Dynamic stretching

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Dynamic stretching

Postby Konstantin » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:39 am

There seems to be more opinion turning against static stretching and more towards dynamic stretching. I'd be interested to hear what other people's opinions are of this (particularly runners) and what sort of dynamic stretching you use, if any.
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Re: Dynamic stretching

Postby KjKranz » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:44 pm

Dynamic stretching can be worse then static. This is because it is more rapid and often stretches the limb beyond it's range of motion. This is bad since this rapid movement triggers muscle tension instead of relaxation possibly causes micro tears and inflammation in the area.

The main problem with stretching is that people go beyond their range of motion.

I use Static-Active stretching. (but I rarely stretch) It uses the tension of an agonist muscle to promote relaxation in the muscle you wish to stretch. An example of this would be to do the classic "touch your toes". Then stand up again, but lower your butt and bend your knees kind of like you are crouching down half way. This causes your quads to tense. Do this for 30 seconds. Now do the "touch your toes" stretch again and you will be able to go inches farther.

As a runner I stretch rarely. A study by the U.S. Army on recruits found that the most and the least flexible individuals were more than twice as likely to be injured compared to moderately flexible recruits. Another example is the hamstring muscle, the most stretched, yet most injured muscle in the lower body. Also a paper published in Research in Sports Medicine reviewed previously published research on static stretching and found "strong evidence that routine application of static stretching does not reduce overall injury rates."

Two studies, one published in The International Journal of Sports Medicine and one from the University of North Carolina, on the subject of running economy and flexibility, found an inverse relationship between flexibility and running economy. The two studies concluded that "stiffer musculotendinous structures reduced the aerobic demand of sub maximal running by facilitating a greater elastic energy return during the shortening phase of the stretch-shortening cycle," and that the lack of flexibility "minimized the need for muscle stabilizing activity" while running.
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Re: Dynamic stretching

Postby Konstantin » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:28 am

Wow, that's really interesting. And you've certainly done the homework.

That is helpful, but I would maintain that I do need to do some kind of stretching, because I am a very inflexible person and as I train, those muscles become shorter and the strain on some tendons becomes severe, leading to a repeating injury. That particular injury isn't there when I have more flexibility in that area - which I get by doing static stretching.

I certainly agree that some people over stretch and move beyond the range of movement - whether doing static or dynamic stretches - which is asking for trouble.

My current feeling is that I should continue to do some gentle synamic warm ups/downs/stretches for now. The static/active stretching sounds interesting - are there any resources on the web, youtube etc. so I can get a better idea?
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Re: Dynamic stretching

Postby baldy » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:06 am

I battle with my hamstring flexibility, it particularly holds me back in my martial arts. Being a tall guy I often need to get down low for certain techniques, with tight hamstrings I end up flexing my lower back to make up for it, which isn't that great.

The biggest improvements I have noticed came from dynamic stretching. I was recommended this book by one of my instructors and it changed the way I think about stretching Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training by Thomas Kurz. I also always use his warm up/stretch routine before training. Normally you can get a cheap second hand copy off amazon.
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Re: Dynamic stretching

Postby ross88guy » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:57 pm

I always spend at least ten minutes jogging the the start point of my run and then perform a few dynamic stretches to loosen off my hamstrings and glutes. I have done this routine for years as it feels natural and means that I start running feeling much stronger. This kind of routine pays off especially when racing as if I didn't spend do this warm up then I would spend the first half of the race warming up instead!


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