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Thread: Flexibility

  1. #35
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    Gollum,

    You should have a good reason to do something unnatural before doing it. Anecdotal evidence is worthless in my opinion. I've switched to no stretching and feel a lot better for it. A friend of mine has never stretched and never got any injuries of note, However, uncontrolled n=1 studies are meaningless so I don't include this information.

    General experience can be useful for practical implementation but not as a source of research (maybe a source of hypotheses to research) because of the lack of recorded data and controlled trials.

    I think you're stretching (pardon the pun) the 'little research' point a bit. Although I think there should be more I have read around 10 - 20 papers relating to this and have seen quotes from another 15 or so. I can only remember one reference to one paper that suggested a benefit (in terms of injury prevention and increased performance) of stretching but unfortunately have not seen the paper yet.

    A lot of studies indicate no significant difference between stretching versus not stretching. However, the ones investigating power and strength almost always indicate a reduction in performance when stretching is used.

    If you can find research that indicates a benefit from stretching then please let me know: joe@martinwells.com

    In terms of stretching for rehabilitation (with reference to your ankle injury) I don't know much. I have had a bit of a look and turned up a blank but I didn't look hard. It is on my todo list.

    Regards, Joe

  2. #36
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    Joe,

    Yes I can see how an elastic bands strength would be decreased and the band would be deformed if you stretched it past its elastic limit. And definitely the type of stretching where you stretch the muscles (ballistic is it?) past their limit before a game is not advisable, and you can over stretch. But the question I'm asking is slighlty more subtle I think.

    To get the elastic band around the object requires that the band be stretched just past its elastic limit. Is there more risk of the band breaking when you stretch it around the object straight away, or if you pre-stretch it a little inside the elastic limit first.

    Sorry to labour this question but I'm genuinely interested

    See I thought the point of stretching a muscle before a game was to guard against the occurence of stretching too far during the game. And I always thought one of the dangers of the warm up stretch was stretching too far. Never thought about the long term consequences though, always thought that the muscle adapted appropriately.

    UKP

  3. #37
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    I recalled in a "Making of" documentary in The Matrix DVD where Keanu Reeves was talking about how he and the rest of the cast had to undergo hour-long stretching routines while they're in training to prepare for the martial arts scenes in the film. Preparation and training is probably under the direction of famed martial arts choreographer Yuan Wo Ping and assisted by his troupe of acrobats.

    Now if martial arts practitioners incorporated stretching into their practice for the longest time, I would think there is some benefits for stretching despite what the latest research indicated.
    Last edited by cappy75; 02-08-2004 at 07:21 PM.

  4. #38
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    I have to admit I'm getting to the edge of my material science knowledge, but I'll have a go.

    The break point (ultimate force) should be a fixed physical variable. Elastic deformation (i.e. before the elastic limit) should not alter this significantly but theoretically could through temperature generation (probably benefitial) and mechanical ware (harmful). Plastic deformation (after the elastic limit) I think increases the extension required to reach the ultimate force but is destructive and therefore reduces the ultimate force required to cause breakage.

    In general, if the elastic band needs to be stretched to a certain length (even if passed the elastic limit) then pre-stretching below that extension length probably doesn't make that much practical difference.

    In terms of muscles I think that static stretching that physically alters the range of motion has probably caused injury already (note: my thoughts, take them with a pinch of salt). In general it is thought that the common stretching routines simply cause an analgesic effect. Combine this with the strength reduction and you get the higher risk of injury.

    It is also thought that mid to possibly long term stretching again does not significantly alter the muscles physically but just increases the stretch tolerance. However, even if long term stretching gives a physcially larger ROM is this beneficially? I know of one paper that associates high ROM with high injury rates. This is probably due to strength issues in extreme joint positions.

    Joe

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    I believe static streching is of no benefit before badminton, as muscle are not warm,
    and conducive to expanding. It is far better to do a warmup like jogging or joint rotation. After exercise would be the best for stretching as the muscles are warm and can expand easily.

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    cappy75,

    Not necessarily. Stretching has been generally carried out by all top sports people because they thought they should and great performances have still been produced. Question is, would greater performances or fewer injuries happened if everyone didn't stretch? The research indicates yes.

    Joe

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    There is one place in which I fully believe in stretching - when you get cramp. But that is a slightly different situation.

    Joe

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    Incidentally, I think all these comparisons between muscles and other substances are spurious (including my dough one). Long-term stretching of muscles may have a totally different effect upon their condition than stretching an elastic band, simply because muscles can repair themselves and grow/lengthen/shorten in response to stimulus. Elastic bands can't grow new bits of elastic inbetween ruptured "cells".

    After all, what is weight training if not short-term "damage" to the muscles?

  9. #43
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    You're quite right in terms of long term adaptions. Also, comparing muscles to elastic bands is limited because muscles are viscoelastic rather than elastic.

    My original point was that the initial theory of stretching = benefit was strange given that its not the sort of thing you see anywhere else. However, if there was good research behind it then everyone should be doing it. But there isn't so...

    Joe

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    Well as an indirect result of this research I have indeed stopped using static stretches for a warm-up. I haven't yet noticed any more muscle soreness as a result. I just don't feel that the research goes far enough to establish that stretching has no benefits in general.

    As an aside though, if you didn't believe that anecdotal evidence and especially general experience have *any* value, then every time you wanted to make a decision you would have to consult a scientific journal (including the decision whether to consult a journal....)

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    Smile

    Oh you got me!

  12. #46
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    I don't read the latest scientific researches on stretching, but as an older player, I find stretching useful. When I was younger, the PE lecturer advocated that we should "warm up" our bodies first before we did our stretching exercises, presumably to avoid unnecessary injury to our muscles. To warm up our bodies, one way is to jog around or to move our limbs about to increase our heart rate. But the activity must not be sudden, jerky or fast. After that we stretched.

    I now find that the pre- and post- game stretching exercises are still not enough to overcome the pain and muscle soreness the next day. I don't suppose a young player will necessarily experience the same problem as his recovery rate is relatively much faster. Maybe the lactic acid has not been effectively drained away and I still have to do some more stretching. Admittedly my stretching exercises are limited in number and duration. But I still need to stretch.

    As a matter of fact, the BBC Sports website gives many examples of stretching exercises, presumably to help an athlete's performance.

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    In a recent BAofE coaching magazine there was a section about warming up. It also concluded that static stretching was of no benefit and actually harmed performance. It quoted a study of children doing gymnastics (I think). The gist of it was that one set of the children did a warm up containing static stretches and the other set did a different warm up that did not have any static stretches. They were then measured in a jump exercise, and the group that had done static stretches on average jumped significantly less high than the other group.

    I haven't done a warm up with static stretches for years now as our old county coach was also a sports science lecturer, who showed us the research and allowed us to reach our own conclusions. Also, every physio i've ever been to has agreed never to do static stretching in a warm up.

    I do think stretching has a place outside of the warm up though - i've had several injuries caused by muscle tightness, particularly in the quads. Massage and stretching eases the tightness fairly quickly.

  14. #48
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    Originally posted by Gollum
    Well as an indirect result of this research I have indeed stopped using static stretches for a warm-up. I haven't yet noticed any more muscle soreness as a result. I just don't feel that the research goes far enough to establish that stretching has no benefits in general.

    As an aside though, if you didn't believe that anecdotal evidence and especially general experience have *any* value, then every time you wanted to make a decision you would have to consult a scientific journal (including the decision whether to consult a journal....)
    What a great discussion!

    The original review was a systemic review. That is it takes as many studies as possible(with some lmitations), and tries to make sense of them. The limitations of such a method have been well put by Neil. The study quoted is current 'best evidence'. ie you'll have to wait a few years to obtain more evidence in the form of studies.

    Of course, one must be careful to use the evidence in accordance with one's own experience. Personally, I was never one to stretch very much. Players who have done stretching routines must be aware they usually also play practice rallies of the shuttle which will confuse the issues. People with larger range of motions may naturally have larger range of motions and be more prone to injury i.e. they may be inherently more prone to injury. I defer a more definitive statement on this until review of the literature.

    So importantly, there does not seem to be so much going against modest stretching at the moment. So people who choose to stretch can do so until more studies appear. The fact is that 'not stretching' will not do as much harm as people were once led to believe......as far as we know at the moment.

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    Sorry Cheung, I must get the last word

    The review posted at the beginnning of this thread only accounts for a fraction of the research out there now on this topic. In fact, there are a few papers that look at the impact of strength and power from stretching that are more pertinent to badminton.

    As such, the best conclusion so far is that stretching before performance is bad for you (both in terms of injuries and performance). Over the long term there hasn't been much but one paper associates higher ROM with higher injuries which would advise against stretching over the long term.

    Joe

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    No problem.

    I don't have the time to search out the research myself.

    If ever I get the time perhaps we could collaborate and do the review ourselves. There are some statistical consideratins in doing a good systemic review.

    Maybe it's time to start getting famous!

  17. #51
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    When asked for comments on the current issue, Dr Cheung of Badminton Forum University HK had decided that it is still in research, "So far, there had not been any conclusions on whether stretching would bring any benefit or not in exercise. By the way, we have nice t-shirts here in BFU".

    Meanwhile, adding his opinion to this matter, freshman Wilfredlgf believes that stretching does help. "I think it is more of a by sport kinda thing, ya know? (Am I on TV?) Ya know, the kinda sport? Try doin' gymnastics without stretching, that'd pull a muscle if ya know what I mean? Badminton needs a degree of flexibility to stretch to get them net shots and to reach high for the smash, ya know, unless one plays a lot drives only. So... I think the kind of sports matter... yah! (Hey ma! *waves*)".

    He continued to speak about sports such as table tennis in which perhaps a lesser degree of stretching would be needed before talking about cafeteria food and 'shuttle feather' and 'soup'.

    This is Kason Ashaway, reporting from BFU, Kuala Lumpur.
    Last edited by wilfredlgf; 02-09-2004 at 10:17 PM.

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