Stretching is counter productive?



Gedster47

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Jun 15, 2005
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JungleBiker said:
In another thread (about training for a 4 day race), Ric said that "there is no evidence that stretching will help you, and some evidence that it is counter productive".

I would like to know why it can be counter productive and should I give up stretching after my rides?

Thanks.
YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING, YOU HAVE TO BE OUT OF YOU'RE TINY MIND!

I know to my cost, the insanity of NOT stretching. I suffered an injury 18 months ago. On top of which,I have arthritis in my spine, now leading to a condition called spinal stenosis ... Only by stretching each day,sometimes twice per day,do I avoid gross pain that you wouldn't believe. No pharmacy accessible pain killers work...its that bad. But 30 mins once or twice per day and DEFINITELY after my daily 10 mile to work (and back) comute means i can have normal life.

Stretches are cool. :cool: My phisio put it to me like this. In five years or less,I could be in a wheel chair.…stretch and ill still be riding my bike....

Guess which option I chose!


Gedster47.:(
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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Doctor Morbius said:
It does no good when people say "I feel like this helps" or "I feel like that's important" as it isn't based on any factual data.
Quite true, especially when the papers that Linz references specifically note the analgesic effects of stretching after exercise. Of course it makes you feel good, but if that's the goal then people should cut out the VO2 max intervals and spend their time in a hot tub instead.:rolleyes:
 

frenchyge

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BlueIcarus said:
Unnngggghhhh.... can't do it. :mad:


BlueIcarus said:
Try it again after two days of no riding.
Still can't do it. :(

BlueIcarus said:
Hmmmmm..... is there a point here somewhere? :confused:


BlueIcarus said:
Detach from your cycling 'ego'
Unnngggghhhh.... can't do it. :mad:

BlueIcarus said:
Think again.
Take care of your body. It's your vehicle in life
Wait, I thought my bike was my vehicle. I must be doing this cycling thing all wrong....:confused:
 

2zanzibar

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Jun 21, 2004
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frenchyge said:
Quite true, especially when the papers that Linz references specifically note the analgesic effects of stretching after exercise. Of course it makes you feel good, but if that's the goal then people should cut out the VO2 max intervals and spend their time in a hot tub instead.:rolleyes:

obviously the preference here is theory over practice. I think this is my beef with science in sport/cycling, precisely because it reduces everything to the world of facts. We are measured, qualified and extrapolated upon according to a pre existing world of research regardless of the fact that Facts in themselves come with multiple viewpoints.
Now in the elite world of the continental peleton, facts and theory have more currency, the pro's are far more finely tuned to the world of paper without deviating from the figures than us mortals. Unless you're a supremely privileged citizen, you will find yourself most of the time Not cycling and doing far more prosaic stuff like a 9 to 5 or waking up with a hangover perhaps etc. The point is is that theory works but not at the expense of negating a subjective 'fact' entirely. Maybe stretching paper doesn't work but stretching a limb makes me Feel better...it might make me lose that crucial 8 seconds going up Ventoux but it will take me 3 hours getting up there anyway.. its more of a dialectical thing
 

ric_stern/RST

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2zanzibar said:
Maybe stretching paper doesn't work but stretching a limb makes me Feel better...it might make me lose that crucial 8 seconds going up Ventoux but it will take me 3 hours getting up there anyway.. its more of a dialectical thing

but perhaps if you substituted more *bike* training time in place of the time you'd stretch, you'd significantly reduce that 3 hrs
 

Felt_Rider

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Oct 24, 2004
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Some of these replys got me smiling this morning.
Especially the response to yoga poses :)
Not that there is anything wrong with yoga if one is into that.

ric, nailed it on the head and it is purely highlighting the obvious to what 2zanzibar may be looking at in the reverse viewpoint based on the post.

2zanzibar, as you stated that we average folk do not have ample amount of time in our day. We try to balance a career and perhaps family life with training. So if a one has the time like a pro pehaps one can fit in a good stretching program into their day without having a negative impact on training, but the question is how does the average make their day the most efficient?

Scientist, researchers, trainers/coaches and such are trying to help not just the elite, but the average athlete become more efficient. On this topic researchers are trying to state that stretching is not necessary and from their findings do not reduce the risk of injury as once thought regarding pre training stretching.

Why spend 30 minutes to an hour warming up just to stretch when, in this case, it could be spent on the bike?
Because you run a risk of injury that can result in weeks of rehab from a microtear/strain if you just start stretching cold. Yes, the majority of people do this, but do it long enough and you will get the injury eventually. I say this from experience and I hope I have finally learned my lesson to break away from pre exercise stretching. Especially "ballistic" stretching.

We are not saying that stretching should be avoided.
There is a time and place for stretching, but if you want to make your training day more efficient there are other things that need greater focus and attention.

IMO - stretching can be essential in later stages of recovery, such as, a micro tear. Calcium deposits can form in these small tears or scar tissue is formed from these type of injuries. Light passive stretching (later in rehab) may help prevent this scar tissue allowing the muscle to stay flexible. Scar tissue can hinder flexibility. There are other conditions that may be helped by stretching, but in summary we are just trying to state that if one is limited by time than stretching does not have to be an essential part of the typical training day.
 

holoclothes

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Apr 25, 2005
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as a runner as well and an extremely flexible person I know that stretching can definitely hurt your performance if done in the "ballistic" manner or if you stretch toooooo much. If you are cold and want to go work out you do very very gentle stretching just to get things warmed up and so you don't feel like if you sit down your hamstring will tighten up. You do maybe 10 seconds for quads and hamstrings and calves. roll your neck a bit. crack those wrists and knuckles. twirl the ankle. do a few lunges. shake out your arms and legs. breathe in breathe out. and you're good. This takes at most 15 minutes and will make you feel better without reducing your performance. Oh yeah and never go all out after stretching, you still need warming up. If you don't get super-tight like I do before you exercise you should just forgo the stretching and go straight to warm-up. I stretch because if I don't I'll literally pull all my muscles by just sitting down for 30 minutes or something. The warm-up really gets you in gear.

As far as long-distance running and flexibility go... I'm not so sure about the inverse relationship but I have a feeling it may be true. I usually run better and longer without stretching. Always stretch after of course. My friend was a big track star kind of person back in the day and she was never very flexible and said she never stretched intensely before running. Just doing a warm up run got her into gear.
 

wilmar13

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Nov 30, 2003
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But is there consensus that stretching can increase flexibility? If there is, couldn't there be an advantage in cycling under certain circumstances (as is posited by the second post). For example, if I am way low on the drops, I feel some tension in the tendons behind my knee and can't seem to make enough power so I need to get out of "ultratuck" and will ride faster... What if I could increase my flexibility to motor in "ultratuck" mode? Is everyone saying there is no strong evidence of a streching benefit with this example (i.e. stretching won't increase flexibility or if it does, I will gain no power from the increased flexibility in this position)?
 

Doctor Morbius

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Mar 15, 2004
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2zanzibar said:
obviously the preference here is theory over practice. I think this is my beef with science in sport/cycling, precisely because it reduces everything to the world of facts. We are measured, qualified and extrapolated upon according to a pre existing world of research regardless of the fact that Facts in themselves come with multiple viewpoints.
Now in the elite world of the continental peleton, facts and theory have more currency, the pro's are far more finely tuned to the world of paper without deviating from the figures than us mortals. Unless you're a supremely privileged citizen, you will find yourself most of the time Not cycling and doing far more prosaic stuff like a 9 to 5 or waking up with a hangover perhaps etc. The point is is that theory works but not at the expense of negating a subjective 'fact' entirely. Maybe stretching paper doesn't work but stretching a limb makes me Feel better...it might make me lose that crucial 8 seconds going up Ventoux but it will take me 3 hours getting up there anyway.. its more of a dialectical thing
NO SOUP FOR YOU!!! Come back 1 year!!
 

BlueIcarus

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Dec 30, 2003
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frenchyge said:
Unnngggghhhh.... can't do it. :mad:


Still can't do it. :(

Hmmmmm..... is there a point here somewhere? :confused:


Unnngggghhhh.... can't do it. :mad:

Wait, I thought my bike was my vehicle. I must be doing this cycling thing all wrong....:confused:

--------------------------------------
:D
 

2zanzibar

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Jun 21, 2004
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ric_stern/RST said:
but perhaps if you substituted more *bike* training time in place of the time you'd stretch, you'd significantly reduce that 3 hrs

ooh you lab coat wearing ***** you..!
 

Don Shipp

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May 20, 2005
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JungleBiker said:
In another thread (about training for a 4 day race), Ric said that "there is no evidence that stretching will help you, and some evidence that it is counter productive".

I would like to know why it can be counter productive and should I give up stretching after my rides?

Thanks.
If you are doing exactly the right kind of stretchig at exactly the right time, it will do nothing but good. But do the wrong stretching, or the right stretching at the wrong time, it will do harm.
I believe that the original claim that streching is counter-productive was the result of the wrong kind of stretching done at the wrong time.
Or possibly the result of the researcher not being specific enough about what the benefits should be.
 

Will Davies

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Jun 29, 2004
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Hi,

Interesting thread.

To those that say stretching is counterproductive, what should one do with sore hamstrings?

I ride a lot in the alps and have had sore hamstrings for quite some while. Stretching after warming is the only way that I can ride. Rest does not help. Only slowly warming up (without stretching) only partly helps.

After searching the forum i have found seveal recent threads on hamstring problems but no suggestions. Lowering the saddle severely saps me of power and tires my lower legs too much to be a good solution.

Seperately, I have always read that stretching after hard exertion hellps clear lactic acid - is a slow warm down a better alternative?


Thanks for any advice?

Will
Bernex, Switzerland
 

ric_stern/RST

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Will Davies said:
Seperately, I have always read that stretching after hard exertion hellps clear lactic acid - is a slow warm down a better alternative?
Will
Bernex, Switzerland

Lactate completely disperses with rest within say 90-mins even after a supramaximal effort (i.e., way harder than you or anyone would ride in the Alps -- such as a 1-km effort).
 

bikeguy

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May 31, 2004
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Stretching most certainly can help recovery and prevent injury by breaking up existing scar tissue and adhesions and preventing their formation. Any physiotherapist will prescribe stretching of a muscle after an injury (after a suitable period of time after the injury) but it's good to do it consistently anyway to break up micro-scarring or adhesions that build up over a period of time.

The title of this thread is stretching is counter productive. I find this entire thread counterproductive, and I'm not going to waste any more time reading it.

Time to go for a bike ride. :)