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View Full Version : static stretching is BAD?


webbeing
12-03-2009, 03:10 PM
I am shocked by this article. How about some informed opinions? Many thanks!

http://www.juniortennis.com/Science/fullarticle.php?articleid=67

CallOfBooty
12-03-2009, 03:32 PM
Static stretching is bad before you do any physical activity. I'm not sure why exactly static stretching reduces muscle output, but it does. I have read before about the way it stretches out the muscle and relaxes it too much to produce the same output as normal. Here is a quoted statistic, "New research has shown that static stretching decreases eccentric strength for up to an hour after the stretch. Static stretching has been shown to decrease muscle strength by up to 9% for 60 minutes following the stretch and decrease eccentric strength by 7% followed by a specific hamstring stretch" ( Mick Critchell, Warm ups for soccer a Dynamic approach, page 5.). What you should do before workouts or tennis play are dynamic stretches. Static stretches can be done either after a match or every night to improve flexibility because the muscle output ability lost during static stretching recovers after a certain amount of time.

spacediver
12-03-2009, 03:50 PM
the current wisdom is that static stretching is best reserved for the cooldown phase of training, or as part of a flexibility program done during its own scheduled period.

Dynamic stretching is recommended as part of a warmup.

SystemicAnomaly
12-04-2009, 12:34 AM
No, static is not bad.

However, as others have already said it should not be performed just prior to playing tennis as part of your warmup. It is fine for your post-tennis cool down tho'. It is probably also ok, maybe even beneficial, if you perform the static stretches an hour (or more) prior to competition. If you perform very light, short-duration static stretches, you might be able to do so 30 (to 60) minutes before your dynamic warmup. However, you might be better off with 60 minutes or more before you start to play so that your muscles have ample time to recover from the degradation in muscle performance that is induced by static stretches.

Note that this subject really is all that new. Enlightened posters in this forum have been saying if for more than 4 years now. I've been pushing pretty hard on the idea of a dynamic warmup for more than 3 years. I believe that USTA Player Development has been saying it for 6-8 years or more. Studies even as far back as the (late) 1980s have been questioning the conventional wisdom regarding static stretching. However, it appears that older coaches, especially high school coaches have not kept up with the current thinking on stretching.

GuyClinch
12-04-2009, 04:03 AM
Yes. A dynamic warmup is the way to go now - and this is widely recognized. Its actually far harder then static stretches though - and that's why its a bit slow to catch on.

Doing say walking lunges is far more a pain in the *ss then just bending over and reaching at your toes or leaning against a wall to stretch out your calves.

Tennis players should be doing a host of rather tiring warmups like jumping rope for a few minutes, free weight squatting and lunging, trunk rotations, arm circles and raises -and more..Static stretches aren't "bad" at all though. I think they are essential to maintain flexibility. They just have to be done post match or in a seperate session.

Too many people view the Oh static stretches are "bad" stuff as an excuse not to do anything - and that's asking for trouble.

Pete

SteveI
12-04-2009, 04:36 AM
No, static is not bad.

However, as others have already said it should not be performed just prior to playing tennis as part of your warmup. It is fine for your post-tennis cool down tho'. It is probably also ok, maybe even beneficial, if you perform the static stretches an hour (or more) prior to competition. If you perform very light, short-duration static stretches, you might be able to do so 30 (to 60) minutes before your dynamic warmup. However, you might be better off with 60 minutes or more before you start to play so that your muscles have ample time to recover from the degradation in muscle performance that is induced by static stretches.

Note that this subject really is all that new. Enlightened posters in this forum have been saying if for more than 4 years now. I've been pushing pretty hard on the idea of a dynamic warmup for more than 3 years. I believe that USTA Player Development has been saying it for 6-8 years or more. Studies even as far back as the (late) 1980s have been questioning the conventional wisdom regarding static stretching. However, it appears that older coaches, especially high school coaches have not kept up with the current thinking on stretching.

Hello High School Coach here... :-)

We do dynamic first and then very specific static tennis static stretching. I pretty much do what the USTA Player Development Team has been selling... as matter of fact I use a plan given out at one of their workshops. In additon, we really work on footspeed and footwork drills. The players of course are not always great fans of these drills. :-). BTW.. and am older.. and a HS coach.. but really hate to see bad footwork. I know players may not be able to serve like AROD or have a the groundstrokes of AA.. but they better be geting behind each ball and be able to play 3 hard sets.

But SystemicAnomaly... you are right about many HS coaches..

Regards,
Steve

charliefedererer
12-04-2009, 06:11 AM
Hope your shock is over by the time you've gotten to my post.

I have my own pet theory as to what happens with static stretches before exercise to account for the well documented decrease in strength.
Microscopically, our muscles are made of many small units called sarcomeres.
http://www.carolguze.com/images/cellorganelles/actin-myosin.jpg
The muscles normally contract (initiated by nerve stimulation) by the thin filaments moving along the thick filaments above and below them.
With static stretching, thin filaments are repositioned in the sarcomere at a starting point so that the thick filaments do not have as much overlap in the resting state, so they can not get to the same degree of overlap at maximal contraction. Hence, the muscle, composed of millions of sarcomere units, can not contract as fully, with power loss the result.
An alternative explanation would be that some percentage of sarcomere units are "overstretched" so that they are temporarilly "stunned" and can not contract until they slowly recover.


On the other hand, at the end of exercise, the resting state of the sarcomere has a new resting position with more overlap of the thick and thin filaments.
Then, static stretching restores the normal resting state distance between the thick and thin filaments. And this is what restores a more "normal" resting tone in the overall muscle bed.

Again, this is just a theory. I've never seen it written or heard about it anywhere but it's how I would explain what is happening.

SystemicAnomaly
12-04-2009, 12:45 PM
Hello High School Coach here... :-)

We do dynamic first and then very specific static tennis static stretching. I pretty much do what the USTA Player Development Team has been selling... as matter of fact I use a plan given out at one of their workshops. In additon, we really work on footspeed and footwork drills. The players of course are not always great fans of these drills. :-). BTW.. and am older.. and a HS coach.. but really hate to see bad footwork. I know players may not be able to serve like AROD or have a the groundstrokes of AA.. but they better be geting behind each ball and be able to play 3 hard sets.

But SystemicAnomaly... you are right about many HS coaches..

Regards,
Steve

Good to hear that you on top of this. I have so many tennis clients in HS and younger that tell me that they always do a lot of static stretching for PE or for school sports. It seems that even many community college coaches haven't incorporated a dynamic warmup -- many of them have heard about dynamic stretching but still perform a ton of static stretches prior to exercise or sports.

tricky
12-05-2009, 04:18 AM
An alternative explanation would be that some percentage of sarcomere units are "overstretched" so that they are temporarilly "stunned" and can not contract until they slowly recover.

Yes. When you perform static stretches while the core temperature of muscle is low, there's more likelihood of microtrauma pertaining to the sarcolemma. Now, having said that, if you're interested in building muscle, this is what you want.

(Also for BBers, there's also a counterargument where volume has diminishing returns per set, because at a certain point, you can't do much more damage to the muscle. You'll reach an equilibrium in terms of mechanical stress and tissue elasticity the more "pumped" and "warmed up" you get, and of course the temporary inhibition due to microtrauma will start disengaging the amount of damage you create. There IS a theory that cluster training, be it what Chris T espouses or what Vince Gironda essentially espouses, lets you circumvent this.)

Also, your flexibility is less pronounced while your muscles are "cold", and so you don't want to contract statically or eccentrically against that. The elasticity of your musculature does change depending on core temperature. Also, hard, static stretching CAN inhibit the stretch reflex a little bit (not much though, and nothing like PNF stretching), which is used to enhance ballistic performance.

In any case, like other people have said, wait until the end to do your stretches. And if you're interested in long-term health of your ligaments and tendons, stretches won't be enough. You'll want to do light load, high rep exercises that causes lactic acid to pool into areas where the tendons/ligaments are. The lactic acid will help kick off collagen synthesis, which in turn will improve tendon/ligament strength. For weightlifters, they can get most of the benefits simply by adding a light weight, "burn set" with a given movement after their main work sets. The key thing is to do this at least twice or three times a week. That'll keep the joints happy.