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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 03-29-2004, 02:52 PM   #1
KEG
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According to an article in the Associated Press, stretching before excercising did not prevent injuries! And the world is not round. Come on, what a bunch of nonsense.

See article http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...etching29.html
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:09 PM   #2
Lincoln Brigham
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No, it's not nonsense.

For years, 'experts' spouted off this advice like it was the Gospel, but they had zero proof to back it up. They just assumed, based on theory, that stretching should prevent injuries. Now that this assumption is being tested, the results are coming out differently than expected.
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:24 PM   #3
KEG
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It just seems to fly in the face of reason. I know I would never attempt today's WOD of Deadlifts without being fully stretched and warmed up. I would consider Deadlifts within my normal range of motion. If this theory proves to be true, many sports trainers will be looking for new jobs!
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:46 PM   #4
Roger Harrell
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It depends on what you mean by stretching preventing injury. I know for a fact that my being flexible has prevented me doing a lot of damage on several occasions. Here's the scenario.

First learning double backs of P-bars. Got a lousy swing, arms bent not enough to get around. Did 1 1/2 landed on the back of my head in a ball. My lower back, and next are flexible enough that I can place my knees on the floor next to my ears so when I landed in this not so nice position my knees hit the mat hard and took the brunt of the fall. Otherwise I would have pulled/possibly torn muscles and other tissue in my back and neck. As it was my neck was sore and stiff for a little while, but I was otherwise ok (freaked out a bit, but physically ok).

This is an extreeme example, but there have been numerous times where this type of mechanics were involved and flexibility allowed for ROM that helped prevent injury. Now will having a flexible hamstring help prevent a pulled hamstring during a 100 meter sprint? I don't know. That's the point of the article. They even have a little disclaimer in the bottom of the article that allows for my point in the paragraph above. Complete unbiased studies are the only way to settle these types of questions.
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:15 PM   #5
Lynne Pitts
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Research I've seen corroborates that stretching *before* exercise doesn't prevent injury, for two reasons. 1) Stretching cold tissue is not effective, and indeed can cause microtrauma, and 2) stretching can destabilize joints, so it's not great prior to strength work.

Stretching *after a warmup* is better; better yet is to stretch after the activity.

Warming up is good; both in getting the body ready for the assault on it, and getting used to the ROM for the exercise. Example (disclaimer: I'm a gimpy old tight person) I can bench close to double body weight, but I ALWAYS start with the bar, and work up gradually. That lets my joints and soft tissue get ready for the heavy load.

All different from being flexible in the first place, which Roger is and I'm not. YMMV...
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:23 PM   #6
Lincoln Brigham
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"It just seems to fly in the face of reason."

Sure, but so did the earth being round. Reason dictated that the sun traveled around the earth. Eventually, reason lost out to evidence.

"Now will having a flexible hamstring help prevent a pulled hamstring during a 100 meter sprint?

Apparently not. Range of motion is not tested during a sprint, yet for many decades now trainers have advised that stretching will help prevent hamstring pulls. The problem is, there is no proof that this is true. Sprinters still continue to pull hamstrings.

There was an Australian study recently that also showed that stretching before training sessions did not lower injury rates.

Look at the problem from this point of view: Mr. Talented Sprinter pulls a muscle, misses the big meet. Coach is ****ed. He tells the trainer, "You're the trainer - do something about these muscle pulls!" Not knowing what else to do - and he has to do something or else face the wrath of the head coach - the trainer advises a stretching program. Seems like it might help, and it shows a measure of proactiveness on the part of the trainer, right? And if it doesn't work, the trainer can probably still find a way to blame the athlete. Non-compliance, pre-existing injury, insufficient hydration, etc. The truth is, exercise science does not really know how to completely prevent muscle pulls but is loath to admit it.
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Old 03-29-2004, 05:08 PM   #7
Paul "The Viking"
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I guess I can see two different things involved here:

1) Flexibility probably can prevent injuries, as Roger said. Certainly, you need to be flexible enough to easily reach any position necessary for your sport - though being more flexible than that would not be important (sprinters don't do splits while running for example, so they probably don't need to be able to do splits.)

2) Stretching before exercise is not the best way to become flexible, as Lynne said. Not only that, but passive stretching before exercise could possibly be harmful because it may dampen the stretch reflex. Pure speculation on my part, though.

It seems to me that being flexible is what's important - not the stretching itself. Whether you stretch before or after a workout, what you need to be able to do is to easily reach the positions required for your sport. It seems to me, though, that if you can only do that by stretching out immediately before performing your sport, that you might need to rethink your flexibiliy program.

And its also possible that being TOO flexible is also a problem.....

-Paul
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Old 03-29-2004, 05:16 PM   #8
Roger Harrell
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I have historically stretched prior to working out, but read some very interesting studies that show some explosive power is lost if static stretching is done prior to the excersize. This has massive implications for gymnastics. I am now following an active warm up prior to training, then stretching at the end to gain flexibility (BTW Coach we didn't stretch at the end of our gymnastics day, kinda ran out of time, and I forgot).

Thus far I haven't noticed a difference, but the studies show it's somewhere around 10% so I may not feel it since it's within normal daily variations, and overall progress is upwards anyway.

As for being too flexible, it depends on what kind of flexibility we're talking about. If stretching is done properly to increase ROM without improperly destabilizing joints then I am not sure there is such a thing as "too flexible". On the other hand I have seen folks that are too flexible for their current situation (not strong enough, hyperextensions of knees and elboes).
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:56 PM   #9
KEG
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I would be interested to see within the Crossfit community how many do not follow a stretching protocol prior to participating in their sport.

Lynn, you bring up an excellent point on stretching and warming up. While I consider stretching part of my warm up, generally I do it before I get on the Concept 2 or treadmill. I am rethinking this order. Also, I need to be more disciplined with stretching after my workout. Unfortunately, I usually just want to pass out!
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:57 PM   #10
Brian Hand
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I think this is probably not a black and white issue. If you have adequate flexibility for your activity, I doubt stretching before is of much benefit, as long as you do an active warmup through a full range of motion. A relaxing, whole body static stretching routine before an intense workout makes no sense to me.

However, it has to be different in some cases where flexibility is a limiting factor in performance. For example, I have helped a number of people learn to squat deep, and most of the men did much better stretching their hams before the heavy sets. Even with an active warmup, they weren't flexible enough to hold form. Stretching between warmup sets their form gets better as they loosen up.

It does make sense, though, that this stretching should be something dynamic, rather than passive static stretching.
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