Author Topic: stretching  (Read 2828 times)

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Offline david skelton

« on: March 05, 2011, 02:18:44 pm »

There is some controversy about stretching before and during a day of riding.
What are peoples thoughts?

Offline waynemyer

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Re: stretching
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011, 02:30:55 pm »
What's the controversy?  (user:waynemyer)

Offline david skelton

Re: stretching
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2011, 03:26:26 pm »

I have heard from riders who I respect sometimes contradictory things about stretching. Some of these seem counterintuitive but these people ought to know.
Stretching used to be regarded as the thing to do before beginning a demanding athletic session, until maybe 10 years ago.  But relatively recently, many training programs have switched slow warmups for stretching periods.

I know that I will end up doing what is most comfortable. But I also want to do what will keep me performing well for a long period of time.
These are frequently not the same thing.

Any thoughts?

Offline whittierider

Re: stretching
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2011, 04:21:07 pm »
Do not stretch before you warm up.  Save it for after a long ride, to help get some of the waste products out of your muscles and help them recover faster.  I tried more stretching before rides for a couple of years and all I got out of it was some minor injuries to my muscles and tendons (in spite of being gentle), so I quit.  Most of my rides involve no stretching at all, before or after.  This is cycling, not running.  Our neighbor who's a cross-country coach was just telling me that the understanding of the science of running has been changing too, and they don't push stretching like they used to even for running.  Just take it kind of easy your first 15 minutes for a warm-up.  A couple of years ago Bicycling magazine told of a study that found that stretching before a ride isn't only potentially harmful, it's actually counterproductive to performance.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: stretching
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 10:00:05 pm »
Not only should we warm up without stretching but my physical therapist said a stretch not held for 2 minutes is worthless.
The other sacred cow is lactic acid. See  Dr Mirkin says that in fact it is not bad for us.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 10:33:09 pm by Fred Hiltz »

Offline driftlessregion

Re: stretching
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 05:17:04 pm »
Here's more from Gabe Mirkin MD, an athlete in his own right (
"An article in the British Medical Journal shows that stretching before and after exercising does not prevent next-day muscle soreness or injuries. Researchers in Australia reviewed five studies, involving 77 subjects, on the effect of stretching on muscle soreness. Data from two studies on army recruits in training show that muscle stretching prevents one injury every 23 years. Yet most coaches think that stretching prevents injuries because most coaching instructions are developed by observation, not controlled studies.

Muscles and tendons tear because the force on them is greater than their inherent strength, so the prevention of injuries should be aimed at strengthening muscles, rather than stretching them. Stretching can make you a better athlete. Longer tendons allow a greater torque on a joint to generate more force to help you run faster, lift heavier, throw further and jump higher. Stretch to become a better athlete, not to prevent injuries. .... Competitive athletes need to stretch to makes muscles and tendons longer and more flexible. A longer muscle can exert a greater torque on a joint to help you run faster, lift heavier, throw further and jump higher. Stretching should always be done after your muscles are warmed up. You are likely to injure yourself if you stretch before you have warmed up or when your muscles are tired. Warming up raises muscle temperature to make them more pliable. Stretch no further than you can hold for a few seconds. Bouncing gives you a longer stretch, but can tear muscles. Only competitive athletes need to stretch further than they can hold for a few seconds. If you're over 50, be extra careful because older muscles are less springy and more likely to tear. "