T Nation

Stretching- How Much/How Often?


#1

I usually stretch muscles i have worked, during a workout, for 20 or so seconds for 3 "sets", is this enough? Should you only stretch muscles on days you have worked them??


#2

Good Question? I know on my lifting days I stretch every bodypart but the part Im working gets more. On my MMA days I stretch ALOT more because it limbers up my body. I am assuming you are stretching and holding for 20 seconds, and you have never injured yourself or strained a muscle so you must be doing it good?
I am curious to know some of the other answers though.
And think its important to stretch the bodypart you are training between sets?
FF


#3

I have not often stretched in between lifting sets. Some people on this site seem to say that stretching a muscle makes it temporarily weaker.


#4

Yes, isometric stretching will fatigue a muscle, so you don't wanna do it before you lift - instead, do a normal warmup followed by dynamic stretching. That'll limber you up quite enough. Isometric will keep you safe afterwards, help combat soreness the next day and so on. Isometric stretching should, apparently, be done for quite a while - 5 minutes per stretch is often touted. This is because a light stretch helps to condition the neuromuscular system to getting a little bit further before it tightens up... anyway, I believe Thomas Kurtz or Pavel Tatsuoline are your best bet for stretching.


#5

I'm sorry, but i don't know what isometric and/or dynamic stretching is.


#6

I still think fascial stretching the muscles you've worked after a workout is a good idea.


#7

There are many types of stretching... I believe isometric stretching is when you reach a certain point and hold it there, meaning that you probably are not applying a constant amount of force because you have chosen a point to stop. Dynamic stretching is movement stretching, butt kicks, walking straight leg raises, etc.

Now, the degree to which stretching will improve certain attributes is debatable. It totally depends on your goals. If you are a power type of athlete you probably do not want to stretch too much. You may get to the point of slight plastic deformation, which means you have stretched the muscle to the point where they will not return to their original length.

If your goal is to become very flexible for some reason then stretch is fine, and for bodybuilding it can have some practical applications because it has been found in some animals that prolonged stretching can increase cross-sectional area. This was done with 24 hour per day stretching done to dogs, and power and strength were not tested afterward. But it is important to know that stretching is electrically silent until the end range of motion is neared and stress is placed on the muscle fibers.

I have to go or I would write more but, I definitely stretching is overused and it maybe has more mental value than physical...


#8

if you want increase your flexibility try just setting 10-15 mins aside a day and stretching....really not that much when ya think about it