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Old 19-05-2012, 12:38 PM   #1
Barrett Dorko
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Default More movement toward simplicity

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Research now suggests that stretching before a workout isn't necessarily a good thing, because it causes the brain to think you're about to tear those muscles, says Reynolds. "When you stretch and hold a pose, the brain thinks you are about to damage yourself and it then sends out nerve impulses that actually tighten the muscles," she explains. "... The result is, you're less ready for activity, not more ready for activity."

From Gretchen Reynolds, author of The First Twenty Minutes
This author was interviewed recently and I was amazed to hear some myth-busting included.

It would have been especially nice to hear her speak of the brain’s response to neural lengthening rather what it supposedly senses from mesodermal structures – which is nothing.

I’m pretty sure someone will read this and decide that I think the mesoderm should be ignored, but, of course, I don’t think so.

I’m simply saying it can’t signal.

Too simple?
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Old 19-05-2012, 04:10 PM   #2
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There is something funny about that quote. To me it seems as if the brain or the person would have to be rather unintelligent? Does stretching really mean tearing? Why would someone push that hard or why would the brain take a simple input so threateningly?
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Old 19-05-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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Byron says:

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To me it seems as if the brain or the person would have to be rather unintelligent?
Byron, I doubt that intelligence has anything to do with this.

What stretching represents, I think, is the very human need for ritual. Unless the ritual of stretching is replaced by something else it isn’t going anywhere.

Built upon two false premises – that active stretching prevents injury and that forceful movement alters muscle favorably in this way – it still endures and, as far as I can tell, it’s not going anywhere.
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Old 19-05-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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Ok poor wording on my part.

I am not saying that stretching before an event is helpful in anyway. From the research I've read I can see that it doesn't prevent injuries and I doesn't improve performance.

But I think it is a leap to say that the brain considers the stretch a tearing of muscle risk and increases tightness. Is this based on some research ?

I get what you are saying about the ritual as well. That is a different entity all together. One that I think may still have benefit. Before a performance, having a way to do a physical inventory makes sense to me as long as it is not being done as my warm up....why not?
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #5
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I don't think the brain notices an impending tear in the muscle either. That's the point of the first post. Maybe somebody should tell the researchers.

How about this for a ritual?
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Hi Barrett!

Quote:
What stretching represents, I think, is the very human need for ritual. Unless the ritual of stretching is replaced by something else it isn’t going anywhere.

Built upon two false premises – that active stretching prevents injury and that forceful movement alters muscle favorably in this way – it still endures and, as far as I can tell, it’s not going anywhere.

This is spot on!

Twenty years ago I gave a session at track clinic where I challenged the notion of what static stretching was really accomplishing. I asked coaches what was achieved in a warmup. Most said things like increased heart rate, increased core temperature, increased circulation, etc.

So what happens after the "warmup" when kids plop down on the infield and do twenty minutes or more of passive stretching? The heart rate drops, core temperature drops, circulation drops....

About twenty coaches walked out of the room.

Knowing in advance I'd be facing a tough crowd, my focus was simply on asking them to consider why they do what they do.

I guess they weren't in a considering mood.
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:34 PM   #7
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The great Dutch coach Henk Kraaijenhof once said the following:

"As a young coach I was rather convinced that one needed to warm properly before one could participate successfully and healthy in elite sprint competitions e.g. running 60 meters at the European Indoor Championships.

The goal of warming-up was to warm-up the muscle , increase the circulation and the temperature of the muscles and to stretch, in order to increase the ROM and decrease the muscle tone, which was assumed, if too high, could lead to injuries.

Now before the finals the athlete I was coaching, Nelli Cooman, complained of not feeling well, feeling weak and not having "enough energy to warm-up". The energy of warming-up, she felt, would decrease the energy of the final 60 meter.

To cut a long story short: she did not warm-up at all, but was just sitting while the other sprinters warmed-up, entered the call-room, sat down again, and finally entered the track while the other girls set their blocks and did test starts and test runs. Nelli did just one and sat down again.

That run she not only became European Champion, beating Marlies Gohr, the feared East German sprinter, but also broke the world record and ran 7.00seconds!

The questions remains what she could have run with a normal warming-up, perhaps 6.95...

But it left me thinking about the logic of warming-ups.

Just to stretch our minds:

Nelli's muscle fibre composition, by biopsy, showed 80% fast twitch, or white muscle fibres. These are called white because the do not contain as much capillaries as the slow or red muscles fibres.

So how to increase circulation in capillaries that are not there?

How much warming up does one see a fast predator like jaguars or domestic cats do before they accelerate or jump?

At most one short stretch before the prey, e.g. a bird, has disappeared out of sight. Still, one seldom sees these predators pull a hamstring at full speed!

Why would a sprinter decrease muscle tone, while my observation is that we see more injuries from low muscle tone than by high muscle tone, what does one do when pulling a broken car with another car and a cable in between? First, take the slack out of the cable otherwise it breaks when force is
applied.

Sprinters seem to stretch for along time before a race, maybe decreasing the muscle tone, but what could be the use and the effect of the standing vertical jumps or plyometrics they do before entering the blocks? Right.increasing the muscle tone again


Nelli complained of having a flu or fever and in the morning of the race, showing a little transpiration, she already had a resting heart rate of 110!

It seems her autonomic nervous system was already at working full speed, warming-up, anticipating the challenge later that day.

No need for another warming-up on top of that."
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Barrett Dorko View Post
I don't think the brain notices an impending tear in the muscle either. That's the point of the first post. Maybe somebody should tell the researchers.
OK. I misunderstood. I see where you were going now.

Great story Ken!
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
I don't think the brain notices an impending tear in the muscle either. That's the point of the first post. Maybe somebody should tell the researchers.

How about this for a ritual?
I often play the All Black Haka before we do a demanding ASR speed workout. I think you've hit upon on issue most coaches seem to overlook:

Athletes in these explosive events need arousal. It's like animals who circle a prey. Watch football players. Many teams still do that static stretching routine to a ten second count, but as soon as they're finilshed and go to the sidelines, what are they doing right before the kick-off? They slapping each other's should pads and helmet bumping. Boxers repeatedly tap the sides of their face with their gloves. Sprinters jump up in the air a few time before backing into their blocks. It's arousal.

And how many times have we seen football teams doing some static stretching routine prior to the game? Ask a coach why, and he will tell you it is to stretch tight muscles which will help avoid injury. If that's the case, how long does that stretching "effect" last?

We'll see players stretch for ten minutes prior to the game, only stand on the sidelines for over three quarters. But if a player on the field goes down, the coach yells the number of a kid who hasn't done anything since the pre-game warmup. Does the coach ever stop and say, "wait, time out...you need to stretch before going in."

Doesn't happen.

But that issue doesn't seem to be something they cudgel their brains about if they truly believed that stretching was something more than....as you said it...ritual.
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Old 19-05-2012, 11:25 PM   #10
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No, passisve stretching is harmful to performance vis a vie (I can't resist French), power production. One wants to use postactivation potentiation (PAP) before performance. Can't do that with passive stretching or yelling. One needs specificity.

Most injuries in sport occur in the joints end point ROM. Just like in passive stretching. Seems like the brain is capable of picking up on that.

Your're right Ken, football coachs never warmup after halftime. Lots of games are lost on the opening 2nd half kickoff.
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