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Do we still need to stretch?

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A study of 600 marathoners shows that those who stretch have an increased risk of injury by 35%. Would stretching useless even dangerous? How do we practice?

Conventionally, Stretching improves muscle and tendon elasticity. They promote the opening of vessels and drainage. They help the sport to realize its joint positions. They participate in relaxation after stress and increase flexibility. They should be best during warm-up and during recovery. Should practice them regularly to maintain the range of motion. Beyond these eternally rehashed dogmas, that is it really? What can we deduce from a rigorous scientific analysis? What does research say?

Stretching: deeds and misdeeds!

You lose elasticity!

Tendons consists of fibers spiral or herringbone. When you stay in stretch position, relax your spring, spread your fiber. A study by WYDRA shows that you earned in length but lost elasticity. During an impulsive movement as a jump or even a running stride walk, you produce a violent traction on a stiffened structure, you may create lesions.

You crush your ships

In one of these research protocols, ALTER highlighted by maintaining a stretching posture, you block any vessels that pass through the muscle. Far from promoting the blood supply, this could disrupt the warm-up and recovery.

You disrupt your coordination.

A suddenly pulled muscle responds by contracting. This is the "stretch reflex". Thus, it avoids the tear and preserves the joint that mobilizes a wrong move. Realizing a prolonged stretching you Inhibit this natural protective reaction. You risk strain or sprain.

You aggravate your aches

At each reception process, the joints are flexed slightly. They carry with them, the muscle membranes. The fibers contract and pull in the other direction to brake the movement and build up elastic energy. At the junction between the fibers and membranes, there is microlesions. Where important, you experience these are the aches. Stretching, pulling in the muscles produce the same effects. This explains the results of the study by Wieman. He asked the athletes to stretch exclusively right thigh during a weight training session. The aches were more important on this side!

You suffer a mechanical stress.

Stretching generate stresses on the chain "muscle / tendon / bone." This tissue stimulation may cause a source of strengthening adaptation. If you overdo it, if you make them inappropriately, you switch to the lesion. The solution: less stretch, stretch better!

You reduce your stiffness, you break your contractures.

The stiffness is defined as the force required to stretch a muscle. At the end of a race meeting, muscle stiffness increases. MAGNUSON shows some gentle stretching help in fine drive, reduce muscle stiffness. But beware, this recovery relaxation is not always obtained. After exercise the muscle is sometimes victim of contracture. In places, due to lack of energy, muscle filaments stick to each other. This is truly a "rigor mortis" ... located. It gives spontaneously when the muscle energy charge. But if just after exercise, you pull on your muscle fibers, they will break ...

You probably improve your flexibility

Maintaining a significant and prolonged tension, you create micro lesions. The muscle will gradually repair itself by creating new muscle segments causing an overall lengthening. However, it makes good scientific sense mechanism has been shown that in animals as a result of prolonged immobilization by plaster! Other studies show that one gets the same results through braking contractions! COMETTI, a renowned fitness coach, think it's mostly better tolerance to the stretching sensation!

You reduce your strength

By relaxing the spiral of tendon fibers, reducing the stiffness of your muscle, you accumulate less elastic energy at each reception stride. You bounce less, push harder. A YOUNG referred has shown. He made 3 groups. One warmed current, the other stretching, the third by performing both. Those who jumped the highest were prepared current monitoring those who had benefited from the race and stretching. Athletes who were content stretching had the worst results.

Stretching: how?

Advice for distance runners

A runner does not need to stretch to warm up. The alternating contraction and relaxation proves ideal to optimize elasticity, open vessels and preserve muscle coordination. Taking care to respect the principles of progressiveness and specificity, it is possible to offer a warm Protocol ... particularly sophisticated. Feel free to follow on a period of 10 to 15 minutes walking, power walking, trotting, jogging and running at expected speed! In short: a gradual acceleration!

A runner does not need to stretch to warming

During recovery, the runner takes risks stretching! After a big source of shredding session by braking and contractures, stretching will aggravate microlesions. This may be a strategy to increase the training load! But it is by no means a process of regeneration! Given the magnitude of his stride, the runner does not have to stretch his muscles. The relaxations are useless. Remember! In issue 3 of "SANTESPORTMAG" Serge Girard, told us that he had traveled 40,000 km running, without injury and without stretch. He spoke of his interest "stiff muscles" to better rebound with every stride.

The runner takes risks by stretching during its return to calm.

The runner can stretch after his weekly recovery jog. This session is neither long nor intense. At the end, muscular micro-lesions are lacking. Some gentle stretching and smoothly promote muscle relaxation and probably optimize regeneration. However, some cycling or swimming would probably be more suited to recharge (see, in this issue: "Run least better Run").

Tips for athletes

If you practice a sport requiring great gestures, preparation for the performance and flexibility are useful.

On the occasion of heating you must gradually increase the range of motion. The progressive use of the specific gesture and acceleration, achieving pendulums or rotations are welcome. These contractions roundtrips generate heat and reduce the viscosity of muscle membranes, they pump the blood, improving tissue elasticity and optimize coordination. Some physiologists, a stretch of 2 to 3 seconds is tolerated if it is followed by a rapid succession of small contractions. Prolonged postures are strongly discouraged.

The relaxations are useful in disciplines imposing movements of large amplitudes.

Ideally, make your flexibility at the end of a very intense workout. Place yourself in stretching position. Wait 5 to 10 seconds as the muscle relaxes and increase the voltage smoothly. After a few seconds repeat the operation until the limit of pain sensation.



Stéphane doctor also gives you information on: www.sportsante.info

Doctor Stéphane CASCUA. - 17 mai 2010.

Conflicts of interest: the author or authors have no conflicts of interest concerning the data published in this article.

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