‘Your culture will adapt to ‘stretching’. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!’ That was the first phrase that popped in to my head from my geek mind, after reading an article about how stretching was pointless and did not decrease risk of injury nor DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It said that we stretch bc it has been something drilled into us from an early age and as humans we have ‘adapted’ to this as a normal daily process, or placebo. I then immediately thought, my fur babies pay more attention to me than I thought. If stretching is a learned behavior that we have adapted to, then I have passed it on to my dogs. LOL Every time they wake up, the first thing they do is stretch! Poor things, they know not what they do! Smh lol.
So all kidding aside, I have read countless studies from big name Dr.’s who have done research at big name universities with ample amount of test groups, data, stats, and analysis all enough to make your head spin. Some Dr.’s have proved that stretching does not decrease risk nor prevent DOMS in ‘their’ test subjects. Subjects who were mostly athletes such as sprinters, cyclist, swimmers,etc., with a few bodybuilders, heavy weight lifters, etc. Some argue that it decreases strength in heavy lifting by 2% (based on the amount of energy the muscle produces at contraction) bc of the lengthening of the muscle with prior stretching.
Like a rubber band that has been stretched out a couple of times it is not as strong as it was at its initial non stretched state. Which I get, and can some what related to. I have felt that way before, that I wasn’t as strong after stretching prior to weight training, bc I felt so relaxed and loose. However, I think that like everything else in the fitness world with it being full of right and wrong ways, you have to do what works best for YOU. No two people are the same and everyone responds to stimuli differently.
I do know this from my personal experiences. I have been stretching since my early cheer leading, cross-country, basketball days. I was a flyer on our squad and I know that had I not stretched prior to builds, tosses, routines etc., I would risk injury. Most of everything we did asked our bodies to go beyond our standard rage of motion. Not much has changed since then. I stretch daily, it may not prevent DOMS, but after the muscle soreness HAS set in on second day after leg day (strength training), I am useless until I stretch. I am talking from the time I step foot out of bed.
I immediately have to bend over and touch my toes. My hammy’s are so tight I can barely stand. (tight hamstrings can also cause stress on your lower back) If I don’t stretch initially, I can not perform daily common routine task, it can be as simple as bending over to feed my dogs. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN, IF I DO NOT STRETCH! My body is so tight that even my ‘normal’ range of motion can not be obtained!
Researchers stated ‘there is no need to stretch bc there is no exercise or sport that needs more than standard rage of motion for performance unless you are an acrobat or gymnast’. I don’t agree with that. I think the flexibility that comes from stretching whether dynamic or static stretching, enhances performance of other exercises that are not from the two mentioned.
Walking is an everyday task for most of us. If I have not stretched after an exercise that causes constant tension on a muscle, I have problems walking, not to mention stepping, balancing, etc. So I think it is important to stretch after working out, not only does it help work out the soreness, but it also helps me prevent injury. I mean come on, this is coming from someone whose nickname is ‘Grace’ who trips on flat surfaces. Imagine me trying to hurdle a baby gate with a bowl of dog food in my hand with tight hamstrings, adductors, quads, and no stretching. Disastrous, and I wish I had pictures to support this! lol SO SEE stretching in my case helps with DOMS as well as to prevent injury! He he! 🙂
I have also made the mistake one year at a softball worlds tournament of not stretching my arms before warming up. Yes we warmed up throwing, but I needed to stretch even before that. The first hard throw and I felt like I ripped my arm out of socket, needless to say it affected me the entire weekend. That happened after recovering from a pulled hamstring from using those fast twitch muscles running to first base earlier that season. Running late to game, skipped stretching, bam! Pulled it! A dumb, stupid mistake. So from ALL OF MY PERSONAL experiences, I think stretching and warming up are vital and certainly the ones specific to the muscle and tendons being used for the specific activity, throwing, running etc. If you do it for any reason do it for your heart. The only thing the Dr.’s could prove is that it is good for circulation and blood flow, and that it has great advantages for the heart. :))
So while every thing can be argued ‘for’ or ‘against’ with great supporting facts for both sides, it all boils down to how it benefits YOU as an individual. Be smart about the way you use and train your body. Some decisions can be costly from small stupid mistakes. You know YOU best. …and REST! That is hard for some of us to do. TRUST ME I KNOW! Be blessed blogger friends!!
Take time to answer the poll and leave comments with your view on stretching!! Keep clean and positive please! 🙂