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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Why are we ready to throw static stretching out the window?

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Why are we ready to throw static stretching out the window?

Snippet from "Fitness or Fiction: The Truth About Diet & Exercise" - http://www.amazon.com/Fitness-Fiction-Volume-Truth-Exercise/dp/0615503012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339762813&sr=8-1

"When Should I Stretch?

…The immediate effects of static stretching may actually inhibit a muscles ability to perform. Studies have recently suggested that static stretching and PNF stretching reduce force output of the affected musculature, especially when performing activities that require maximal amounts of speed, strength , or endurance (10, 18, 26, 35-36, 38, 45, 47, 51, 60, 72-73, 76, 93, 101, 103-105, 108, 110, 115, 121, 135, 142-143). That is to say that the muscles involved in the stretch will not be as strong immediately following the stretch, and may be affected for up to two hours (115).

….The simplest strategy is to start your program with a low to moderate intensity warm-up (i.e. the treadmill or stair-master) and finish your routine with a good stretching routine.

… However, static stretching before your work-out is not always a negative. Postural dysfunction and injury may create a need for specific stretching techniques (short/overactive structures to improve length/tension relationships) before activity to improve performance and reduce the risk of further injury. A health/fitness professional can help you develop a stretching routine specific to these issues."

Check out our live workshop - "Advancements in Flexibility Training" - http://b2cfitness.com/cec.html

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Brent Brookbush So Rodney… What's your stance?

June 15 at 11:50am

Rick Richey

Most people want to go in and either crush a workout OR get it over with. Stretching prolongs that process. Stretching is certainly limited in the caloric burn category, and to many people a waist of time. These thoughts are not just held by the public, but many trainers and coaches. So once they can back up their personal biases with research - BANG - isolated data becomes enough for them to exclude static stretching.

Static stretching is a corrective modality, so limiting your static stretches to corrective work is highly important. Corrective should be established via continual assessment of the client/athlete.

Might some people need corrective work prior to a workout, or even sports performance? Yes. Of course.

Will static stretching adversely affect muscle activation during those events? Maybe and likely. But, consider this. Those muscles are already being affected adversely themselves as well as their antagonist and synergist. Also, just doing static stretching prior to an event is such an archaic way to look at a warm up. Even if you do need to static stretch due to a corrective imbalance it would be highly important to introduce activation exercises, core support, active or dynamic flexibility, as well as prep and supporting exercises depending on where the client/athlete is in their programming. Athletics are integrated sports filled with multiple flexibility, strength, metabolic, and mental requirements. Why would anyone static stretch only before throwing athlete/client into that environment? An integrated approach needs to be implemented prior to these activities.

P.S. All of those coaches, trainers, athletes, and clients will all do static stretching one day if they are not careful… In rehab.

Is this where is should plug my workshop on the matter? :-)

June 15 at 12:36pm

Joshua J. Stone

This frustrates me because a few studies got heavily publicized and data twisted to give the impression that static stretching has a negative effect on performance. Granted the studies done were quality studies and had high levels of sensitivity / specificity. Research is equivocal, which is why I love systematic literature reviews. They look at all the data and come to one conclusion. A SLR was published in Jan 2012:

Kay AD, Blazevich AJ. Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Maximal Muscle Performance: A Systematic Review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 44(1): 154-164, 2012.

This SLR is fantastic because it included 106 articles (all rated using PEDro rating sheet) examining effects of static stretching on performance. The authors looked at continuous static stretching for 30 seconds, 30-45 seconds, 1 -2 minutes, and > 2 minutes.

In short, the authors found that CONTINUOUS static stretching held for 60 seconds or less did NOT negatively impact performance. As static stretching went longer than 60-seconds performance measures did begin to decline. How many of you have clients hold stretches for 60 seconds or longer? NASM teaches to hold static stretching for 20-30 seconds. With these durations, performance is not lost.

So my stance on static stretching: Yes, why not. With that, there are other studies have shown no significant difference when comparing static stretching vs. dynamic stretching or PNF. If my client has the functional ability to perform dynamic flexibility without compensation, I would use that as my warm-up. If my client has significant ROM deficits, I will use SMR followed by static stretching.

June 15 at 2:08pm

Rodney Corn

Brent - my stance is that SS can have amazing benefits. It can also debilitate others. I have seen it do both. The questions become (as always) who is it for, WHY, and how is it used? I didn't post the DVD for promotion - I could care less if anyone looks at it. I posted it because it 1) gives an objective, evidence-based (cuz I know that's important to all of you) review of many of the studies out there (some of which I was part of in college) - 2) highlights areas often overlooked by 'researchers' and more importantly fitness professionals trying to apply the information and 3) provides some simple guidelines based on different populations/ training ages. Thomas Myers author of Anatomy Trains, Michol Dalcourt founder of Institute of Motion and myself with PTA Global, may even dive into the effects of SS as it relates to "fascia" in an upcoming workshop we will be having… after all when you 'stretch', what do you think your "stretching". Oh the beauty of viscoelasticity. Thanks Brent Brookbush

June 15 at 4:14pm

Brent Brookbush

Really nice stuff guys, thanks you Rick Richey, Joshua J. Stone, and Rodney Corn… You all drove home the point that flexibility is a complex issue and static stretching is one potential tool in a toolbox that will include other techniques. To keep this analogy of a tool box going, I view static stretching like a screwdriver in a carpenter's toolbox. A carpenter is not going to throw out his screwdriver because he got a power-drill with a screwdriver bit for Christmas (think of the power-drill like dynamic stretching techniques). There are times when a screwdriver is necessary and a power-drill would be too much, too soon, or cause damage to his woodwork. With that being said a carpenter is going to have a variety of other tools with him, as well, in case he needs to use a nail, drill a hole, or apply a varnish to his woodwork. New techniques will be introduced, and new models of training will become popular, but throwing out a well researched and effective tool cannot make us better at what we do. It's not the end all be all, just a necessary piece of the puzzle.

June 15 at 6:41pm

Maurice D. Williams Great discussion Mentors. I aspire to be like all of you one day!

June 16 at 11:03pm

Perry Nickelston

Everything works for someone. Stretching in my opinion should be based on the individual you are dealing with and their history. Indiscriminate selection of stretching options is like prescribing rehab exercises without an assessment and hoping something sticks.

June 17 at 7:30pm

Roland Claes

Rick, I couldn't have said it more clearly. Your answer hits the nail on the head when it comes to the misconception and so called "revolutionary new theories" about static stretching. Don't try to reinvent the wheel guys…

July 1 at 11:20am

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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