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By Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D.

Q:

I’ve heard that you just shouldn’t stretch proper earlier than a weight-training session as a result of it will lower your maximal power and energy. I’ve seen, nevertheless, that almost all of the research trying on the results of stretching proper earlier than a coaching session have studied individuals with little or no stretching expertise. I’ve been stretching for years and wish to know if stretching proper earlier than a weight-training session will nonetheless lower my maximal power and energy in the course of the coaching session.

A:

You’ve made a really astute statement. You’re right in that almost all of research trying on the results of stretching previous to a weight-training session on power and energy have usually centered on individuals with little or no coaching historical past of stretching. Nonetheless, one sports activities science analysis undertaking addresses the doable results of a stretching coaching historical past on whether or not or not stretching proper earlier than a resistance-training session impacts maximal power and energy in a coaching session. You’ve been stretching for years; this examine checked out college-aged men and women who had been stretching for not less than 10 weeks in bodily training lessons. These college students weren’t aggressive athletes, however had been recreationally energetic in all kinds of sports activities comparable to basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, tennis and weight coaching. So that they had been not less than “recreationally” bodily match. In addition they had fairly good flexibility, with all examine contributors having a sit-and-reach flexibility rating larger than the sixtieth percentile.

In an effort to have a look at the impact of stretching on maximal power, the school college students carried out a stretching routine for the hamstrings and quadriceps muscle teams proper earlier than willpower of their one-repetition most within the knee curl and knee extension. The stretching routine consisted of 5 completely different stretches for the hamstrings and quadriceps. They repeated every stretch 3 times, holding for 15 seconds to the purpose of discomfort, after which taking a 15-second relaxation between successive stretches. Your complete stretching routine took about 20 minutes. After stretching, their one-repetition most in each the knee curl and knee extension considerably decreased in comparison with no stretching. Knee curl one-repetition most decreased roughly 3.4 %, whereas knee extension one-repetition most decreased roughly 5.6 % after stretching, in comparison with no stretching.

The outcomes point out that even in individuals who have a stretching coaching historical past, stretching proper earlier than a coaching session would lower maximal power and energy. The individuals on this examine had a stretching coaching historical past of 10 weeks; you’ve been stretching for years, so there’s the likelihood that with an extended stretching coaching historical past, the impact on maximal power and energy may very well be completely different. Nonetheless, you may make physiological arguments both in favor of an extended stretching coaching historical past (leading to much less of a lower in maximal power and energy) or growing the lower in maximal power for energy, in comparison with individuals with no or a comparatively short-term stretching coaching historical past.

So, in case you have a stretching coaching historical past of a number of years and are really keen on expressing your maximal power and energy, it is best to in all probability err on the aspect of warning and never carry out stretching previous to your resistance coaching periods. As an alternative, carry out your stretching routine after the coaching session, because the impact of stretching on maximal power and energy is an acute impact, and stretching after the coaching session received’t have any impact in your maximal power and energy within the following day’s coaching session.

It’s additionally essential to keep in mind that the impact of stretching on maximal power and energy solely takes place within the muscle teams which are stretched. This implies you’ll be able to stretch your legs proper earlier than an arm exercise and there wouldn’t be an impact on the utmost power and energy of your arms. I hope this offers you some steerage regarding your stretching routine.

Reference:

Nelson AG, Kokkonen J, and Eldredge C. Power inhibition following an acute stretch will not be restricted to novice stretchers. Res Quart Exerc Sport, 76:500-506.



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