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what type and how much

stretching do you do?

i only do it after running and biking when everything is warm.

if the water in the pool is like i do a few head rolls and stretch out the pecs b4 i start.



  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Like all these things, you have to decide if it works for you. Stretching takes time which could be used to do other things.

    At the moment, I'm in the Dynamic stretching before, static stretching afterwards.

    But I don't know wether it makes any difference, or I am rigorous enough for it to make a difference.

    I hate stretching, and will only do it if I have a specific reason. examples:

    1) Problems with Calves - cramps etc.

    I started doing a good set of dynamic stretches before the race - really just the legs one - squats/lunges/leg swings etc.

    I stopped having calf problems.

    But then, I also started using compression socks and tights.

    And switched the balance of the training from quality (tempo/lactate/intervals etc.) to easy/moderate (i.e. a greater percentage of time spent not going flat out).

    So I don't know which of these work.

    And I also forget to stretch before training runs - so maybe it is the other factors, or I have just grown out of it.

    However, the dynamic stretches remain, before races, but mainly as ritual and a mental focusing exercise.

    2) A physio identified that part of my calf problems could be caused by tight hamstrings. They were tight. I could only get about 6 inches from the floor when trying to touch my toes - going slowly down, rather than lunging, and holding it.

    I incorporated lots of static calf/hamstring/nerve stretches into my gym work, and have done these quite well. I know find it possibly to touch my longest three fingers on the floor, and hold that position for some time, so my hamstrings are much more flexible and stronger now.

    This may also have helped the calves.

    3) I now have a knee injury (medial ligament strain, possibly). The physio thought I had much stronger/more flexible hamstrings than the norm. But my quads were really really tight. And that this, along with a weak hip, may be contributing to the knee problem.

    So now I have static stretches for quads and glutes to add to the routine. I spend longer and longer in the gym each time.

    But I still don't know if it is any good! Have I just transferred the calf problem up the legs to the knees? Do I feel better for it? Not really, constant aches and pains. But I do get satisfaction from being able to touch my toes quite easily!

    I can't wait to get back to running again so that I can find out which exciting part of the body my next injury will be (prior to the calf problem, I knackered the ligaments in my foot, when playing squash in combination with a too tight/badly laced shoe). So my prediction would have to be hips/lower back for the next one.

    I really want to do some pilates/yoga to find out a bit more about stretching and core strength. But there is so little time in the day.
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    I used to do a lot of rock-climbing and stretching became part of my life in order to achieve the flexibility I was after.

    These days I don't bother stretching before going out, but stretch my calves and hamstrings after. I too no longer get the calf injuries I used to.

    What I really like is the pilates/yoga style stretches I do on the gym ball, and I do about 20mins of those about 3 times a week. But this is all about core strength, stability, and let's face it - the lovey tight torso muscles that make parts of me look a lot younger....

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Ideally as much as possible as thoroughly as possible complimented by a massage, but in reality get the session done then get onto the next task in hand, be it work or domestic duties
  • You dont get to stretch when you NEED to (ie oh no... a really big bull...ill just stretch out my quads before i run for the fence) So i dont bother with pre exercise stretching. I do some stretching for ROM enhancement (we needed to for kickboxing and stuff). Also head it helps muscle growth.

  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    do some general warm up stuff - ankles, knees and hip circles, back extensions and roll ups then streches after and pilates at least once a week
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Stretching post-run is a must, otherwise I'd have no hamstrings left.

    Swimming, sometimes...

    After a bike, I have NEVER EVER seen anyone stretch anything under any circumstances. Biker's do not stretch. I am convinced this is a law you are beholden to upon reciept of any bicycle.

  • jacjac Posts: 452
    Stretching after a bike is essential (for me anyway)

    Tight hamstrings, aching quads and sore back mean much less power.
  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Static stretching AFTER workout is good to:

    - Increase / maintain range of motion

    - Static stretching is thought to help drain lactic acid that may have built up during exercise and to prevent the onset of DOMS and therefore help speed recovery... However, I'm not sure if there is conclusive evidence on this

    - Fundamentally though, static stretching helps relax and switch off the muscle which is why it is useful as part of cool down but is a definite NO-NO before a workout.

    Dynamic stretching PRE workout helps to prepare the body for exercise by:

    - Progressively working through ROM, hence reducing the risk of injury (e.g. do some dynamic squats w/o weights before starting a set with 80kg!)

    - When performing these exercises joints get lubricated, again preparing the body for more intensive stuff to follow and reducing injury risks...

    That's my thoughts anyway.

    I think this area remains a topic of debate because it is so difficult (impossible?) to isolate exactly what is happening beacause of stretching or not stretching. Therefore I'd say, it needs to be a personal thing, and trying different approaches is the best way to find out what works and doesn't!

  • what about leg drains?

    are they "all that"?

  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    As in lying on your back with legs in the air??

    If that's what you meant, I think that's supposed to help drain the blood from the legs back up to the heart and supposedly helps replace the de-oxygenated, waste heavy blood, with fresh blood. The effects of gravity will help "venous return" that is, helps blood flow back to the heart...

    However, don't know about the merits of this. The body's system for returning blood is pretty "slick" and works well enough all the rest of the time when our feet are not in the air! In addition, the heart manages to pump out and refresh 5 litres of blood per minute and co-incidentally there is about 5 litre of blood in the body (averages, of course) so again this seems pretty efficient to me.

    So maybe the perceived benefits are more due to weightlessness, removing pressure from legs and lower back, etc...
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    I always stretch before and after any training/race.

    I do suffer from tight muscles so I need to. I also find it helps to keep the knees and ankles supple. If I didnt do it before I would pull muscles all the time.
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