Role of static stretching in warm up

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Role of static stretching in warm up

Postby elskbrev » Feb 18, 2009 14:43

Would anyone comment on Michael Boyle’s Dec-03 article, "The Static Stretching Renaissance," posted at http://www.strengthcoach.com/public/1333.cfm , wherein he states:
…A lack of flexibility seems to be a causative factor in many of the gradual onset injury conditions that plague today's athletes. Overuse problems like patella-femoral syndrome, low back pain, and shoulder pain seem to relate strongly to long term tissue changes that don't respond to dynamic stretching.

The fact is that athletes need a combination of both active warm-up exercises and static stretching. For many coaches, the solution was active warm-up before exercise and static stretching after. Although this seems realistic, the process is somewhat flawed. Post-workout stretching does not seem to produce gains in flexibility. The key may lie in performing static stretching near the beginning of the workout, followed by dynamic warm-up. Static stretching would be done to increase flexibility while the muscle is most prone to increase in length. Dynamic warm-up would follow to prepare the muscles for exercise. Coaches need to think about length changes for long-term injury prevention and dynamic warm-up for short term injury prevention. Both are critical…

...The process for my athletes every day is the same. Foam roll [deep tissue massage] to decrease knots and trigger points. Static stretch to work on increasing flexibility. Follow that up with a dynamic warm-up.


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Re: Role of static stretching in warm up

Postby CSta » Feb 20, 2009 14:16

The article lacks credibility. Taken line for line.

(1) "A lack of flexibility seems to be a causative factor in many of the gradual onset injury conditions that plague today's athletes." "Seems"? To whom? Any objective evidence? "[T]hat plague today's athletes." Again, any evidence? Which athletes? If this guy was a legitimate source of information, the first sentence quoted would have read: "Results from a recent study done by [a reputable scientific body] showed that a lack of [enter favorite muscle here] flexibility contributes to gradual onset injuries to [enter muscle, tendon, whatever]."

When I see a sentence like that, it says to me the author is going to create a false, unproven, or unprovable problem and then is going to present the false, unproven, or unprovable solution. Some people call this "knocking over the straw man."

(2) "Overuse problems like patella-femoral syndrome, low back pain, and shoulder pain seem to relate strongly to long term tissue changes that don't respond to dynamic stretching." "Seem to relate strongly." Again, to whom? Any evidence? Also, "that don't respond to dynamic stretching." Is he suggesting that even if this "changed tissue" "responds" to static passive stretching, its dynamic flexibility cannot be improved? That doesn't sound right. Or, is he suggesting that dynamic stretching is the appropriate way to develop static passive flexibility? That also would be incorrect.

(3) "The fact is that athletes need a combination of both active warm-up exercises and static stretching." In general? Or, does he mean prior to exercise? Or is he saying, athletes need both warm-up exercises and static stretching to improve flexibility? He state's a conclusion, which is fine if it is supported by the rest of the paragraph. Let's see.

(4) For many coaches, the solution was active warm-up before exercise and static stretching after." The "solution" to what? A lack of flexibility? If so, what kind of flexibility? Or does he mean, to prevent overuse injuries? If so, I think the solution is to reduce loads/volume.

(5) "Although this seems realistic, the process is somewhat flawed. Post-workout stretching does not seem to produce gains in flexibility." Ah, he must be talking about improving flexibility. The first sentence is another conclusion, which is fine if it is supported. The next sentence, though, says "seems." Again, same questions as above.

(6) "The key may lie in performing static stretching near the beginning of the workout, followed by dynamic warm-up." "The key may lie," which also means "I don't know." Or "I am guessing." Rather than guessing, why doesn't he look for studies supporting his point, or conducting one himself.

(7) "Static stretching would be done to increase flexibility while the muscle is most prone to increase in length. Dynamic warm-up would follow to prepare the muscles for exercise." So, the object is to increase muscle length. Why is a muscle more prone to increases in length prior to a workout than after? He doesn't say. Does static stretching increase muscle length? Beats me, and he doesn't say it or support it. Would one session of static passive stretching increase a muscle's length? Is increasing muscle length the best way to increase flexibility? I though the nervous system played a greater roll.

(8) "Coaches need to think about length changes for long-term injury prevention and dynamic warm-up for short term injury prevention." If length changes are for long-term injury prevention (and not short term), why would you do it prior to exercise? Why not after?

(9) Not gonna quote it, but if this guy's so concerned about improving flexibility, why doesn't he recommend the method that produces the fastest results: isometrics?
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Re: Role of static stretching in warm up

Postby Thomas Kurz » Feb 20, 2009 18:52

CSta conclusions from analyzing the article match mine drawn from my observations, experience, and examination of the reference used to make these claims.

Mike Boyle's claims don't match the evidence. Look at your own experience and also see the thread Static Stretching When Muscles are Cold.

Below is my correspondence with Mike Boyle:

Subject: question on The Static Stretching Renaissance
From: kurz@stadion
Date: Fri, May 2, 2008 5:25 pm
To: MBoyle1959@ [I deleted the rest of his address to keep it from spammers]

Dear Sir,

I have read your article The Static Stretching Renaissance with interest.
I found the following passage intriguing:

"Post-workout stretching does not seem to produce gains in flexibility.
The key may lie in performing static stretching near the beginning of the
workout, followed by dynamic warm-up. Static stretching would be done to
increase flexibility while the muscle is most prone to increase in
length."

Could you please direct me to references for the above statements?

Best regards,

Thomas Kurz
http://www.stadion.com

Subject: question on The Static Stretching Renaissance
Date: Sat, 03 May 2008 16:09:06 -0400
From: mboyle1959@
To: kurz@stadion

Thomas- not sure about a reference. I have physical therapist friends who really believe that to change the muscle it needs to be done cold. I'll ask them for an actual study.

MB

Subject: Re: question on The Static Stretching Renaissance
From: kurz@stadion
Date: Mon, May 5, 2008 9:06 am
To: mboyle1959@

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for replying so quickly. I look forward to learning of
the study or other rationale for stretching cold.

Best regards,

Thomas Kurz
> Thomas- not sure about a reference. I have physical therapist  friends
> who really believe that to change the muscle it needs to be done cold.
> I'll ask them for an actual study.
>
>
>
> MB

But it gets better:

The only research Mike Boyle quotes for his article “The Static Stretching Renaissance” shows that at 24 hours poststretch the warm-up-and-static-stretch group had greater increases of hamstring length than the static-stretch-only group. So the research he quotes contradicts his main claim. Here is the abstract of his reference:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14743986

1: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2003 Dec;33(12):727-33.Links
The effect of static stretch and warm-up exercise on hamstring length over the course of 24 hours.de Weijer VC, Gorniak GC, Shamus E. Department of Allied Health Professions, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.

STUDY DESIGN: Experimental pretest-posttest control design. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the study was twofold: (1) to determine the lasting effect of static stretch on hamstring length for up to 24 hours and (2) to compare the efficacy of static stretch with and without warm-up exercise on hamstring length. BACKGROUND: Research is limited on the lasting effects of static stretching and is controversial on the combined effects of warm-up activities and static stretching on muscle lengthening. METHODS AND MEASURES: Fifty-six volunteer subjects (ages 18-42 years) with limited bilateral hamstring length were assigned to 1 of 4 groups: (1) warm-up and static stretch, (2) static stretch only, (3) warm-up only, and (4) control. The warm-up was 10 minutes of stair climbing at 70% of maximum heart rate. Static stretch consisted of a single session of three 30-second passive stretches of the hamstring. Hamstring length was measured preintervention and at several intervals postintervention (immediately and then at 15 minutes, 60 minutes, 4 hours, and 24 hours) using the active knee extension (AKE) test. Data were analyzed using a mixed-model analysis of variance. RESULTS: The warm-up-and-static-stretch group and the static-stretch-only group showed a significant increase in hamstring length between preintervention and all postintervention measurements. At 24 hours poststretch, the warm-up-and-static-stretch group had a mean increase of 10.3 degrees (95% confidence interval, 7.7-12.9) and the static-stretch-only group had a mean increase of 7.7 degrees (95% confidence interval, 4.7-10.7) in AKE range of motion (ROM). Both of these groups did show significant decrease (2.9 degrees and 4.0 degrees, respectively) in hamstring muscle length (AKE ROM) at 15 minutes poststretch when compared to immediate poststretch values. The static-stretch-only and the warm-up-and-static-stretch groups did not differ significantly from each other. Control and warm-up-only groups showed no significant increase in hamstring length between preintervention and any of the postintervention measurements. CONCLUSIONS: A significant increase in hamstring length can be maintained for up to 24 hours when using static stretching. Muscle length gains are greatest immediately after stretching and decline within 15 minutes. The addition of a warm-up exercise prior to stretching does not appear to significantly increase the effectiveness of static hamstring stretching.

PMID: 14743986 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

About foam rolling in a warm-up consider this view: http://miketnelson.blogspot.com/2008/01 ... oller.html
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Re: Role of static stretching in warm up

Postby Thomas Kurz » Feb 20, 2009 18:55

For my conclusions see “Stretching in Sports” in Stadion News Winter 2008 at http://www.stadion.com/freebies.html .
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