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The Performance Lab A place to discuss the role of physical exercise on health in diseased and non-diseased states.

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Old 05-10-2008, 11:47 PM   #1
anoopbal
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Default Active Vs Static vs Functional

What is the difference between all three physiologically.

Static stretching would be just stretching out the tissues without much neural excitation. A hamstring static stretch would involve keeping your feet up on a table and holding your toes it for a few sec.

Active would involve more neuromuscular activity, like reciprocal & autogenic inhibtion. For example, lying on the floor, flexing your quads and simultaneously rasing the leg and lowering it.

Functional would involve neuromuscular activity but in a more so a functional manner. A functional stretch for hamstring would involve standing, keeping you knees bent, and straightening your knees it as you hold onto your toes.

Which is better for performance improvement?

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Old 06-10-2008, 12:15 AM   #2
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I think, as in the functional training thread, you're stuck with what the definition of functional might be.
I think I might have to start referring to it as the "F-word", just as tone has become the "T-word".

I think for your first example, if you're holding the toes, you might be engaging a neurodynamic activity there rather than a "muscle stretch".
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:58 AM   #3
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I agree, the definition of functional is difficult.

To me the exercise described is not truly a functional activity, because I can't think of anyone's ADLs or work activity that involves holding your toes in standing. Functional training should be to improve neuromuscular control in a situation that is very close to a "real life" task. But maybe that's just because of my motor learning background.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:30 AM   #4
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If one remembers how people with strokes were treated prior to the 1980s, it might help define 'functional'. The basis for stroke management was orthopaedic-based, with 'strengthening' exercises and stretches. Now, therapy involves ADL retraining with movements strictly confined to 'normal' movements during one's period of time out of bed.

I think all three examples involve neural excitation; it is impossible not to elicit such responses if any tissue is elongated, and a neural response would kick in before optimal muscle/CT strain was achieved. Static stretches run the risk of creating a cranky CNS, but not in everyone, depending on their adaptive potential.

Performance-wise, it would be hard to beat the 'functional' movements based on neurodynamics, as Butler has described. A happier CNS must increase performance, with or without very high tissue stress.

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Old 06-10-2008, 02:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Which is better for performance improvement?
Anoop did you have a specific task in mind to measure performance with?
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:32 AM   #6
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I am assuming the CNS stimulation with static stretch is much less than an active stretch, where you are intentionally trying to flex and relax. And there is the sliding and gliding of the nerves

Quote:
Static stretches run the risk of creating a cranky CNS, but not in everyone, depending on their adaptive potential.
What is "cranky" means physiologically?

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Anoop did you have a specific task in mind to measure performance with?
For example, someone wants to improve their squat technique and they have limited calf flexibilty. People with limited calf flexibilty will tend to lean forward or have their heels come up.

I am just trying to think loud here. Static stretching has been replaced mostly by functional flexibilty or mobilty concept in strength training industry. I can see the logic but can't explain the specific events happening physiologically. If you do free weights beacuse it is functional, why not do stretching functoinally is the logic here.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:45 AM   #7
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Anoop,

Re 'cranky'.....
Just my way of describing a nervous sytem which can become more sensitive than needs be.

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Old 06-10-2008, 08:24 AM   #8
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Functional > dynamic > static.
BTW, static is rather silly.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anoopbal View Post
Static stretching would be just stretching out the tissues without much neural excitation.
I wouldn't say static is without neural excitation...
"Functional" I consider a subgroup of active.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Just my way of describing a nervous sytem which can become more sensitive than needs be.
Why should it be more sensitive? And sensitive to what? I read something along those lines in Shaclock books but can't seem to find a specific mechanism.

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Functional > dynamic > static.
Here is my question: I do static stretch of calves right before squats and my squat depth & form improves STILL.

I do a functional stretch for my calf right before my squats and my squat form & technique improves.

I don't see much a difference or an advantage with funtional over static. Or the static is working because I am integraring it into the movement right after the stretch? If the minimal carry over from static stretch is the arguement in favor for functional or against static, then I don't see it.

I know Vern Gambetta advocates static stretching after the game or practise. He belives static stretching is more of a cool down or it relaxes your CNS and should't be hence used before as a movement prep.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annop
Here is my question: I do static stretch of calves right before squats and my squat depth & form improves STILL.
Making a lot of noise before playing music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annop
Static stretching would be just stretching out the tissues without much neural excitation.
Just the contrary IMHO.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anoopbal View Post
Here is my question: I do static stretch of calves right before squats and my squat depth & form improves STILL.


Your squats may improve IN SPITE OF the static stretch, rather than "because of". If you didn't stretch, would you notice much of a difference?

Quote:
I do a functional stretch for my calf right before my squats and my squat form & technique improves.


This is less surprising, but it may or may not be a result of having done the stretch. Objectively, I have observed significant performance improvements directly attributable to stretching. Other times I have seen no improvement, but my client expressed an opinion that they felt there was some improvement.

Quote:
I don't see much a difference or an advantage with funtional over static. Or the static is working because I am integraring it into the movement right after the stretch? If the minimal carry over from static stretch is the arguement in favor for functional or against static, then I don't see it.
Quote:

I know Vern Gambetta advocates static stretching after the game or practise. He belives static stretching is more of a cool down or it relaxes your CNS and should't be hence used before as a movement prep.
The devil is in the details. I've seen some functional stretches that make little to no sense, with a few actually being counterproductive. Personally I favor a gentle approach that addresses all the major joints of the body in a non-fatiguing way.

Static stretching is a dinosaur, but people feel comfy with it. I caution people to save it for after their workout/event, when they are thoroughly warmed up. Otherwise, it should always be some form of active stretching, such as AIS or PNF.
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:29 PM   #13
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I've been trained in light eccentric load stretching. Seems quite static at times. One caveat was never to use it the same week as a competition.

Quote:
Vern Gambetta...believes static stretching...relaxes your CNS...
Would you have any articles on this point?
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:47 PM   #14
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Hi Mary;

I think in McGill's books his research shows that if you constantly stretch a nerve it shuts down; therefore a little down regulates the NS.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:05 AM   #15
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Thanks Smith

This McGill?
http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~mcgill/...adersguide.pdf
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Old 19-11-2008, 06:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Your squats may improve IN SPITE OF the static stretch, rather than "because of". If you didn't stretch, would you notice much of a difference?
I am talking about the quality of movement. Keeping your heels down, sitting deep, keeping the torso upright.

Quote:
Would you have any articles on this point?
I read it in his book. I still have it. And I am pretty sure he will not have any references just like any other strength coach.

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Old 19-11-2008, 09:06 PM   #17
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This may be relevant:

Stretching: The Truth
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Old 20-11-2008, 05:50 AM   #18
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Not a bad article; I read that shortly after it first came out. Definitely better info than many other time-worn resources (Bob Anderson's Stretching comes to mind...). Static stretches simply are lousy for pre-workout preparation.
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