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Stretching and Strength Training

It has beenStretching girl often said that strength training decreases flexibility because the muscle get stiffer from the high loads placed upon them. Static stretching can help increase flexibility but performed before strength training it reduces strength and stability. Dynamic stretching, in contrast to static stretching, has been shown to be an effective and safe method to warm up prior to strength training, and is also an effective method to increase flexibility in beginners. However, what effect does dynamic stretching have on strength training effects and does strength training really decrease flexibility? To find out the effects of stretching on strength training, scientists from the University of Rio de Janeiro started the following study.

Improving Running Economy

Running Improving Running Economyis a very popular and effective method to increase endurance and improve health. An increasing number of people participate in large running events such as a Marathon, Half-Marathon or other distances. Aside from oxygen uptake (VO2max) running economy is one of the most important variables that influences how well you perform at running events. This article will tell you why and how you should be improving your running economy.

Top 5 Static stretching fables

 StaticStatic stretching fables stretching is the most performed form of stretching. For most people it is the only form of stretching they know and its simply synonymous with stretching. Static stretching is performed by all sorts of athletes, from those just starting to run after years of inactivity to the most elite athletes in almost all sports. It is often recommended by (personal) trainers and coaches for several reasons, all of which have been disproven by scientific research. Or in other words are plain nonsense. This article will tell you which supposed effects are static stretching fables.

Effects of stretching on strength training

(09-10-2013) Stretching is often performed Stretching girlbefore or during a workout to increase mobility, reduce risk of injury and to warm up the muscles. Although previous research has indicated that static stretching beforehand does not reduce injury rate or warm up the muscles, researchers were interested in the longer term effects of stretching on strength training effects which were unknown until now.

The pro’s and cons of different stretching methods

Stretching is often done as a form of warming up before exercise,Stretching methods to decrease the risk of sports injury or to increase the range of motion of muscles and joints. Although there are several different stretching methods, the most performed method is static stretching. Other forms of stretching are balistic stretching, dynamic stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). This article gives an overview of these different stretching methods and their specific advantages and disadvantages and advice when to use them.

Stretching, How and When?

Stretching, How and When?

Stretching, when performed in the right way a the right time, can be a very useful way to improve flexibility and retain range of motion. However many people get it wrong.

For one, it is not a good idea to stretch immediately after exercise. The muscles are likely to have small ruptures or microtrauma from the workout itself, which only gets worse by stretching it. And because of increased blood flow and fluid in the muscle as a result of training, the muscle will be stiffer. Stretching a muscle stiff with blood and fluid will only add to the damage, and therefore muscle soreness.

Second, research has not found any evidence that stretching helps to prevent injuries. Moreover, it even seems to increase risk of injury when performed prior to training, because the muscle can lose strength and is therefore more vulnerable and less stable. This occurs especially as a result of static stretching, which can lower muscle strength by as much as 10-20%.

Not all forms of stretching prior to exercise are a bad idea. Dynamic stretching does have positive effects. When stretching a muscle dynamically, tension on the muscle is gently applied towards their maximum range of motion for short durations. This activates the stretched muscles, preparing them for higher forces and contraction speeds, which can increase maximum strength. In addition it will increase muscle temperature because it is an active form of stretching, whereas static stretching does not.

This does not mean static stretching does not have any benefits, it can increase range of motion in a safe manner. But to reap most benefits and not run additional risk of injury during training, static stretching is best performed on days when no cardiovascular or strength training is planned.

Stretching: how and when?

Stretching, when performed in the right way a the right time, can be a very useful way to improve flexibility and retain range of motion. However many people get it wrong.

For one, it is not a good idea to stretch immediately after exercise. The muscles are likely to have small ruptures or micro trauma from the workout itself, which only gets worse by stretching it. And because of increased blood flow and fluid in the muscle as a result of training, the muscle will be stiffer. Stretching a muscle stiff with blood and fluid will only add to the damage, and therefore muscle soreness.

Second, research has not found any evidence that stretching helps to prevent injuries. Moreover, it even seems to increase risk of injury when performed prior to training, because the muscle can lose strength and is therefore more vulnerable and less stable. This occurs especially as a result of static stretching, which can immediately lower muscle strength by as much as 10-20% during the subsequent training.

Not all forms of stretching prior to exercise are a bad idea. Dynamic stretching does have positive effects. When stretching a muscle dynamically, tension on the muscle is gently applied towards their maximum range of motion for short durations. This activates the stretched muscles, preparing them for higher forces and contraction speeds, which can increase maximum strength. In addition it will increase muscle temperature because it is an active form of stretching, whereas static stretching does not.

This does not mean static stretching does not have any benefits, it can increase range of motion in a safe manner. But to reap most benefits and not run additional risk of injury during training, static stretching is best performed on days when no cardiovascular or strength training is planned.

Range of Motion

The range of motion is a term which is used to describe the range through which a joint or muscle can move. The range of motion of a joint is dependent on several factors such as the stiffness of tendons or ligaments, activity level, age, gender and structure of the particular joint.

During training it is important to move through an as large as possible part of the available and safe range of motion. This results in a more effective training for the active muscles and flexibility is maintained or even increased. A limited range of motion can be detrimental to performance in sports and is related to developing physical problems such as low back pain. In addition a limited range of motion also increases risk of injury.

See also:

-Force-Length Relationship