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BendtheBar 03-26-2012 09:15 AM

Stretching is BS
Posting this for discussion. I have no horse in this race.

Stretching is B.S. by Menno Henselmans

T NATION | Stretching is B.S.


But over the last two decades or so, people have started to figure out that stretching isn't quite the holy grail of healthy training.

In summary, we've come to realize that stretching is limited in its use, and is not the panacea that every perky girl in form fitting yoga pants would have us believe. And with that, I'm here to deliver the coup de grâce.

Impressively Formal Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is directed at neurologically intact and asymptomatic individuals. Clinical populations should consult with their therapist before implementing the approaches advocated in this article.

For those not quite up to date with the advances in our knowledge of stretching, here's the short version.

Stretching, regardless of form, does not reduce muscle soreness.
Static stretching, whether before or after exercise, does not prevent and, in excess, may even cause performance injuries.
Static stretching of a muscle before exercise decreases its subsequent performance.
Static stretching does not increase strength or muscle gains from resistance training.

In line with these findings, the idea that stretching is good and more of it is better, has been replaced with the advice that we should do dynamic stretching before training and static stretching after. The dynamic stretching is intended to increase mobility and the static stretching to increase flexibility.

Moreover, it's generally accepted that we don't have to stretch every single muscle – only those that are excessively shortened as a result of training or daily activities.

This is fundamentally wrong.

Final Notes

Stretching is one of the great myths of the fitness industry. The facts are in, the jury has deliberated, and the verdict is clear: the usefulness of static stretching is severely limited.

Anyway, let no Testosterone-fueled man henceforth subject himself to more than five minutes of this tedious activity per day.

Take Home Messages

You can't increase a muscle's length by stretching it. You can only increase your neural stretch tolerance.
To increase flexibility, adhere to the specificity principle. Increasing passive ROM is best achieved by 30 seconds of static stretching in a position as close to the desired position as possible. Increasing active ROM is best achieved by performing the desired movement against a resistance over your maximal ROM.
Keep warm-ups short and to the point. Prepare your body for the specific task at hand.
If you want to change your posture, you need to become aware of it and correct it until holding your new posture becomes automatic.

BendtheBar 03-26-2012 09:15 AM

There is a lot more in the article. I recommend reading it if you have time. It's interesting to say the least.

SeventySeven 03-26-2012 09:42 AM

I have read similar things, i rarely stretch directly. Warming up with weights does the trick nicely.

Fazc 03-26-2012 09:44 AM

Highly questionable!!!

5kgLifter 03-26-2012 09:46 AM

Oddly, I agree with it.

For instance, stretching can cause DOMS as bad as those that are a result of a really heavy session in the gym.

Stretching also loosens joints and some joints need to have good integrity to withstand exercises such as squats and lunges etc, after stretching they are too loose and are more an overall danger.

Neither can a person stretch a muscle, muscles don't stretch per se; you have the appearance of stretching in that you have taught the muscle not to spasm once it reaches a set point...a muscle that believes it is in a dangerous position will tighten up and that's how you generally end up with those that are able to stretch without issues and yet others with the exact same muscles that cannot do so. Injuries enhance the "defensive reflex" that sets in when a person tries to stretch a muscle; whereas, when a person takes the time to gradually take the muscle to the point just prior to discomfort, the body will remember that and realise there is no danger and therefore will loosen up on future occasions, etc.

Not sure if that makes sense to anyone but, aside from genetic issues with muscles, everyone's muscles have the same ability to "stretch" for want of a better term; so much so that on an operating table they have to be careful of dislocations when a person's muscles are relaxed whereas once we are conscious we find we can't "stretch"...and it's all down to the body remembering past conditioning and not because the muscles are any shorter.

emekajokammor 03-26-2012 11:07 AM

Interesting. Gotta consider the fact that Menno Henselmans has an obvious thing against the fitness industry tho.

Most of his articles are basically myth busting attempts.

Fazc 03-26-2012 11:39 AM

I would love to see some videos of the author attempting max squat, bench and deadlifts. I would gladly help him out in how to improve form via stretching.

BendtheBar 03-26-2012 11:59 AM

My 2 cents...

I think sometimes these young whipper snappers don't view things through the lens of time and age. I no longer stretch - I did for 30 years - and pay the price. I can't bend over to get the dog leash without fear of tweaking a hamstring. I am that inflexible. Despite my (cough) athletic prowess.

Being inflexible is not helping me.

Now, being ignorant and never having studied stretching, I assume my inflexibility is 1oo% muscular...

I see valid points on both sides of this discussion, but being an inflexible old dolt, I don't see where not stretching is helping me right now...

JacktheThriller 03-26-2012 12:15 PM

I need to do a quick stretch on my legs before I squat/deadlift. IMO We (humans) rarely take ourselves through a full ROM outside of the gym. Whens the last time you had to squat to the floor and lift something, for most people it doesnt happen. Stretching can take your joint through full ROM without added weight on it to prime it for the movement. Also you can detect injuries by stretching. If you have severe quad or hamstring tightness but only in extreme ROM added weight can easily cause an injury to this area.

SeventySeven 03-26-2012 12:26 PM

When using warm up sets how would it not prepare your muscles for heavier loads?
I like to pause in my warm up at sets before the drive and feel the stretch. I dont see how touching my toes is going to be more beneficial then holding a say 135 lbs at the bottom of a squat.

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