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Thread: Flexibility

  1. #18
    Regular Member wilfredlgf's Avatar
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    Funny that this topic came out; I was just talking to my colleague about this yesterday at the water cooler...

    To be honest, my opinion on that report would be quite balanced based on experience.

    Cons:
    Stretching helps to prepare the muscles for movements that need it to be stretched. To start playing badminton immediately with all the glories of smashing and stretching to take that net shot (in vain) would more often than not cause some injury.

    Pro:
    There had been time when I had joined a badminton game (in full office gear) without warm up and I ended up fine at the end, no injuries whatsoever. Same applied when I shot some hoops at the basketball court just to kill time.

    Conclusion:
    I believe this is more of a fitness matter, rather than the existance of a pre-game stretch. A person with good fitness would often be more capable of producing the goods immediately or quicker than one of less physical condition.

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    the stretching debate has gone for a long time and there's no clear advantage on either side:

    1. there's generally a lower risk of injury if stretching EITHER before OR after physical exertion.

    2. there's genreally no change (or slightly higher) risk of injury if stretching both before and after stretching

    3. stretching loosens the main muscles as well as the stabalizer muscles. This has opposite effects on body support. (Not stretching the stabalizer muscles provide more support so less injury, but not stretching the main muscles stresses the stablizer muscles more than otherwise and hence more injury.)

    Personally, i think the best balance is a very light stretch before exercise and a proper warm up.

  3. #20
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    Current thinking in "sports science" suggests that slow, static stretches are of little value in preparing the body for fast, dynamic muscle movements like those of badminton. What *is* beneficial is a general aerobic warm-up - ideally a 10 minute light jog (or equivalent) before every session. Similarly some relatively gentle aerobic activity afterwards is recommended.

    If you live near enough, cycle or jog to and from badminton for your warm-up and cool-down. Otherwise you should introduce some kind of "artificial" warm-up to substitute.

  4. #21
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    I would prefer 10 to 20mins of warm-up over stretching. It will help loosens your muscles.

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    I jus found this... quite interesting how it works from their point of view

    http://www.martinwells.com/Badmintol...ons/WarmUp.htm

  6. #23
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    Ah I'm famous.

    Actually there is a fair amount of research now. I look at it from this perspective:

    Can you think of any substance that when stretched becomes more resiliant the breaking? I can't. That's not to say muscle wouldn't behave like that but it was a very strange theory to adopt. Unfortunately it was adopted by everyone without any evidence supporting it.

    Now the research is coming on board we see what a load of nonsence it was. Stretching does increase static range of motion but unless your sport demands a big static range of motion, like doing the splits, it is not needed. Badminton does not require this range of motion.

    To reduce risk of muscle tear we need to reduce resistance to dynamic stretch. The way to do that - warm the muscle up.

    Something I need to add to my article is that there is clear research that people with larger ranges of motion have more injuries. Therefore you shouldn't stretch over the long term either.

    Also, static stretches reduce the force production of the muscle so performance is harmed.

    The only time you should do stretching is to relieve cramping muscles, or near cramping muscles.

    The important thing is to warm up properly. At some point we'll be adding a decent warm up routine to Badmintology so stay tuned.

    Joe - www.martinwells.com/Badmintology

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    Originally posted by JoeWright
    Can you think of any substance that when stretched becomes more resiliant the breaking? I can't.
    ...
    Badminton does not require this range of motion.
    trees than can bend with the wind down get blown down, and there are probably many Chinese sayings (that we might see in martial arts movies) that would say something similar.

    anyway, I think that increased flexibility protects you from injury in the situations you aren't expecting. Normal badminton movement may not require it, but if you slip and lose your footing, a simple lunge might suddenly become the splits with all your weight going down on it.

    When do footballers pull their hamstrings? When they're running normally, or when they slip?


    But also, you don't get lots of flexibility just by a few stretches before and after exercise. You have to keep doing stretches.

    That's what I think anyway. No research to back it up, it just seems to make sense.

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    If you bend a tree it doesn't make it less likely to break, it makes it more likely to break. Anyway...

    To prevent injuries due to slipage you should increase the muscle strength so that the slipage can be resisted and prevented.

    Research is suggesting that greater ranges of motion (ROM) obtained via stretching is actually due to increased stretch tollerance (i.e. pain onset is later in the stretch). It does appear from yoga that stretching over the very long term (years) can physically alter the muscle but the research hasn't been done to prove this.

    As stretching reduces muscle strength temporarily you will put yourself at greater risk of slip injuries by stretching. Plus, muscles cannot generate as much force in extreme positions so a greater ROM can put muscles at greater risk. This may be why the more flexible you are the more at risk of injuries you are.

    In the short term, quality warm-ups should be used to reduce dynamic resistance in the muscles and increase their strength (warm muscles are stronger muscles). In the long term, strength train to increase bone, tendon and muscle thickness, and muscle strength, to reduce injury.

    Don't do stretching! . Its bad for you! This is research led and has solid theory behind it.

    Joe

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    Whilst there seem to be good reasons for questioning the use of static stretching as a warm-up, I think it is unwise to totally discredit the value of stretching purely on the basis of relatively shallow research.

    Stretching leads to increased flexibility. It also alleviates muscle problems associated with stiffness or bad posture. Flexibility and muscle relaxation are not functionally identical with warm-up processes! The purpose of flexibility is to improve the range of safely-tolerable motion; the purpose of muscle relaxation is to prevent muscles becoming stiff or tense; the purpose of a warm-up process is to accustom the muscles (and related systems) to the demands of the sport for which they are about to be used.

    Different objectives require different solutions. Moreover, it is facile to say "this is proven by science" when the genuine claim is "some recent research has suggested that this may be the case."

    PS with regard to spurious analogies, here's one: which are stronger, the buildings in San Francisco or those in Tokyo? The ones in Tokyo are designed to be flexible, so that when they are hit by an earthquake they sway alarmingly from side to side. The ones in San Francisco, on the other hand, just break
    Last edited by Gollum; 02-08-2004 at 11:13 AM.

  10. #27
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    Firstly there have been quite a few studies that range from either showing no benefit, to actually showing harm from stretching. Secondly, to my knowledge there are no studies that strongly support stretching. Stretching is a proactive course to take and therefore shouldn't be done with good science supporting it, which there isn't.

    The research is suggesting that stretching leads to increased stretch tollerance, not increased flexibility. Flexibility does not appear to improve the range of safely-tolerable motion. Warm-ups improves the viscoelastic properities, or resistance to dynamic stretch, which is highly beneficial to reducing injury as well as improving blood flow, thus functionality, thus strength, thus injury prevention.

    Whilst current research doesn't 'prove' anything (from a scientific point of view, proof is impossible) we are seeing support against stretching and no support for stretching.

    Also, I think people are a little confused over what I said about stretching making things less likely to break. If materials and structures are selected and designed to be more flexible this should make them less suseptible to breakage. However, actually stretching a substance doesn't usually make it less likely to break, rather more likely.

    Stretching a tendon, like a spring, beyond its elastic limit will cause plastic deformation. Perhaps this plastic deformation brings the breakage point closer to usual motion range. Although I have not found anything on this topic specifically, it would explain why the more flexible you are the more prone to errors you are.

    Joe

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    In a presentation on Sports Physiology, about 10 years ago by a physiologist and also doing studies and field research with a professional football (soccer) team and high level athletes - what I remember is the following:

    - stretching prior to exercise: there is no data supporting that it is beneficial. Biopsies (?) after stretching in the beginning of the session show tear and hemorrhage in the muscle tissues;
    - up to then there was no evidence that supports the benefits of stretching (the instructor also mentioned there was no evidence against it).

    From his (team) research, the statistics show that athletes doing stretching could perform wider range of motion, and have less injury issues (related to motion). This is not final and he mentioned that he would continue to gather more data for his studies.

    One thing he mentioned that was still unknown - the tearing and scarring of the muscle tissue from stretching - if appears that this contributes to the better flexibility and performance by the athlete.

    As far as I remember at the end of the presentation, stretching is recommended but not forced. Start with small range and increase gradually the stretching areas. Very important is do not force yourself as it will not benefit you.

    This was said about 10 years ago. Recent advances in this area may have newer evidences on this issue. As for myself, I will continue with my stretching until there is clear evidence that I should not do it.

  12. #29
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    I think it is wiser to not stretch until there is good evidence that you should.

    Still, I've said all I can say for now. Attitudes take a long time to change. Hey, there's still people out there that think lactic acid causes delayed onset muscle soreness. But that's another story...

    Joe

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    I think it is wiser to not stretch until there is good evidence that you should.
    I think it is wiser to continue stretching until there is good evidence that you should
    not.

    Evidence does not just take the form of specific scientific research - general experience and anecdotal evidence has value too. Scientific research is of course a better way to proceed, but there seems to be rather a paucity of such research at the moment to support your anti-stretching claims.

    Hell, if we all adopted new habits based on "the latest research", we'd never do anything for more than a week

    In particular, though, I have noticed that regular stretching makes me feel better. It even reduces the pain of my ankle injury! It would take pretty strong research to convince me otherwise.

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    Can you think of any substance that when stretched becomes more resiliant the breaking?
    Dough.

  15. #32
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    Yes I thought of dough originally, however:

    Repeatedly stretching dough increases its elastic modulus but not, I believe, its ultimate strength or elastic limit. Although I'm no expert on the physics dough.

    In fact I bet the elastic limit is reduced for repeatedly stretched dough than it is for unstretched which makes it more likely to break.

    Just guessing, needs some testing. Some UK university investigated dunking buscuits in tea so maybe it'll happen.

    Joe

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    Originally posted by JoeWright
    Ah I'm famous.

    Actually there is a fair amount of research now. I look at it from this perspective:

    Can you think of any substance that when stretched becomes more resiliant the breaking?

    Joe - www.martinwells.com/Badmintology
    This is an interesting viewpoint. In response:

    You are asking to a non-science audience here I think you would have to give that question to a scientist for an answer.

    Think about an elastic material (something like a rubber band) that you want to wrap around an object like a box, and you need to stretch it to its full extent to wrap it round the object. Is there a higher risk of the band breaking if you stretch it to wrap it round the object straight away than if you gradually strectched it in little increments until you reached the objects size? Does gradually stretching the elastic increase its potential size?
    Last edited by UkPlayer; 02-08-2004 at 06:49 PM.

  17. #34
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    UkPlayer,

    Elastic bands is a good example. The more you stretch it (in terms of repetition) the more it wares out. So do not pre-stretch an elastic band.

    Pre-stretching the elastic band passed its elastic limit will induce plastic deformation which will make it looser. However, this is at the expense of strength.

    Joe

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