Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Post questions and tips on how flexibility training fits with training for other abilities.

Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby GNARL » Dec 22, 2009 04:14

As a competitive athlete and a follower of Thomas Kurz's stretching and strengthening plans, I know the values of flexibility knowledge. Knowing how and when to stretch has been crucial to my sport career. But when I watch professional sport, even of the highest caliber and the best athletes, I see slow static stretching done by them before their games. I see trainers giving their athletes relaxed stretches. Never do I see an active warm up, dynamic flexibility, or any well run warm up. Usually static stretching. Now my question is, why is this done? Don't professional sport's team's trainers have knowledge flexibility? I've noticed this problem is America and Western Europe. And why are some athletes still so successful even with improper training for flexibility?

Thank you.
GNARL
 
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby kan » Dec 22, 2009 09:17

Very, very few sports people in the world, people with huge executive positions, even most people who can do the splits know anything about stretching. In sports like football (Soccer), Rugby and team sports they only need a bit of flexibility and even improper training will give them enough. They'd be even more successful if they used correct training.
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby CSta » Dec 22, 2009 10:42

GNARL wrote:And why are some athletes still so successful even with improper training for flexibility?


I don't know that there is any study concluding that static passive stretching before a workout hinders performance or causes injury when an appropriate warm-up is performed after the stretching and before the workout (which I assume occurs). I think Kurz's point is that static passive stretching before a workout is a waste of time because its effects are inconsistent with the purpose of a warm-up: "Warming up has to prepare all systems of the body in order for the athlete to perform at top efficiency. It has to affect the heart, blood vessels, nervous system, muscles and tendons, and the joints and ligaments. The goals of the warm-up are: an improved elasticity and contractibility of muscles, greater efficiency of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, a shorter reaction time, improved perception, better concentration, improved coordination, and regulation of emotional states, especially before competitions." (Article 12. http://www.stadion.com/column_stretch12.html)

Static passive stretching does just the opposite. Here's a sample: From Article 4: "Static stretches do not facilitate . . . neural pathways, do not prepare the nervous system and blood vessels in the muscles for the dynamic task. You even sweat differently when warming up with dynamic actions than when doing static stretches. During dynamic exercises you sweat all over and your sweat is hot. During static stretching you sweat little, mainly on the face." (http://www.stadion.com/column_stretch04.html) In Article 5, Kurz states, "[t]he principle of specificity states: Flexibility is specific to the speed of movement. Flexibility is also position specific, so static exercises or stretches like splits are not very useful [for] dynamic flexibility." Also, "[f]or several seconds or even minutes following any type of static stretch, you cannot display your top agility or maximal speed because your muscles are less responsive to stimulation—your coordination is off. Static stretches reduce the force production of the stretched muscles." (Article 5. http://www.stadion.com/column_stretch05.html)
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby GNARL » Dec 24, 2009 23:12

But if static stretching causes you to not be able to display top agility, speed, or most importantly of all, coordination, even if it precedes a warm-up, wouldn't it make the warm up worse which would make your performance worse? And many times, static stretching is the last thing done before athletic activity whether competition or workout, this obviously harms performance greatly. So even if a research study isn't done, doesn't our knowledge of the human body and practical experience show that it's poor. Yet, many still succeed.
GNARL
 
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby CSta » Dec 26, 2009 17:13

GNARL wrote:But if static stretching causes you to not be able to display top agility, speed, or most importantly of all, coordination, even if it precedes a warm-up, wouldn't it make the warm up worse which would make your performance worse?


I think it would make the warm-up "worse" in the sense that the warm-up might need to last a little longer.

GNARL wrote:And many times, static stretching is the last thing done before athletic activity whether competition or workout, this obviously harms performance greatly. So even if a research study isn't done, doesn't our knowledge of the human body and practical experience show that it's poor. Yet, many still succeed.


I don't think there's any question that static stretching before dynamic activity is a "poor" practice; your initial question, though, was whether doing so hinders performance. I imagine if someone performed the slips for several minutes, jumped up, and tried to spar, they'd perform poorly for the reasons Kurz provides. Like I said above, though, if an appropriate warm-up followed the stretching, though, I'm guessing the probability of injury or poor performance diminishes. Also, there's no rule of nature that says, if you prepare poorly, you can't succeed.
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby GNARL » Dec 30, 2009 03:34

I see. Thank you for your reply. So if great performance is possible even with incorrect training methods for flexibility in a warm-up, why go through the dynamic leg swings for kicking if you can get good performance with just doing static stretching and following with a warm-up?
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Re: Lack of flexibility knowledge in professional sports.

Postby CSta » Dec 31, 2009 15:38

GNARL wrote:I see. Thank you for your reply. So if great performance is possible even with incorrect training methods for flexibility in a warm-up, why go through the dynamic leg swings for kicking if you can get good performance with just doing static stretching and following with a warm-up?


Sorry, I don't think I've been clear. I've assumed that leg swings would be part of the warm-up, for kicking at least. So, if you performed static relaxed stretching followed by a proper warmup (which would include leg swings), I doubt any measurable harm would result from the relaxed stretching. You'd just be performing an unnecessary task. So, you'd be wasting time. Clear as mud?
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