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 Post subject: Stretching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:23 pm 
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Should stretching be done before or after a weight workout? I usually do 30 minutes of cardio followed by 60 minutes of lifting three days a week. Where should I fit in my stretching on those days?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:50 pm 
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It depends on your lifting goals. If you want to lift the most weight possible, do the stretching *after" your weight training. But since you do cardio before wieghts, I'll guess that maxing out with weights isn't your goal. If true, you can stretch any time during your weight workout, including between sets. But stretching after working out almost always is the best choice as an aid to recovery.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:33 pm 
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I do both, but only a little. Stretch a second, let it contract as is the natural reaction, stretch another second and so on. Just a couple seconds a muscle is all you need for weights. Unless of course you want to improve flexibility. Then you do more stretching but only at the end of the workout.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:21 am 
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I do most of my stretching after my weight workout, and this is what I would recomend. However, you can do some light stretching before your workout and/or between sets.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:22 pm 
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Personally, I find that 25 minutes of really good stretching not only prepares me to lift very heavy weights, but gets the blood flowing to warm me up. I notice I am often the only one in the gym stretching vigorously before lifting. Am I crazy? I think not. You have to stretch at some point in your day to aid muscle growth and recovery. I find doing it before lifting warms up my muscles and prevents injury.

What do you other guys think?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Scientific studies show stretching DOES NOT warm up muscles. Stretching is most beneficial after you have done some other form of warm up. There is increased risk of injury if you stretch prior to a good warm up.

When lifting maximal weights, stretching prior to the lifting can limit the ability of the muscle to contract maximally.

Stretching after lifting is most beneficial because you are warm and you have already done your lifting so it will not inhibit performance.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:11 pm 
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I understand and definetely agree, we did warm up prior to stretching when I ran track and played football, among other sports. That's why I usually hit the bike for a few minutes or at least take a little walk to get the blood moving prior to a stretch. What I meant was, for instance, it would loosen and warm up my pecs. Should I do pushups? Should I target every muscle in some kind of warmup? You'll probably agree and say no, but I am a bit confused. Are you telling me I won't blow a hamstring doing stiff legged deadlifts with no stretching at all, just a warm up?

When you say maximal weights, what do you mean? I am not going lower than 10 reps.

I am VERY open minded about this, please help me figure this out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:08 pm 
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You certainly will not blow a hamstring doing stiff legged deadlifts without stretching prior to doing them.

I agree only a general warmup is needed but it should be known that a general warm up that truly warms up various parts of the body is usually not performed. I find some light running and bodyweights squats and pushups to get me warmed up for most things. I always warm up large muscles prior to doing the first compound movement of the day by taking a few lights sets. Once a muscle has been worked, I no longer perform warmup sets unless they are needed for some other reason (technique etc).

Maximal weights to me is somewhere in the 5 or below range.

Another thing is of course, if you find something that works for you then definately stick with it until you find a problem.

For instance, my friend was stretching before lifting weights and I was not. He would always complain of how sore he got from doing stiff legged deadlifts and I told him he should try not stretching and doing something else. He did and most of the sorness went away completely.

People are different, so they should train as such.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:12 pm 
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I definetely see what your saying, in fact I currently perform a warmup set before bench press, but later on I don't need it for incline bench press.

I'll try the stretching at the end of the workout. With my strict recording of weights and experience paying attention to my body, I should easily notice any increase in ability to lift or recover.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:28 am 
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Well I took your advice and I can in fact lift better weights no question!

Thanks for the help, and good lifting!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:08 am 
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Glad it worked out for you.

One problem with this method is if you are lazy (like me) then you will start skipping the stretching and I must really advise against falling into this habit. I did, and my abilities have definately suffered and it is hard to get back into the habit so keep the stretching after the workout. I am not sure exactly how much you vary your weight routine but if you are doing some light stuff, that might be a good time to stretch before and see where your at if you want some variation.

Just some thoughts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:06 pm 
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I'm lifting heavy all the time, about twice a week. I am now stretching during my crunches, which come at the end of the workout. I'll do a set of weighted crunches, stretch the torso and arms, do another set, stretch the legs, and do the final set. The useful stretching equipment/bars/platforms are right by the incline crunch bench! Total stretching is about 5-10 minutes. I'm sure I hit everything.

Should I stretch on my days off? Mornings? Nights?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:44 pm 
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I only stretch on off days if I really feel tight.

Remember, good stretching follows a warm up so just jumping out of bed and stretching might feel good but probably won't do a lot for you unless you get the blood flowing first.

Sometimes this can be good I guess, going for a light jog and then stretching on an off day could be good active recovery.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:00 am 
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I read somewhere that you should stretch something rediculous like 6 times a day...I don't stretch (like ironman I mean to but after a killer workout I'm exhausted and just want to go eat so I tend to skip the stretching) but I certainly am starting to feel the ill effects of not stretching (1 severely pulled hamstring which took over a year to get over and a multitude of minor hamstring/quad pulls whenever I sprint spontaneously which tend to slow me down for 2-10 days). Anyway, the reason for not stretching before lifting is that the the more a muscle is stretched the smaller number of myosin heads that are able to connect to the myosin filaments and cause a strong contraction but conversely if you are too tight the sarcomere is already slightly overlapping so there is less room to make a contraction resulting in a weaker contraction. (this is my interpretation of the info I've gained from my introductory A&P course this term so if it is inaccurate feel free to set me straight :) )

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