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Thread: Flexibility

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    Wilfred, has someone spiked your tea or hit you over the head with a racquet?

    Before generalising on the basis of the existing evidence, it might be helpful if some personal accounts were taken into consideration; I for one have always benefited from stretching; indeed, it has been an essential part of my warm up routine for every athletic sport I've played.
    For example, when I used to run cross-country in my early teens, my calf and hamstring muscles would develop severe cramp if I did not engage in a proper stretching routine before running; and, more specifically, if I don't stretch before playing badminton, I feel very stiff, and my shoulder aches as soon as I try to play overhead shots, during the warm up.

    Although, having said that, I've noticed recently that on occasions where I don't have more than 10mins or so to stretch before stepping on court, I seem to hit the shuttle better.

    Rather than discounting the value of stretching altogether, perhaps it would be better to advise against excessive stretching, and to concede that some light stretching may actually be beneficial.

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    Originally posted by ynexfan2003
    Wilfred, has someone spiked your tea or hit you over the head with a racquet?
    Just trying to be different while staying with the point of argument. It can get pretty boring reading one long text after another, why not spice it up as a fictional news report? (I'm not sure if kwun would agree to this...)

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    Anecdote:

    It was not so long ago that the practice of blood letting using leeches was a common practice. All the physicians used to prescribe it This has now died out.

    Catch a cold: take some medicine. You'll recover in about a week's time (give or take a few days)

    Catch a cold: take no medicine. You'll still recover in about a week's time!!!(give or take the few days)





    Actually, there are many instances in where poorly performed research or just personal experiences has perpetuated into blind truth.

    We are now entering the era where more rigorous methods are being used to assess conditions.

    Personal experiences are not to be discounted (after all, not every person conforms to a standard body shap, size, muscular development). But the important thing about the review is getting together the relevant studies and producing a consensus.

    Of course, it's everybody's right to dismiss the evidence out of hand. But the original review I referred to will form the basis of the expert 'opinions' in the next few years.

    Why did I put that article up? It was precisely because it goes against mainstream opinion. If it had only been one research study, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But it combines ALL the relevant studies that the authors could find. It's also published in a very eminent British Medical Journal (wonder if that is credible enough for Ynexfan2003). Everybody can quote a story contradictory to the research. However, the research is applicable to the population as a whole (which is the important point).

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    Does stretching increase the flexibility and suppleness of the joints?

    I think stretching is of benefit to people who are predominantly inactive or are older in age for the above reason.

    Following from Cheung. I believe that players benefit from a wider range of motions, by stretching.

    But for a young and fit person, stretching will have no clear benefits or advantages.

    I personally do not notice any difference in recovery, muscle pain etc from stretching before and/ or after a game. From my experience, the fitter you are, the faster your recovery and less chance of injury.

    I have obsereved that animals naturally stretch a lot. My cat can be sleeping in once second, and then be jumping and running around full speed the next. My cat sleeps during a majority of the day, it doesn't go jogging or for a warm up...but has such great explosive energy. It does stretch a lot however...maybe it is Cat Yoga

    So I believe streching is of use, but not in the traditional sense of it, in that it reduces risk of injury or muscle pain, especially in badminton. Instead, we gain or maintain a level of dexterity and suppleness that enables us to bend lower and further to retrieve those awkward to reach shuttles, and to be able to swing further backwards for a more powerful/deceptive stroke.

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    Originally posted by Cheung
    Anecdote:

    It was not so long ago that the practice of blood letting using leeches was a common practice. All the physicians used to prescribe it This has now died out.

    Catch a cold: take some medicine. You'll recover in about a week's time (give or take a few days)

    Catch a cold: take no medicine. You'll still recover in about a week's time!!!(give or take the few days)

    Actually, there are many instances in where poorly performed research or just personal experiences has perpetuated into blind truth.

    We are now entering the era where more rigorous methods are being used to assess conditions.

    Personal experiences are not to be discounted (after all, not every person conforms to a standard body shap, size, muscular development). But the important thing about the review is getting together the relevant studies and producing a consensus.

    Of course, it's everybody's right to dismiss the evidence out of hand. But the original review I referred to will form the basis of the expert 'opinions' in the next few years.

    Why did I put that article up? It was precisely because it goes against mainstream opinion. If it had only been one research study, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But it combines ALL the relevant studies that the authors could find. It's also published in a very eminent British Medical Journal (wonder if that is credible enough for Ynexfan2003). Everybody can quote a story contradictory to the research. However, the research is applicable to the population as a whole (which is the important point).
    Cheung, you've got some crazy ideas; but given the unorthodox branch of medicine you practise, perhaps we ought not to be surprised . It is clear that antihistamines, decongestants and "antiseptic" lozenges such as Strepsils reduce the symptoms of the cold virus, altough they may not treat the virus itself (incidentally, there have been very few clinical trials to determine the efficacy of most commercial, combination cold products). Are you suggesting that although they may help us deal better with the cold, we should stop taking them because they may not expedite our recovery?

    You're quite right that anecdotal evidence is not sufficiently critical for scientific research; during the Renaissance, there were a group of very serious scientists associated with Robert Hooke who decided to attempt to cure a madman by transfusing the blood of a goat; having observed that the man had survived the transfusion they announced to the public that the operation was a success, although they conceded that he seemed a little "sheepish". However, after ten days or so, the man, not surprisingly, died.

    To return to the question of the benefits of stretching before exercise; there must be a significant reason why (to judge from extant artefacts such as the scenes depicted on ancient Greek pottery) stretching has been an important preparatory routine for athletic exercises during the past three millennia. Until further research is carried out, it would surely be inadvisable to recommend not stretching before exercise.

    I know for certain that if I don't stretch before playing badminton, I will be stiff during the game and my muscles will be very sore afterwards; but perhaps this is attributable to the present condition of my body: although I'm in my early twenties, I have had several injuries. And while there are many at my club who simply step on the court as soon as they arrive without any observable adverse effects, I suspect there are a significant number of players, who, like myself, would suffer adverse affects from not partaking in a warm up routine which includes static stretches.
    Last edited by ynexfan2003; 02-10-2004 at 12:48 PM.

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    Originally posted by ynexfan2003
    Cheung, you've got some crazy ideas; but given the unorthodox branch of medicine you practise, perhaps we ought not to be surprised . It is clear that antihistamines, decongestants and "antiseptic" lozenges such as Strepsils reduce the symptoms of the cold virus, altough they may not treat the virus itself (incidentally, there have been very few clinical trials to determine the efficacy of most commercial, combination cold products). Are you suggesting that although they may help us deal better with the cold, we should stop taking them because they may not expedite our recovery?

    You're quite right that anecdotal evidence is not sufficiently critical for scientific research; during the Renaissance, there were a group of very serious scientists associated with Robert Hooke who decided to attempt to cure a madman by transfusing the blood of a goat; having observed that the man had survived the transfusion they announced to the public that the operation was a success, although they conceded that he seemed a little "sheepish". However, after ten days or so, the man, not surprisingly, died.

    To return to the question of the benefits of stretching before exercise; there must be a significant reason why (to judge from extant artefacts such as the scenes depicted on ancient Greek pottery) stretching has been an important preparatory routine for athletic exercises during the past three millennia. Until further research is carried out, it would surely be inadvisable to recommend not stretching before exercise.
    Excellent reply! What's so crazy about leeches? It used to be a very common practice I do not suggest people stop taking the medications for the common cold. I'm pointing out that you will not be cured earlier with medications. You might feel better though with relief of symptoms. But that's getting off the topic.

    For the Greek pottery example, history does not prove stretching is of benefit. Only that we should try to confirm things in a proper, scientifically rigorous manner. Not sure what your field is in. If it is a scientific background, like psychology or other biological backgrounds, perhaps you could look up the definitions of 'bias' (a scientific term relating to experimental studies), 'regression to mean' (more of a statistical problem) and 'placebo effect'.

    BTW, I did not write the systemic review somebody else did! I'm here to help BFer's be aware of more scientific evidence and to put it into context.

    It's like the smoking and cancer paradox. Some years ago, people would justify their continuance of smoking by saying "I know xxx, and yyy, and they are living to the 80's and still smoking". Unfortunately, you only notice the survivors, not the numbers who died....

    Maybe ynexfan2003 is a believer of contemporary medicine. Even so, contemporary medicine should survive the scrutiny of scientific appraisal

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    Leeches are making a comeback in medicine. One example is in re-attaching parts of the body which were servered in an accident or something. Such operations may cause blood clots to form around the area and may cause the natural healing to be interrupted or fail. Using leeches, the blood vessels seems to heal faster and at a high rate of success.

    I read somewhere that leeches are effective as treatment to bruises, the blue and black kind.

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    Originally posted by wilfredlgf
    Leeches are making a comeback in medicine. One example is in re-attaching parts of the body which were servered in an accident or something. Such operations may cause blood clots to form around the area and may cause the natural healing to be interrupted or fail. Using leeches, the blood vessels seems to heal faster and at a high rate of success.

    I read somewhere that leeches are effective as treatment to bruises, the blue and black kind.
    Yes, I've seen on TV a demonstration of using leeches to help in blood flow and prevent blood clotting, with all its attendant benefits.

    Just two days' ago, I attended an IPO (Initial Public Offer) launch of a waste water treatment company and was fascinated to discover that they are now resorting to culturing micro-organisms to help solve the problem. In many countries, the treatment of waste water involves huge equipment and machinery to dissolve the waste and to rid the smell from sludge, etc, and this proves to be very expensive to install and maintain. The micro-organism, which is nature like the leech, somehow forms part of the food chain that can destroy the waste material which doesn't leave behind obnoxious smell that can affect the entire office or industrial building as is currently the case.

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    Originally posted by wilfredlgf
    Leeches are making a comeback in medicine. One example is in re-attaching parts of the body which were servered in an accident or something. Such operations may cause blood clots to form around the area and may cause the natural healing to be interrupted or fail. Using leeches, the blood vessels seems to heal faster and at a high rate of success.
    That's right, but the aims are different to those a few hundred years ago.

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    It had finally made the headline news

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/diet.....ap/index.html

    CDC research finds no evidence stretching prevents injuries
    Monday, March 29, 2004 Posted: 10:46 AM EST (1546 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretching does not live up to its reputation as an injury preventer, a survey has found.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooler
    It had finally made the headline news

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/diet.....ap/index.html

    CDC research finds no evidence stretching prevents injuries
    Monday, March 29, 2004 Posted: 10:46 AM EST (1546 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretching does not live up to its reputation as an injury preventer, a survey has found.....
    That's a good find Cooler.

    Interesting that I cannot find the orginal article after doing a search of medline. Maybe it is too new? The author is 'Thacker SB' of the CDC so that must give it quite a lot of credibility.

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    I'm gonna post the news content since that link might disappear one day.
    I don't think stretching is 100% unuseful, it depend how and when to use it - like me stretching in my office now including yawning
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    CDC research finds no evidence stretching prevents injuries

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretching does not live up to its reputation as an injury preventer, a survey has found.

    "We could not find a benefit," said Stephen B. Thacker, director of the epidemiology program office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Athletes who stretch might feel more limber, but they shouldn't count on stretching to keep them healthy, he said.

    Thacker and four CDC colleagues combed research databases for studies that had compared stretching with other ways to prevent training injuries. They combined data from five studies so they could look more closely for any benefits that might emerge as a pattern. Their report is in the March issue of the American College of Sports Medicine journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

    People who stretched were no more or less likely to suffer injuries such as pulled muscles, which the increased flexibility that results from stretching is supposed to prevent, researchers found. And the injuries found in the study typically happened within the muscle's normal range of motion, so stretching them would not have made a difference, Thacker said.

    Other research has found that warmups, which increase blood flow through the muscle and make it more ready to respond to exercise, can reduce the risk of injury, Thacker said. Being in good shape also helps. Strength and balance training reduced injuries as well, he said.

    People such as gymnasts and dancers might be exceptions, because their activities require great flexibility, so stretching might improve their performance, Thacker said.

    In case future research does find a benefit, Thacker has no problem with athletes continuing to do gentle stretching. That's not the case with stretches that include sudden fast movements, called "ballistic stretches," which have been found in other studies to raise injury risks.

    The study's findings make sense, said Mike Bracko, director of the Institute for Hockey Research in Calgary, Alberta. "We have done some work with hockey players showing flexibility is not an important variable," he said.

    A strain typically happens when a muscle has to react suddenly to control an athlete's movement, Bracko said. An example would be a tear in a muscle in the back of a sprinter's leg as it contracts to keep the muscles in the front of the leg from moving the knee too far forward, he said.

    Two other researchers said, however, that there may still be value in the stretches that coaches require, and athletes do.

    Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, said her experience in treating people with injuries tells her that those who don't stretch may find they can't move their arms and legs as far as they used to, and this could set them up for injury.

    "Unfortunately, a lot of us don't have a normal range of motion," Millar said.

    Stephen Rice, director of the sports medicine center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, said he values the experience of trainers and athletes.

    Flexibility is an element of fitness, and stretching ought to make a person more flexible, Rice said. "I would say the conventional wisdom has a certain amount of wisdom to it," he added.
    Last edited by cooler; 03-30-2004 at 05:41 PM.

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    A self observation:

    Today I went and did some coaching with the kids in school for the MSSS meet and as usual, they already had been hitting around long before I went so I joined in the action immediately, without stretching nor warming up. I went straight to getting all of them to do net drives - hitting straight shots quickly and repeatedly, targetting the other person's face or upper body.

    Later, two hours after the session, I went into serious play with the other coach and few regulars and I played some of the best badminton for a long while. All my overhead shots, esp the smashes were potent and accurate, making feel like pro, at least for an hour...

    Now, 1 hour after game - no effects on the body. In fact, I felt fitter compared to other days when I played, same atmosphere, same weather same temperature. I felt like I could do another 2 hours worth of games, with not much muscle fatigue as I usually do.

    Then, the bad part. It was raining Rottweillers and Tabbies before I made my journey home, thus the highways were terribly jammed. In between the 1 hour of time when I drove home, the calf felt stretchy ie a sign that a Charley Horse may happen. Thank God it didn't and I made it home, with the soreness and all. Took a cold shower and until, the sensation of a pre-cramp had subsided from maybe 100% to about 10%, but the sore feeling is there (I hope I don't get a rude awakening in the middle of the night later... ).

    So, does stretching have any benefit on your game/health/fitness?

    Yes
    - It helps stretches the body to make sure that it responses properly ie moves as it should
    - Increases flexibility of the muscles

    No
    -It helps make sure your muscles are not stressed where they shouldn't ie muscles you don't use for badminton.
    -The body stays 'cooler' and can withstand increase in metabolism better

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    Yesterday, I was in a class with a University staff from a Sports science department. In the lecture, he mentioned about stretching and it's lack of benefits according to most up to date research. Most of the class was going "huh??!!". (apart from me)

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    Ok, two things have been established so far, stretching increases flexibility of the muscle but decreases strength output. Now, tell me, which one requires more force to bend to the same degree, an IsoTI SA or a Ti-10? I'd say Ti-10, which means that being stiff requires you to use more energy in every movement. However, like an elastic band of different elasticity, the one that is less elastic will travel further when shot than the one that is more elastic.

    Here's something one of my coach said to me a few weeks ago. He did football when he was studying America and as a result, he had a big and strong body shape. He said that at the time, he sure is strong and could knock out a lot of people in one punch, but when it came down to badminton, he found himself to be very stiff and finds it hard to play badminton because he gets worn out very quickly. Before going to America to study, he was a badminton player who made it to Djarum Kudus, Indonesia's top badminton club. He came to the conclusion that badminton is a game that requires power not from stiffness like a club, but rather flexibility like a whip.

    Badminton is a sport that requires us to move at a great speed, as such, if we do not have enough endurance, our game would fall apart when we face a formidable opponent that makes us play a long rally. So the benefits of stretching before playing for badminton is great, especially for our legs. Sure you wouldn't be able to jump higher or perhaps move faster, but how much of a difference does it make? On the other hand, when playing competitively, how much of a difference does endurance play a part? That is something that needs to be looked at.

    I did taekwondo as a sport a couple of years ago, the coach made us warm up and THEN stretch our legs before training. My coach was Carmella Harnett back then, wife of Ross Harnett who happened to be the head coach for the Australian Sydney Olympics Taekwondo team She said to me, that if we don't stretch our legs right, there is a higher chance of pulling our muscles or tendons when we do a kick. So does badminton requires us to stretch to prevent injuries? Yes, try doing an around the head shot requiring you to fully stretch to your sides and play a smash while at it. See how many times you can do it without stretching right. Ever seen Susi Susanti do a split leg while lunging? ok, thats an extreme case, so forget that one One thing is for sure though, Susi Susanti wouldn't have been the player she was without that kind of flexibility, so stretching was probably an important part of her training. I think the same goes for Gong Zhichao.

    As a conclusion, is proper stretching before a game required? It depends on whether you need more strength than endurance and vice versa and also whether the sport you're doing requires you to do a motion that stretches your muscles wide apart. For badminton, it really comes down to the level of your game and differently too when it comes down to training. I think the intensity of the stretches need to be adjusted accordingly for badminton too.

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    This is one area, stretching, where some research eggheads claim is of no benefit. But if a player feels better prepared for a game if he or she does stretching before the game, then has the research looked into this mental factor? Incidentally, all top players in the world go through the stretching routine before, and even after a match.
    But which comes first, stretching or warming up? Do you stretch first and then warm up or do you warm up first and then stretch? How do you know you have done enough warming up or enough stretching? Do you take your pulse rate that says a pulse rate of 100 beat per minute is optimal for warming up? I think most players just use their own judgement or even their gut feeling in determining the extent of their warming up and stretching.
    Some people can make do with no warming up or stretching.
    When I was in secondary school, I used to represent the school in soccer, field hockey, cricket, rugby union, basketball, table-tennis, 100 yards, 220 yards, sprint relays, long jump, hop-step and jump in inter-school competitions, and I never ever warmed up or performed any stretching, simply because nobody ever taught me. Sure, I had a lot of injuries, a lot of head clashes and stitches, sometimes knocked out and stretchered out, but as a kid the body recovers quickly.
    But as you get older the body cannot take as much abuse. I do some stretching, but I do dispense with it sometimes. Frankly, I don't feel there is any significant difference. But then I play at a leisurely pace. Maybe, I warm up and stretch as and when I plunge straight into play.

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    Stretching improves flexiblilty!!!! I stretch a lot, and when I mean a lot i mean 2-5 hours a day. I take taekwondo, and I'm required to be flexible, in order to do some very high kicks to the head and all.

    When i first started out, I was very stiff and could do anything, but know i'm able to do the splits on two high chairs. I also think that it improves leg strengh and your mind, since it does take a lot of hard work, mental strength and patience to do the splits!

    Of course, in badminton, I'm able to lunge farther, jump higher, get more shots, and also not experience cramps!

    If you don't believe me, then why don't you try holding on to the splits position for about 30 minuets?



    ...Sets of 5?

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