discontinue dynamic stretches on injured muscles

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discontinue dynamic stretches on injured muscles

Postby elskbrev » Sep 27, 2007 17:25

Is it true that one should never do dynamic stretches on a sore muscle?

Twice this past summer, I over-worked my hamstring by kicking too high and explosively (once each time, not repeatedly.) In each case, I didn't think it was serious when I did it or when I left the dojang. I even did relaxed stretching right after class, as is my habit, and that seemed to go fine, except the muscle was a little tight and I did gently stretch right through it.

In each case, I wound up sitting out of class for 1-2 weeks. The problem, I believe, was that for the next two days, I continued doing gentle, controlled dynamic front leg raises, limiting the range of motion and speed, due to the soreness of the muscles. I believe that by doing even these controlled dynamic stretches, I further tore the muscles.

In the future, if I happen to do this again, I plan to discontinue dynamic front leg raises completely until the hamstrings are no longer sore. While the muscles heal, I will stretch the injured muscles using only relaxed stretches, after warm up or workout, and strengthen them, being careful to start with low weights and gradually increase. When I feel no further pain in the muscles, I will then and only then resume dynamic stretching. Do I have it right?

Further, I have the impression that strengthening the injured muscle as it recovers, and after, is key to preventing re-injury; that stretching is not enough. Am I correct?

Best regards,
Cindy

(Note: Prior to each injury, I did not have hamstring pain or discomfort. I will not work on sore muscles, "painful" as it is to wait patiently on the sidelines while things heal, if you know what I mean.)
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Re: discontinue dynamic stretches on injured muscles

Postby Thomas Kurz » Sep 27, 2007 20:23

elskbrev wrote:Is it true that one should never do dynamic stretches on a sore muscle?


Generally, yes. Especially if very sore.

elskbrev wrote:In the future, if I happen to do this again, I plan to discontinue dynamic front leg raises completely until the hamstrings are no longer sore. While the muscles heal, I will stretch the injured muscles using only relaxed stretches, after warm up or workout, and strengthen them, being careful to start with low weights and gradually increase. When I feel no further pain in the muscles, I will then and only then resume dynamic stretching. Do I have it right?


When you tear up enough muscle fibers to notice it--do not separate them further (which may tear up even more fibers) by pulling on them by either stretching the muscle or contracting it strongly.

Nevertheless, if gentle stretch makes the injured spot feel better, then it should be ok.

Here I quote myself (from my 29th and 52nd columns): “If you feel good during and after the exercise then it is most likely good for you and won't hurt you.”

elskbrev wrote:Further, I have the impression that strengthening the injured muscle as it recovers, and after, is key to preventing re-injury; that stretching is not enough. Am I correct?


Yes.
Thomas Kurz
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Postby elskbrev » Sep 27, 2007 22:19

Thank you, sir. :D
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Re: discontinue dynamic stretches on injured muscles

Postby cailifo » Oct 04, 2007 01:47

Thomas Kurz wrote:
elskbrev wrote:Is it true that one should never do dynamic stretches on a sore muscle?


Generally, yes. Especially if very sore.


i thought i read in the book stretching scientifically that "generally" you should be able to do light dynamic stretches on sore muscles, but only as much as feels relaxing.

but perhaps that is different than stretching really injured (torn)
muscles rather than just over-worked muscles.

i usually have sore hams and quads the next day after hard stretching or strength training. (i'm not strong enough yet) but, its usually just a sore feeling and doesnt restrict movement too much.

in this case i continue my dynamic stretches and maybe very light relaxed static stretches. but i never continue strength exercises until completely better.
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when to discontinue dynamic stretching on a sore muscle

Postby elskbrev » Oct 06, 2007 13:04

Cailifo

I believe you have it right. If you have normal muscle soreness due to a good strength workout, the kind that recovers and feels completely well within 40 hours or so, it should be ok to warm up the sore muscle and move it through whatever range of motion is comfortable.

It is less likely you would need to discontinue dynamics if the soreness is due to strength or endurance training than if it is due to a sudden stretch such as a kick thrown too high, too hard, too fast.

Knowing what you are dealing with is the key, and that is where some beginners get hung up.

If you aren’t sure whether the soreness is a normal consequence of a good workout (muscles growing as those tiny tears in the muscles heal) or due to an injury, it doesn’t hurt to hold off on dynamic stretching for 1-2 days until you know.

Cindy
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Re: discontinue dynamic stretches on injured muscles

Postby elskbrev » Aug 11, 2008 10:08

RE: dynamic stretching and strengthening methods -- know when to apply

Thomas Kurz commented:
When you tear up enough muscle fibers to notice it--do not separate them further (which may tear up even more fibers) by pulling on them by either stretching the muscle or contracting it strongly.


Together with Kurz methods of dynamic stretching as described in Stretching Scientifically, I use elastic tubing exercises to stretch and build strength within the same exercises. Both are very efficient and effective methods, training muscles in ways directly applicable to martial arts.

The good is also the bad, however, for both methods—maximal stretch followed by rapid eccentric (negative) contraction of working muscles, moreso with elastic tubing exercises, perhaps, than with Kurz' dynamic leg raises to side front and back, where one could just drop the leg rather than pull it down. On healthy muscles, both methods are excellent; on injured muscles, bad news.

The same caution applies in any speed-with-snap kicking or punching application, hence the need to teach technique and build strength before progressing to speed with power, in order to avoid injury. Just as important is the need to back off on any strength with stretching application that includes negative (eccentric) loads at point of maximal stretch whenever the involved muscles need rest due to fatigue or injury. Kurz said it, in not so many words, above.

There is an interesting article discussing this propensity for injury during strong eccentric contraction at the point of maximal muscle extension at: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/groups/nmbl/pubs/essr06.pdf . The research therein is specific to hamstring injuries in sprinters. On page five of this University of Wisconsin Madison article, it says, “cumulative negative work done over repeated maximal stretch-shortening contractions may predispose a muscle to injury.” Further, “[the hamstrings are most susceptible to injury in] the phase when the hamstrings are undergoing an active lengthening contraction.”

In English, that’s when the sprinter’s forward leg is stretched maximally forward, just as the hamstrings contract strongly to pull the leg back. In martial arts, that’s the point at which you’ve just extended the punch or kick fully, with speed and power, and you are about to snap it back.

I remember as a beginner getting sore arms shadow boxing because someone told me I was supposed to put the punch out there and get it back fast. Sore? I was only punching air! Extended negative eccentric contraction on muscles not yet strong enough; that explains it. Alrighty, then.

Just remember, strength and stretch together is excellent (the best) on healthy, strong muscles; but really bad news for an injury, however minor. In Phase I of rehabilitation? Don't even think about it.

Best regards,
Cindy
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