Stretching in a 'warm up' - to do or not?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Maverick, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. Maverick

    Maverick New Member

    Traditionally every MA instructor I have learned under has started off with stretching (and/or jogging, shadow boxing) as a warm up to proper drills. However I was reading some of Kurz's comments on static stretches such as the working to a split position, stetching the back, hamstrings etc, and it doesn't seem to me like they have any place in a 'warm-up'. I've always thought the purpose of a warm up was to well, warm the body up for a start, increase blood flow to the muscle, lubricate the joints etc. So jogging and shadow boxing are ideal for this obviously, but I don't see why stretches should be.

    I've never stretched before weightlifting as I can't be bothered, and never injured myself even with heavy deads, squats, chinups, etc. static stretches have any place in a warmup? Or is it a long-standing misconception and shadow boxing or light BW exercises should be the mainstay?

    Your thoughts :cool:
  2. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    I do light stretches after a light warm-up before any lifting. By light stretches, I mean basically moving through full range of motion, not pushing to increase it. Then I also do lift-specific warm-up sets, and a more full stretch after the workout. I also only tend to stretch tight muscles. I don't bother doing a full body stretching routine each and every day.

    I have to agree with you. Static stretching cold muscles isn't the best idea. But if you are putting them at the end of a warmup instead of the beginning, I see no problem.
  3. Ad McG

    Ad McG Troll-killer Supporter

    Static stretches have taken a hit. I still think they can be useful but only in conjunction with dynamic stretches and warming up drills first. People slate them but the only time they are really detrimental is when you are performing a maximal strength activity. After you have done them though there should be sport specific movement to get the neural patterns firing and ready to perform.
  4. Gingerbread Man

    Gingerbread Man New Member

    I have never developed decent flexibility yet. My roundhouse kick struggles to get above waist height. I have been doing dynamic stretches a few times a day (forward, sideways and back) but as a working family man my life is manic. The only time I get on a daily basis to work on my flexibility are 5-10 mins I spend several times per day making a cup of tea at work. This is where I have been doing the stretches - however I am now thinking that maybe its not such a good idea to be doing them cold. In which case, what the hell am I going to do to improve my abysmal flexibility?

    Any advice from you beautiful wise people?
  5. flaming

    flaming Valued Member

    Do dynamic stretching? Hehe you will get funny looks at work.
  6. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    We do static stretching, followed by dynamic stretching, and then we start training. Personally I find it a great help, as I sit ata desk 8hrs a day, and in the car for another 2-3, so all the stretching is good to help me limber up again
  7. succubus

    succubus so hot right now

    warm-ups such as sprints are good for fitness levels, and actually warming up the muscles, while stretching is good for flexibility, innit?

    so they serve seperate, but equality valid, purposes, i think.
  8. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    Sprinting is a highly stressful activity on the body and should not be used as a warm-up, or at least not until the very end of a good warm-up session. Start light and slow, increasing out-put and ROM as you go. Sprinting from cold to warm up is just begging to tear a muscle.
  9. succubus

    succubus so hot right now

    um. yeah. i meant jog. i don't know why i said sprint. :p

    in our warm-ups, we generally stretch out for 10-15 minutes (depending on how early we get to class), and then go for a 5-minute jog up a hill.
  10. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    Well thats a lot different. :)
  11. GojuKJoe

    GojuKJoe Valued Member

    Would the stretching they do in yoga be good for martial arts? Like, would it help kicking height?
  12. succubus

    succubus so hot right now

    it would improve your flexibility, and improved flexibility can often help with things like kicking height (although practicing the kick is more likely to do that). but yeah, it would, i think.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2006
  13. wynnema

    wynnema Valued Member

    it may help a little but there are better ways to work on your flexiblity. You want flexilbity that mimics your activity. e.g. for kicks you want mainly dynamic flexibilty. Yoga focuses on passive/relaxed stretching. Increasing your flexiblity without an increase in strength can increase your chance of injury.

    With all the recent studies into static stretches being bad before dynamic activity , its disturbing to see many people still incorporate such static holds in their warm up for martial arts.

    get yourself a copy of Freedom of Movement DVD if you want to increase the height of your kicks. it has become an invaluable tool for me.
  14. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    The only studies I've seen sited or paraphrased suggested that static stretching before dynamic activity decreases the response time of the muscle activation. Its not BAD for you, just don't do ten minutes of static stretching and then expect to set a new PB in the 100m.

    I did taekwondo for a number of years and they do a lot of static leg stretching. In our class we did dynamic stretching and warmups first, then static stretching. Then we got into techniques in class. My kicking height improved through that process and nothing bad came of it. This is standard fare for TKD, a martial art that stresses leg flexability like no other.
  15. rigsville

    rigsville Shukokai Karate

    wynnema, where did you get the DVD from? (I'm assuming your in the UK, but I cannot find any UK suppliers)
  16. wynnema

    wynnema Valued Member

    just because that is the way it has always been done doesnt mean it is the best way.

    I dont want to get into this again, but static stetches before kicking decrease your performance and could increase the chance of injury as the muscles are less responsive. you will not be at your best if you do static stretches before kicking.
  17. wynnema

    wynnema Valued Member

    had a nightmare getting it. he doesnt take Paypal and the online ordering system doesnt accept credit cards from the UK . Joseph is extemely helpful though and he will find a way of getting a copy to you.
  18. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    Yeah, I'm not promoting the Bruce Lee syndrome here, but thanks for reading it in.

    Based on my own experiences over multiple years, static stretching is not harmful before dynamic activity. I already stated that it slows muscle activation, but honestly, its not going to make a damn bit of difference during class. And it is proven static stretching improves flexibility more than dynamic. If you want to do your static stretching away from class, more power to you, its recommended. But I disagree on the increase chance of injury.

    If you don't want to get into it again, why keep replying?
  19. Blake_AE

    Blake_AE Valued Member

    Something else just came to mind inregards to static stretching.

    I suffer from shin splints. I've been doing exercises to strengthen my tibialis, I have orthotics and proper running shoes, and I have been doing a lot of extra stretching of my calves.

    I do cardio after lifting. After a good session of leg work, my calves tighten up. Before I run, I static stretch my calves, tibialis, hamstrings, glutes, IT band, all very well. If I don't, the shin splints hit very quickly because the muscles are tight. The static stretching loosens them up and has made huge improvements in the distance/time I can run before my tibialis tightens up on me.

    In this case, static stretching before dynamic activity is important to injury prevention and recovery. A blanket statement like static stretching is scientifically proven to be dangerous before dynamic activity is just plain inaccurate in such a case.
  20. wynnema

    wynnema Valued Member

    guess I am a glutton for punishment :D

    static stretching impoves static flexibilty which isnt actually that useful for kicking. for kicks you need mainly dynamic flexibility which is developed through dynamic stretching. there is little carry over between the two. whatever proof you have is not relevant as they are different types of flexiblity.

    this is a contradiciton, you are agreeing that the muscles are less responsive but then you argue it wont make a difference in class :confused:. It will decrease the speed of your kicks. If you dont think that is important then you must not kick very often.
    I can quote some studies if you like but from my own experience I have done warm ups with either static stetches and warm ups with dynamic and also with both. I always feel much faster and sharper with the dynamic only warmup.

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