royally. it also tends to lead to bad posture. riding a bike isn't the best thing for the balance of strength in muscles, either. just about any repetitive action is going to create some kind of imbalance in your body. i haven't been practicing enough, for months, but yoga does help me use better posture, be more aware of what my body is doing, stretch out "tight" muscles that pull against the over-stretched muscles in my back, etc. when you have tension issues (neck, back, shoulders) it's probably because you're clenching up, and you've been doing it for hours. stretching those clenched muscles out will help make them feel better.

    i can't speak for anyone else (although i can refer to the many, many positive personal testimonies i've read or heard) but yoga has been a great force for good in my life. it's made both my body and brain feel better. i don't know about its effect on joints, but until now i'd never read anything suggesting that yoga has a bad effect on joints--i'd heard the opposite. i think that just shows that people can disagree about anything, and if you want to know the answer, you have to try it for yourself and see what happens i had a knee injury during yoga, but it was from bearing weight, not from stretching.

    btw, yoga involves a lot of stretching, and if you wanted, you could make a yoga practice that was just "stretching," although some people might say it isn't really yoga. yoga is, i guess, a kind of spirituality or lifestyle, but most americans probably use it as a form of exercise or meditation. the poses and movements are meant to inspire mindfulness and awareness. yoga is a whole system of beliefs and practice, with sitting meditation, breathing techniques, philosophies about how to treat people and yourself, etc. but again, that's not what most americans seem to use it for. it's mostly for fitness, stress relief, mindfulness, etc. i can say that for me it absolutely is beneficial in those capacities. i have my own life philosophies so i don't use yoga's (although i'm willing to learn from it!). anyway, for a lot of people it probably is just physical movement, but it wasn't necessarily intended to be used that way.

  14. #14
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    I know I dont practice all the facets of yoga, but I like to do the stretches and breathing exercises. For the breathing alone it is worth it. I can breathe much more effectivly when I exerting myself and find I am able to go harder longer because of what yoga has taught me.

    The stretches have made it so that my knees no longer hurt when I am on a ride and the back and shoulder discomfort are greatly minimised. After I injured my back this summer I found yoga stretches and relaxation techniques really helped reduce the pain, better than the perscribed analgesics did

  15. #15
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    There is no scientific basis for stretching.
    HUh? If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to stretch. Having flexibility allows you to do a split without ripping muscles. Having flexibility allows you to be a first baseman in baseball. Having flexibility allows you to move into positions with less pain. It allows you to run hurdles. It allows you to slip and fall without pulling a muscle if you should fall funny.

    But, as a cyclist, I do not see any need to stretch. None at all. There is very little movement on a bike that is out of the normal ranges of motion. But if you are like most people and actually do more than just ride a bike 24 hours a day, you may want to increase your flexibility. Just be sure to stretch when warmed up to avoid injuries.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady
    HUh? If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to stretch. Having flexibility allows you to do a split without ripping muscles. Having flexibility allows you to be a first baseman in baseball. Having flexibility allows you to move into positions with less pain. It allows you to run hurdles. It allows you to slip and fall without pulling a muscle if you should fall funny.
    I've heard it argued that all the benefits you list from stretching are actually better achieved by strengthening the muscles. According to these folks, stretching to the point that it burns only stretches your ligaments. This does in fact make you seem more flexible, but it also, you know, loosens your ligaments, impairing their ability to do their job - holding things in place - which aint exactly a great idea.

    I've never liked to stretch, so I like that argument, tho I have no idea how valid it actually is.

    annecdotally speaking, I did discover recently that my weight training program has made it much easier for me touch my toes, actually touch pretty far beyond my toes.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady
    HUh? If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to stretch. Having flexibility allows you to do a split without ripping muscles. Having flexibility allows you to be a first baseman in baseball. Having flexibility allows you to move into positions with less pain. It allows you to run hurdles. It allows you to slip and fall without pulling a muscle if you should fall funny.

    But, as a cyclist, I do not see any need to stretch. None at all. There is very little movement on a bike that is out of the normal ranges of motion. But if you are like most people and actually do more than just ride a bike 24 hours a day, you may want to increase your flexibility. Just be sure to stretch when warmed up to avoid injuries.
    I think part of the problem is that poster's lack of knowledge about stretching. I think they're referring to static stretching, on which the "jury is still out" as to its benefits towards physical activity. Personally, I notice a positive difference when i stretch every day. I actually get injured biking if I don't stretch for a while.

    As to his friend who hurts herself with Yoga/stretching that's because it sounds like she misunderstands them like most people. A lot of people try to stretch way beyond the capabilities/length of their muscles and when they do that, they not only tear muscle but also connective tissue. When you stretch, the muscle fiber is pulled to its full length sarcomere by sarcomere, and when they're all in full length, any further stretching will occur at the connective tissue. Proper stretching will NOT tear muscle. That is a complete misunderstanding of it. Rather, it realigns the sarcomeres -- a positive thing.

    In addition to stretching (look into both static and dynamic stretching) you should look into strengthening the opposing muscles to your hamstring. If they're too weak, this can act as though you're less flexible. HTH.

  18. #18
    Scottish Canuck in the US blue_nose's Avatar
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    + 1 on the yoga. Really helps with overall flexibility and core strength, which are big pluses on the bike.

    I also stretch after a ride for a few minutes. I find this helps with recovery and my legs feel better when I start my ride the next day.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    A lot of the arguments about stretching brings up examples of injury. I would say that most of these injuries are cause not by stretching itself, but from improper technique and form. Going too far too fast, bouncing, using your weight, etc.

    Stretching's benefits are also variable depending upon the level of activity. I find post-workout stretching to be of immense benefit to recovery and fast fitness & strength development. Pre-workout stretching isn't as important while a slow & gradual warm-up is always needed. You don't want to go out and hammer 100% effort sprints 50ft from your front-door.

  20. #20
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    Those who think that stretching is good should try to convince the CDC to change their findings. Me, I'll go with the scientists.

    Al

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.canoe
    Those who think that stretching is good should try to convince the CDC to change their findings. Me, I'll go with the scientists.

    Al
    Actually, it's not so cut and dried. First off, the researcher who you "believe" himself is not willing to say his study disproves the benefit of stretching:

    In case future research does find a benefit, Thacker has no problem with athletes continuing to do gentle stretching. That’s not the case with stretches that include sudden fast movements, called “ballistic stretches,” which have been found in other studies to raise injury risks.
    Further, he is but one researcher (at the Center for Disease Control no less), many others have found, and believe, that certain types of stretching ARE of benefit.

    Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., said her experience in treating people with injuries tells her that those who don’t stretch may find they can’t move their arms and legs as far as they used to, and this could set them up for injury.
    Also, there are different types of stretching (none of them the same in how they affect the muscles/joints/connective tissue) and they only tested static stretching at CDC.

  22. #22
    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    Yes. After I run or ride I do some minimum stretching of the hamstrings and neck area. Seems to help my recovery. Later.

  23. #23
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    There is no scientifically based research showing the benefits and the safety of stretching and there are studies showing a greater propensity for injury while participating in sports and the risk of long term damage to boot. There is absolutely no evidence that stretching avoids injuries. It's pretty clear to me that the prudent decision is not to stretch unless one absolutely has too on occasion. If I feel a cramp coming on, and I don't have time to walk it off, I'll stretch gently. However, the more fit one is compared to the level of activity that caused the cramp in the first place, the less often this happens.

    For me, that might occur on the first ATB ride in the mountains (I live in the flat-lands) as I push it hard to adapt quickly as I want to maximize the fun factor for the month I'm up there. I'm up there every other month. After that, I rarely feel even tight. Rather than stretching, I'll walk if I can.

    I'll tell you, it's darn nice to be retired, as active as ever ( and I've been active to the extreme, where the potential for injury is concerned ) and be absolutely pain free and in top condition. I attribute part of that to the fact I avoided stretching my joints into looseness over my prevous 40 years of my fitness program. Weight training accomplishes the results desired with stretching, but it strengthens the attachment of the joints (muscles/tendons/ligaments) instead of weakening them. It also helps to avoid damage when you hit the ground or the tree which I sometimes do mountain biking. In other words, there are alternatives.

    A friend of mine is an avid football fan and follows the pro teams. He claims that the teams are cutting out stretching. I cannot vouch for this myself, but it makes sense based on numerous articles on stretching I've seen. Common sense will eventually over-ride folklore, but it takes time. Look at diet books, they still sell by the millions, yet we are getting fatter and fatter.

    possibly, there will be research that proves the studies to date were faulty. I don't think so. Something positive would have shown up by now. After all, CDC alone looked at 350 studies. At the very least, there are folks out there who get by very well with out stretching. And in my case, if I don't weight train, I can't even come close to touching my toes, much less the floor.

    Al
    Last edited by Al.canoe; 09-20-06 at 07:36 AM.

  24. #24
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    I found a few abstracts about stretching on CINAHL that I though may be of intersest to some people. I picked these at random. I like stretching and yoga myself so I am all for it, but there are different results from the studies and meta analyses.
    In the end the descision is yours and you should do what feels best


    2009046680.

    Special Fields Contained Fields available in this record: abstract, cited references.

    Author Andersen JC.

    Institution University of Tampa Athletic Training Education, 401 West Kennedy Boulevard, Box 35F, Tampa, FL 33606; jcandersen@ut.edu.

    Title Stretching before and after exercise: effect on muscle soreness and injury risk.

    Source Journal of Athletic Training. 2005 Jul-Sep; 40(3): 218-20. (7 ref)

    Abbreviated Source J ATHLETIC TRAIN. 2005 Jul-Sep; 40(3): 218-20. (7 ref)

    Abstract Reference: Herbert RD, Gabriel M. Effects of stretching before and after exercise on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review. BMJ. 2002;325:468.
    Clinical Question: Among physically active individuals, does stretching before and after exercise affect muscle soreness and risk of injury?
    Data Sources: Studies were identified by searching MEDLINE (1966-February 2000), EMBASE (1988-February 2000), CINAHL (1982-1999), SPORT Discus (1949-1999), and PED-ro (to February 2000). I searched the reference lists of identified studies manually until no further studies were identified. The search terms stretch, exercise, warm-up, and cool down were used in all databases except MEDLINE. In MEDLINE, an optimized OVID search strategy was used. This strategy included the terms searched in the other databases as well as terms such as flexibility, athletic injuries, sports, soreness, and muscle.
    Study Selection: The search was limited to English-language articles obtained from the electronic searches and the subsequent manual searches. This review included randomized or quasirandomized investigations that studied the effects of any stretching technique, before or after exercise, on delayed-onset muscle soreness, risk of injury, or athletic performance. Studies were included only if stretching occurred immediately before or after exercising.
    Data Extraction: Data extraction and assessment of study quality were well described. The principal outcome measures were measurements of muscle soreness and indices of injury risk. Results from the soreness studies were pooled by converting the numeric scores to percentages of the maximum possible score. These data were then reported as millimeters on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Results of comparable studies were pooled using a fixed-effects model meta-analysis. Survival analysis using a Cox regression model was calculated on the time-to-event (injury) data.
    Main Results: The total number of articles identified using the search criteria was not provided; however, 5 studies on stretching and muscle soreness met inclusion and exclusion criteria. All of the studies meeting the criteria employed static stretching. One group reported the findings from 2 experiments, resulting in 6 studies meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria. For the risk of injury, 2 studies, both investigating lower extremity injury risk in army recruits undergoing 12 weeks of basic training, met inclusion and exclusion criteria. On the basis of the PEDro scale, the methodologic quality of the studies included in the review was moderate (range, 2-7 of 10), with a mean of 4.1. For the studies on muscle soreness, 3 groups evaluated postexercise stretching, whereas 2 evaluated preexercise stretching. The participant characteristics from the 5 studies were noted to be reasonably homogeneous. Subjects in all studies were healthy young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 years (inclusive). For all studies but one, total stretching time per session ranged from 300 to 600 seconds. The exception was one study in which total stretching time was 80 seconds. Data from 77 subjects were pooled for the meta-analysis of muscle soreness outcomes at 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercising. At 24 hours postexercise, the pooled mean effect of stretching after exercise was -0.9 mm (on a 100-mm scale; negative values favor stretching), with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of -4.4 to 2.6 mm. At 48 hours, the pooled mean effect was 0.3 mm (95% CI = -4.0 to 4.5 mm), whereas at 72 hours, the pooled mean effect was -1.6 mm (95% CI = -5.9 to 2.6 mm). In each of these analyses, the results were not statistically significant in favor of either stretching or not stretching. For the studies on risk of lower extremity injury, the authors provided time-to-event (injury) data from 2630 subjects (65 military trainee platoons). These data were then combined and resulted in the allocation of 1284 subjects to stretching groups and 1346 subjects to control groups. The survival analysis identified a pooled estimate of the all-injuries hazard ratio of 0.95 (ie, a 5% decrease in injury risk; 95% CI = 0.78 to 1.16), which was not statistically significant.
    Conclusions: The data on stretching and muscle soreness indicate that, on average, individuals will observe a reduction in soreness of less than 2 mm on a 100-mm scale during the 72 hours after exercise. With respect to risk of injury, the combined risk reduction of 5% indicates that the stretching protocols used in these studies do not meaningfully reduce lower extremity injury risk of army recruits undergoing military training.



    Heres another one

    2005112079 NLM Unique Identifier: 15911608.

    Special Fields Contained Fields available in this record: abstract.

    Author Verrall GM. Slavotinek JP. Barnes PG.

    Institution SPORTSMED.SA, Adelaide, Australia; verrallg@bigpond.com.

    Title The effect of sports specific training on reducing the incidence of hamstring injuries in professional Australian Rules football players.

    Source British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005 Jun; 39(6): 363-8. (22 ref)

    Abbreviated Source BR J SPORTS MED. 2005 Jun; 39(6): 363-8. (22 ref)

    Abstract OBJECTIVES: To assess in a single team of Australian Rules football players the effect of a specific intervention program on the incidence and consequence of hamstring muscle strain injuries. METHOD: A prospective study was performed with a single team being followed for four playing seasons for hamstring injury. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to confirm the diagnosis of hamstring muscle injury. After two playing seasons an intervention program was implemented with the number of athletes with hamstring injury, competition days missed, and incidence of hamstring match injuries per 1000 h of playing time being compared pre- and post-intervention. The intervention program involved stretching whilst fatigued, sport specific training drills, and an emphasis on increasing the amount of high intensity anaerobic interval training. RESULTS: In the seasons prior to the intervention, nine and 11 athletes sustained hamstring injury compared to two and four following intervention. Competition days missed reduced from 31 and 38 to 5 and 16 following intervention and match incidence decreased from 4.7 to 1.3 per 1000 h of playing time. A beneficial effect was demonstrated with a smaller number of players having hamstring injuries (p = 0.05), a lower number of competition games missed being recorded (p < 0.001), and a decrease in hamstring strain incidence per 1000 h of playing time (p = 0.01) following the intervention program. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the amount of anaerobic interval training, stretching whilst the muscle is fatigued, and implementing sport specific training drills resulted in a significant reduction in the number and consequences of hamstring muscle strain injuries.




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    2004186315 NLM Unique Identifier: 15076777.

    Special Fields Contained Fields available in this record: abstract.

    Author Thacker SB. Gilchrist J. Stroup DF. Kimsey CD Jr..

    Institution Director, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS C08, Atlanta, GA 30333; sbt1@cdc.gov.

    Title The impact of stretching on sports injury risk: a systematic review of the literature.

    Source Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2004 Mar; 36(3): 371-8. (98 ref)

    Abbreviated Source MED SCI SPORTS EXERC. 2004 Mar; 36(3): 371-8. (98 ref)

    Abstract PURPOSE: We conducted a systematic review to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of stretching as a tool to prevent injuries in sports and to make recommendations for research and prevention. METHODS: Without language limitations, we searched electronic data bases, including MEDLINE (1966-2002), Current Contents (1997-2002), Biomedical Collection (1993-1999), the Cochrane Library, and SPORTDiscus, and then identified citations from papers retrieved and contacted experts in the field. Meta-analysis was limited to randomized trials or cohort studies for interventions that included stretching. Studies were excluded that lacked controls, in which stretching could not be assessed independently, or where studies did not include subjects in sporting or fitness activities. All articles were screened initially by one author. Six of 361 identified articles compared stretching with other methods to prevent injury. Data were abstracted by one author and then reviewed independently by three others. Data quality was assessed independently by three authors using a previously standardized instrument, and reviewers met to reconcile substantive differences in interpretation. We calculated weighted pooled odds ratios based on an intention-to-treat analysis as well as subgroup analyses by quality score and study design. RESULTS: Stretching was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries (OR = 0.93, CI 0.78-1.11) and similar findings were seen in the subgroup analyses. CONCLUSION: There is not sufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine stretching before or after exercise to prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes. Further research, especially well-conducted randomized controlled trials, is urgently needed to determine the proper role of stretching in sports

  25. #25
    going downhill fast maximusvt's Avatar
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    Coma, your research is appreciated but it is a little much to wade through.

    My experience is, before I started stretching regularly (just a few minutes every morning/night and before and after every long ride), My legs would feel like lead the day after a 40 mile ride. Now that I make a point to stretch, I am able to do a 70 or 80 miler and the next day, not be as achy as I was when I didn't stretch... That's all I need to convince me that it's a worthwhile practice.
    ...and don't forget to stretch!

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