T Nation

Do you stretch enough???

HONESTLY, how often and for how long do you stretch? It’s really sad to see how many people (by far the majority) don’t do ANY stretching at all. Every time I train (after a 5-10 minute light cardio warm-up) I’ll stretch for about 15 minutes (static) with 20-30 second holds for all of the associated muscle groups. In between sets as well. Joint freedom and a full range of movement are key for me. I would like to think that the t-men/women here are different. I’m interested to hear what everyone has to say on this one. Please be honest now and thanks for your response.

I only stretch at the start and end of the workout. I don’t stretch during the workout cause I’ve been told that doing stretches will place stress on the connective tissue that’ll be under more stress when i lift, and could give rise to injuries.
Anyone, know if that is true?

I thought it was better to leave the majority of your stretching until after your workout is over. The reason being that stretching will remove some of the “tension” within the muscle and that having this tension would be beneficial. Please enlighten me.

I stretch fairly well before i start lifting and between warm up sets, but i also stretch between all work sets and can really feel it if i don’t. stretching reduces my pump and makes my muscles feel less worn out. the only time i’ve had minor injuries is when i haven’t stretched enough.

Warm-Up Muscles properly/sufficiently pre-work out. Do all my static stretching post workout. I also throw in localized self-massages to the muscle being stretched in between holds.

That’s what I do at least. After years of trying various stretching routines this works best for me. If I do static stretching pre-workout, my muscles don’t feel near as good during lifts as if I hold off till post workout.

stretching is useless apparently according to a recent indepth study done in australia which found that you are likely only to develop an injury from stretching once every 23 years! read this link for more info http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/ hi/health/2221716.stm :slight_smile:

I tend to stretch like so: triceps, pecs, biceps, upper back, hip flexors, lower back, hamstrings, quads, calves. Hold each streth for 10s

I do minimal stretching prior to working out; just more of a “warm up” type thing. If I’m not doing circuit work then I’ll stretch the applicable muscle between sets. Post workout stretching involves both static and dynamic stretches (sometimes self-massage too) for 10-15 minutes. I also do quick stretches 3-4 times throughout the day.

Stretching during your training can actually promote growth and it should be done when attempting to gain mass; if not, ur missing out.

I will be returning to a 10-15 post-warm-up, pre-workout static stretching period before all weightlifting. I was doing this consistently for months with improved recovery, better ROM, better workouts and less chronic aches and pains.

In the last 6 months or so, I've dropped all stretching and I have felt it.

The reason I do pre-workout stretching is that by the end of my workouts, I'm really not in the mood to stretch or do anything but drink Surge and take a shower.

Oh yeah. Most people’s stretching routines wont cut it to promote growth; even if it is done during training.

Do you have any evidence to back that up?

I was pretty sure that the most beneficial type of stretching (that which produces the greatest gains) was loaded stretching ie that which is done durring exercise (performing olympic lifts and there derivatives is a great way of increasing flexibility but no one would really consider ‘stretching’) . I also read several studies that showed that stretching does virtually nothing to reduce rate of injury. Now it sounds like I dont like stretching but the truth is that i love it and stretch as much nearly anyone. Before and durring trainings I perform more dynamic stretches or static stretches held for only short periods of time, After trainings I perform static stretches where i maintain the stretch for a little while eg 30 seconds for 3 repeats. And inbetween trainings I might do some pnf type stretching. I find that my recovery is best when my stretching routine is like this. So while im skeptical about Joels Statement I sure hope its true.

I’m a piece a shit. I never stretch until tonight! I hope.

I have found GPP post weights great warm down/stretch and then follow up with approx 10 mins static, one of the most enjoyable parts.

When I first started Karate (Tang So Do), I did a lot of streatching. When I did Aikido, ditto. Then I studied Uechi Ryu. My instructors, 2 5th Dans flat stated it did no good. They did minimal stretches. Both were full contact champs and had practiced for over 15 years each. Then I also read the Austrailian study and stretching may in fact induce injuries by increasing the instability around the joints.

I personally do not stretch except when my back gets extemely tight after doing good mornings and deads. I easily go as far as the yoga practitioners here in my gym (and they are flexible). Just my two cents.

What is the difference between static, balistic, dynamic, etc. stretching?? Thank you

I’d be interested to hear what the T-Maggers think of the article I recently wrote on this topic. Check out John Berardi’s website for an article called “Warming Up to a Great Workout.” Should be in his October update.

After my workout tonight, I got an excellent pump, and looked quite frankly, huge enough to shock myself. After 4 sets of squats and deads, my lower back was stiff, so I decided to do lower back stretches. I realized in shock, however, that I did not KNOW any such stretches! Lo and behold, a yoga nut is standing on his head in the olympic lifting area of the gym.

I casually walked into the area, did some swedish ball crunches, and waited for the guy to finish. After all, stretching is all he appeared capable of. An idea struck me: this dude might help me with the problem! So I said, “Excuse me, can you show me some lower back stretches?”, to which he gladly agreed. I thought I’d share this with all you people who like me have trouble walking after all those squats and deads, what with the stiff lower back.

I have no idea what the stretch is called, but it goes like this:

  1. Lie on a mat on your back, forming a cross with your body (arms perpendicular to the torso)
  2. Lift your knees into your chest.
  3. As your legs are lifted to your chest, cross them at the knees (watch the balls!)
  4. Keeping the shoulders on the floor, slowly lower the legs to one side, while turning your head the opposite way. Hold for 15s, breating in deep.
  5. Now bring the legs, still crossed, to the other side of your body, turn your head the oppsite way again. Hold, bring the legs up.
  6. Cross your legs the opposite way.
  7. repeat 4
  8. repeat 5

    Sure, yoga freaks aren’t real T-men, but damn if they don’t know good stretches! Needless to say, my back felt great, and I walked away feeling…un-stiff.

Harkonnen, that was useful information. I’m adding it to my repertoire. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

This is an area in which I have some interest. I asked Dave Tate of Westside Barbell fame his feelings on stretching and whether it added anything to powerlifting. He said, “Not much, just for injuries, recovery, etc.”

Pavel Tsatsouline of Kettle(bell/ball) fame seems to send contradictory messages in his book, Beyond Stretching. Here he’s got a book on how to stretch and how to achieve maximum flexibility, how to do a split, and then says
in his book, You can be too flexible, leading to injuries," and “…47 out of 50 professional baseball players tested had a better bat velocity without a warmup.”

Quoting from the same book . . .

"You are far better off not stretching at all than following the following advice:

  1. The more flexible one is, the better. You can’t be too flexible.

  2. Flexibility improves performance in any sport.

  3. Flexibility is the key to injury prevention.

  4. You will get injured if you don’t warm up and stretch before exercise.

  5. Injuries occur when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit.

  6. A stretch must be slow and steady. Dynamic stretching is dangerous and counterproductive.

  7. You must stretch every day.

  8. It takes years to achieve reasonable flexibility and it is lost quickly.

  9. You will never b e able to do splits unless you started very young.

  10. Very few males have the potential to do splits. (Huh? People really believe that?)

  11. You have to elongate your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in order to become flexible.

    FYI, I use Ian King’s Lazy Man’s Guide to Stretching. I stretch, full body, before every weight-bearing workout.