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Pre-Workout Stretching

Okay, who stretches before they train with weights? I will tell you that I used to, but based on some threads I read on Mel Siff’s Supertraining Group and based on a telephonic discussion I had with Coach Jay Schroeder (first round draft pick Adam Archuleta’s trainer featured on ESPN a few months ago), I have stopped doing this (pre-workout that is – I do train flexibility and do stretch lightly post workout). The theory being that it kills the stretch reflex and thus reduces strength. Well, to say I don’t pre-workout stretch isn’t quite accurate – its just that I stretch by doing a curcuit using some of the exercises I will be training with, only with lighter weights (which Coach Schroader disapproved of). When I start training with the real weights (the work sets that is), I only move the bar through a comfortable range of motion (which tends to increase with each successive set). I have been doing this for about 10 weeks now, and have not suffered any injuries or greater than normal soreness. Moreover, I have felt “fresher” when hitting my work sets. So what do you guys think about this? I know that the Ian Kings of the world would not approve, but thusfar I have suffered no ill effects.

matt - if you aren’t suffering any ill effects from it and it makes you feel fresh when the real workout begins then i say keep it up. it sounds like you might have stumbled upon something that works really for you. i know that for me (since i workout at 5am) i have to stretch before certain exercises or i will regret it. if i don’t get my traps/neck good and loose before a heavy set of shrugs i won’t be able to look up or turn my head to my blind spot when driving. this really sucks. there are a few others, but that’s the main one. i usually stretch during the workout and after though. helps me stay loose and not tighten up post workout. kevo

For me working through a light range of motion with the Bench/squat/rotator cuffs using the shoulder horn/ and some light shrugs seems to keep me in check. I’ll do these during the workout right before each specific exercise.

Actually I work out at 5 a.m. too – 'course everyone thinks I am crazy to do so!

i get the same response from people too! i run into guys looking for a workout partners and as soon as they find out what time i hit the gym they change the subject! 5am takes some getting used to but hey, the gym isn’t crowded and i can knock it out at a consistent and comfortable pace. how does that old saying go, “the early bird gets the squat rack.”? :o)kevo

I have quit pretraining stretching and also warmups for the most part

I understand that the stretch reflex is something to be exploited when training towards certain goals, but I don’t think that it should be used all the time.

Keep in mind that the more flexible your muscle is, the more energy potential it has. Like a rubber band, the further you stretch it, the more energy is built up.

Also, when the antagonist muscle is stretch pre-set, the agonist can contract more forcefully.

The solution might be to strecth the antagonist muscle during workouts. That way, you still are stretching and reaping the benefits of improved flexibility, while not losing any of that energy you seem to be missing. You may even have a slight increase in strength while you’re at it.

You could also try to stretch legs on arm days and vice versa. Stretching is necessary. You won’t notice the damage until it’s too late.

I’ve had partial tears in my chest twice from deep stretching in between sets of bench. I’ve seen some research blurbs saying that stretching before training will increase chances of injury. Their opinion was that warming up was more important. 5 minutes of light stationary bike was recommended preworkout.

After seeing the piece on Coach Schroeder on ESPN, I was awestruck with some of the things that he had been doing with Adam Archuleta. I immediately researched the eccentric hamstring exercises and put them to use with my athletes. However, I would really like to know how to contact Coach Schroeder so I can gain more insight on some of his seemingly awsome techniques.

Sorry, but Jay expressly asked me not to give out his e-mail address or telephone number. However, I will tell you that I stumbled across his e-mail address while researching his training methods. I fired an e-mail to him and he responded. I am sure you will find his e-mail address on the net with a little diligence. If you do contact him, you will find that he is a really genuine and passionate guy who is very willing to share his knowledge. Good luck.

Matt, Thanks for the lead and I will be sure to research in depth for the e-mail address. It is great to relate to someone who actually keeps their word to someone else.

Static stretching before exercise or sport relaxes the muscles and nervous system thus making you prone to injuries. You should however PNF stretch which uses resistance and activates the nervous system and muscles getting you ready for up coming exercise.
Static should be done after 4-6 hrs later.

warming up is generally a good thing. PNF is a grey area–among other things not neccessary imo but probably not harmful, static is a no no. I ALWAYS used to stretch before working out, but especially before basketball… till i bought Beyond Stretching by Pavel a few yrs ago. That is the on single greatest thing i got from there. don’t stretch before hand.

I remember reading that Pavel was not in favor of warm-ups