2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kiwikarateka's picture
When/how do you stretch and how have the results been?

Hi all,

I have been thinking about the timing of different types of stretching recently, for example, it seems more and more common to hear that static stretching before warming up or before exercise is a bad idea, and that stretching before exercise can decrease power output.

As a result people seem to be switching to a regimine that starts with a warm up + dynamic stretching, follow with static stretching, or waiting till the end of their exercise before doing static stretching.

However reading this article (https://www.strengthcoach.com/public/1333.cfm) has given me some pause, and I'm reconsidering the place of static stretching in training.

So I wanted to get your thoughts and maybe hear about your experiences with stretching to validate the theories presented in the article such as "The theory is that warm muscle simply elongates and returns to its normal length" (meaning static stretching is cold muscles is better for gaining flexibility).

I also wonder if the idea that "decreased power output" is significant enough that it even matters in a Martial Arts training session? Obviously in the context of weight lifting you want to lift a specific weight, which will likely require maximum power output, losing 5% of your power (arbitrary number I made up) can have a significant effect on the work out, but in M.A does a 5% decrease in power matter so much?


Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I don't really know that much about the research here. I will say that for me static stretching is next to worthless, and has actually injured me. Minus a couple stretches, maybe minimal static stretching of hamstrings and glutes/piriformis, psoas.

I tend to focus a lot more on joint mobility for warm ups. FYI I use  alot of stuff I learned from Steve Maxwell's mobility series for Karate warm ups and preparation.

However, I have to say that part of the "correct" answer here has to be individual,  with considerations made towards age, fitness, level, body type, goal etc.

I decided years ago to simply stop doing high kicks. I don't think they are the best thing for my back, and they serve no functional purpose in my training. Today I mainly work low roundhouse, low sidekick/stomp and front kick.

That radically changes what's needed in terms of stretching and flexibility.

The decreased power thing sounds mostly irrelevant to me. I try to incorporate enough of a warm-up and cool down that people's bodies can recover from any repetitive motion that might distort posture, etc., and to keep joints healthy as we age. Then again, my class is all middle aged people now..so that's what we need.