T Nation

Stretching...

Ok, let me clear this up, ihave to know, don responded to one of my posts saying that stretching shouldnt be done before a workout, cause you can’t lift as heavy, is that true, but that’s not my main concern, why the hell are all these people including t-mag telling us to stretch before and after workouts, or just before, to limber you up, so you can perform more movement in your exercise, and so you can grow more, man i notice if i don’t stretch i can lift more, but some exercises where you need flexibility you cant perform as well, or if at all for me thats the case. He said to just to do warm up sets before your exercise, and stretch before you go to bed, thats sounds ok now that i think about it, but arent you asking for an injury if you don’t stretch before a workout?? help me out here.

I definitely think it’s a good idea to stretch before a workout. The benefits of joint lubrication, injury prevention, and more effective motor recruitment far outweight the negatives of lifting slightly less weight. However, I have found that all you need to do to restore and exceed, your pre stretching strength levels is to use progressively heavier warm-up sets. Keep the reps low in the warm-up sets, but increase the weight with each added set, until in your last warm-up set you’re using the same weight as your first work set, but only for one rep. Try this and see if you can’t lift more than you normally would.

When I trained with C.F he belived in a proper warm-up lasting almost 30min.The warm-up consisted of med ball,ab work and some ballistic stretching.We then did extensive PNF stretching after the main work-out was completed.I personally like to stretch my lower body thourghly before a squat or deadlift session.

basically the people who advocate not stretching before a workout don’t know what they are talking about. there was a study a few years ago that showed if you did long static stretching RIGHT BEFORE you tried a maximal lift, it decreased your strength. So if you are at a powerlifting competition and going for your personal best, don’t do long static stretching right before, do dynamic or plyometric. But if you are just doing a normal workout, do stretch and THEN do your warmup sets. Whatever strength you lose from the stretching will be regained while you warmup.

I don’t think anyone can give you a definitive answer with regard to pre-workout stretch and injury. You can find evidence to support both sides of the argument. It is probably more important to make sure the muscle is warm before heavy lifting (eg. short cardio warm up). Light stretching should be of benefit as well. If you are lifting heavier without stretch you are relying more on non-contractile elements of the muscle for the lift. This means two things 1) the connective tissue and ultrastructural proteins in the muscle are likely contributing to the stretch-reflex and you are not actually realizing the full load at the contractile protein level. You may be stronger, but the training effect is reduced and 2)by relying on the structural elements of the muscle you are going to be more prone to injury. Contactile proteins are easy for the muscle to regenerate. Connective tissue is more difficult to repair, so if you injure the myotendinous junction recovery will be longer.

Stretching during other times during the day should help recovery. It has been clearly demonstrated that passive stretching elicits increased production/availability of growth factors and increased transcription of factors responsible for hypertrophy.

I’ll say something unpopular. I love stretching before a workout. And I do Ballistic stretching (GASP!)! After I’m warmed up good, but it works. I do static stretching afterwards. Find something that works for you. If a workout or diet program won’t work for everyone, why would a stretching program?

I remember Ian King answering a very similar question a while back. He advocates warming up on a bike, etc, then stretching and then a 20 minute specific warm up session using the joint angles about to be worked.
There was another article a while back that provided a good combination of static and dynamic stretching, which I’ve used to good effect. You may want to look it up.

I also read a study (I think in a Weider mag) that concluded that if you stretch BETWEEN SETS this promotes muscle development (both strength AND size). Does anyone know whether this is the case?

Wasn’t that originally from Parillo ? He probably has it from someelse too.
It is about stretching fascia that surounds the muscle. It would deinhibit the golgi organs in the fascia there by allowing the muscles to be contracted more forcefully. This off course elicits more growth if you want it. Pavel says this to be true. He recomends strethcing the fascia for strength and increased flexibilty.
Hey this might be a nice subject for a T-article. ‘How to stretch your fascia’

ok, so if i did the lazy-man’s guide to stretching before a lower body workout, or upper whatever the case, then do warm-up sets, i should get good results, cause i’ve read everywhere that stretching does help you grow more and increase your strength in the long run, but as for warm up sets, i’ve never actaully done warm sets, i just hit the weights after i stretch, but im gonna start doing warm up sets, first off do you use an empty bar, or use weight?? i’m a newbie to training, if that helps at all? i heard doug say do 2 sets of warm ups per 100lbs of weight or something?? thx.

Studies definitively show that stretching before a workout will NOT reduce the risk of injuries. A quick warm-up, however, WILL.

If you still insist on stretching, make sure you do it AFTER your workout, when it won’t negatively affect your performance.

Sure it’s the Weider Principle of Interset Myofibril Lengthening!

After a prolonged stretch the muscle in question experiences agonist inhibition and is neurologically in a relaxed state. You may experience a “letting go” of the muscle while you’re stretching it; that is agonist inhibition. Although a decrease in the series elastic element’s (non- contractile tissue)elasticity may contribute to a reduction in strength, I think the reduced neurological activity plays a greater role. I also believe that neurologic activity is very dynamic and the “excitation” lost in pre-work out stretching can easily be regained if one does a “speciffic warm up” prior to their heavy lifting. So a pre work out sequence would consist of: a general warm up, stretching and lastly a speciffic warm up. This is a lot but it is a great way to simultaneously improve your flexibility and psychologically prepare for the heavy stuff.

I always warmup then do stretching for at least 15 min. then I workout. Immediately following workout, I again stretch for about 15-20 minutes.It seems to aid in the body moving the next couple of days when pain is at it’s highest level.I have noticed my lifts getting better and my body getting bigger by this practice. But as someone said, to each their own.