Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Why stretching is stupid.
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 3.  1  2  3   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

At least before you climb. Still should warm up and stretch after you climb though.

Stretching before you exercise doesn't work


FLAG
By Ian Stewart
Apr 4, 2013

Unless you're an attractive woman in yoga pants, in which case stretching is always a good thing.


FLAG
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 4, 2013
modern man

Greg Kimble wrote:
At least before you climb. Still should warm up and stretch after you climb though. Stretching before you exercise doesn't work


once you pass 35 or so with tendonitis problems you learn that quick. warming up is key and drinking beer(or stretching a bit) at the car is very important.


FLAG
By Kevin D.
From Palo Alto, CA
Apr 4, 2013

This only comments on the effect stretching has on strength, not on injury prevention. That's why I stretch (in addition to warming up) before I climb / run / workout, not because I think it makes me stronger. Granted, I haven't read the studies this article cites; maybe it goes into detail on this issue.


FLAG
By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 4, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Kevin D. wrote:
This only comments on the effect stretching has on strength, not on injury prevention. That's why I stretch (in addition to warming up) before I climb / run / workout, not because I think it makes me stronger.

The long-cherished belief that stretching prevents injury has scant little evidence to back it up. And in some cases (endurance runners, for instance), meta-analyses show that those who are more flexible tend to have more injuries than those who are not.

However, the title of this thread is stupid. Stretching is not magical in its powers, but it's not stupid.


FLAG
By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Apr 4, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

Kevin D. wrote:
This only comments on the effect stretching has on strength, not on injury prevention. That's why I stretch (in addition to warming up) before I climb / run / workout, not because I think it makes me stronger. Granted, I haven't read the studies this article cites; maybe it goes into detail on this issue.


Something from my Track&Field days: We never stretched before workouts and runs. All of our warm-up activities were dynamic: high knees, butt kicks, walking lunges etc. These all warm up muscles properly and theoretically prevent injuries without the downsides of static stretching.


FLAG
By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 4, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Stretching is not stupid. It feels great (post climb).

Pre-climb; just do some jumping jacks and that thingy where you move your arms in circles. Maybe some lunges or weightless squats.


FLAG
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Apr 4, 2013
At the BRC

I believe the current accepted wisdom is that static stretching decreases strength and power. AFAIK, dynamic stretching is still considered worthwhile. I don't think there is any evidence that stretching of any kind decreases injuries, and some evidence that it increases them. Although I think that was static stretching, but don't remember the details of any of the studies.

All that being said, I don't know that you will climb worse if you lose a little bit of strength in muscles other than finger flexors. Probably not a good idea to statically stretch the fingers a lot before climbing.


FLAG
 
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

Yeah, again, you should still probably stretch post workout. That article just speaks towards pre-workout stretching in relation to a muscles ability to generate power, not injury prevention.

A Belgian meta-study.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15233597

Research is varied on injury prevenetion and stretching because each individual sport is very different. Then, you try to apply it to a sport like climbing which has different physical requirements within the genre and it gets complicated.

Seems like it depends on what type of climber you are. If you lean towards sport/bouldering or anything very dynamic then increased flexibility could probably help prevent injuries in specific muscle groups. If you are into long routes and static climbing than flexibility probably won't do much to prevent injury. Even then, it depends on what you are stretching. You'll probably want high compliance in your fingers regardless and a pre-workout stretch (depending on your stretch of choice, that is, isolate your tendons more than your forearms) could probably benefit. Your shoulder joint, since you will be generating significant force, should probably be warmed up but not stretched.

None of this really speaks towards flexibility increasing your overall climbing ability though. Therefore, post workout stretching is probably still beneficial in order to increase flexibility while your muscles are warm.

Ian, I can't find any literature on the relationship between yoga pants and and injury prevention. I'll go out and do a little research though.


FLAG
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

Mark, why do you say you shouldn't stretch your fingers? I kind of have the impression you should statically stretch your fingers pre workout but like I said do it in a way that isolates the tendons from the muscles. Then, you don't loose any strength from your muscles. You absorb quite a bit of energy through your fingers and stretching can increase your tendons ability to absorb energy. I'm by no way saying I'm right, just curious as to your reasoning.


FLAG
By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Apr 4, 2013

I'm plenty warm after climbing... Intuitively, if your main activity benefits from increased ROM, you might benefit from static stretching before hand; I don't think I've read a study that contradicts with this intuition. From personal experience, I've always climbed best after a yoga session (not that I go to yoga that often). Sure, it takes a while to recover if the session is somewhat long, but the flexibility helps w/ my body position and even dynamic movements (I feel less held back from the antagonist muscles. As this point, I don't feel the scientific evidences, numerous as they may be, are strong or broad enough (the studies very specific & do not replicate my situation) to make an overarching conclusion on static stretching.


FLAG
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Apr 4, 2013
At the BRC

Greg Kimble wrote:
Mark, why do you say you shouldn't stretch your fingers? I kind of have the impression you should statically stretch your fingers pre workout but like I said do it in a way that isolates the tendons from the muscles. Then, you don't loose any strength from your muscles. You absorb quite a bit of energy through your fingers and stretching can increase your tendons ability to absorb energy. I'm by no way saying I'm right, just curious as to your reasoning.


You give me too much credit to suggest my comments include reasoning!

I guess I sort of agree with Shumin - the evidence is (seemingly) clear about static stretching and strength, but the effect of this on climbing performance isn't clear at all.

But if there is any one set of muscles where maximum power/strength might be important, and where static strtching might be detrimental to performance, it would be the fingers, don't you think?

I have seen folks doing dynamic finger stretches, which should be ok if the research is generalizable to climbing.


FLAG
By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 4, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

^^^ Mark, the evidence is actually not that seemingly clear on static stretching and strength. At least not to a scientist. :-)

Greg Kimble wrote:
Mark, why do you say you shouldn't stretch your fingers? I kind of have the impression you should statically stretch your fingers pre workout but like I said do it in a way that isolates the tendons from the muscles.

How do you isolate tendons from muscles?


FLAG
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

I can see that. That's kind of where I was trying to go with 'isolating the tendons'.

Tendons store or absorb energy, they don't generate it. So if you can isolate the tendons in a stretch, which isn't that hard since the tendons are comparatively longer than other tendons, you shouldn't loose any power. Effectively, when you load a tendon during a workout you are stretching it anyway. So theoretically, stretching it slightly should be like warming it up for the workout since you are using it in the same manor you plan on using it during the climb.


FLAG
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

So aerili, the fingers and elbows form all the mechanical attachments for the muscle/tendon group. Therefore, the forearm muscle/tendon groups are long and skinny with about 1/3 of the overall length going towards the tendons in the fingers so you can isolate the tendon pretty easily.

Not sure how to describe it without pictures and i don't think I can post one up.

Basically, if you do a forearm extensor or flexor stretch you will stretch the majority muscle. If you do individual finger stretches you get the majority tendons.

Eric Horst has really good pictures of these stretches in a couple of his books, specifically 'how to climb 5.12.'


FLAG
By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Apr 4, 2013
Me

That article was about the effect of stretching on strength, and the effect is small.

But stretching has a huge, temporary effect of range of movement. I don't care about loosing 8% of my leg strength, but I do greatly benefit from getting more weight off my fingers and onto my legs. I see so many people fail on gym routes because they can't get their feet on some great hold.

There have been several routes that I've failed on when I didn't stretch my legs and hips immediately beforehand, but on some other occasion, succeeded on because I stretched immediately beforehand.

Stretching the legs and hips immediately beforehand is one of the few physical actions that can definitely help with climbing. Sure, power is important for the arms, fingers, and other upper-body muscles, but our legs have plenty of power to spare, but generally lack flexibility.

The increased range of leg movement from stretching is temporary -- maybe lasting an hour.


FLAG
 
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Apr 4, 2013
At the BRC

Greg Kimble wrote:
Basically, if you do a forearm extensor or flexor stretch you will stretch the majority muscle. If you do individual finger stretches you get the majority tendons.


Are you sure about this? It doesn't really make sense to me.
Do you have a reference other than Eric Horst?


FLAG
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 4, 2013

Jon, although a little anecdotal, I would agree with that. On top of being small, the effect on power was only lasting a short period as well(per the initial study).I think hip flexibility is HUGE in relation to climbing ability. Stretching your Hp flexor and adductor muscles in your legs can help to be able to open your hips up and actually get your body weight close to the rock. The power you are going to generate from your legs is going to be limited by technique and the amount of friction you can get anyway. If you can stand up on one leg on flat ground you can probably stand to lose 8% of strength from that muscle group and be fine.

Mark, You can do it right now sitting at your comp and feel where the stress is. Grab four fingers and push them back while bending at the wrist. You'll feel it in your forearms. When you grab a single finger and bend at your palm (MP joint) you feel it along your finger and into your palm. Push down on a single finger nail so the pad of your finger touches your palm. Push back while you do it with a finger on the back side of your hand at the MP joint. Again, you'll feel it along your finger but not in your forearms. You do "stretch" your muscle to a degree but the majority of the stress is being put into your tendons. And

As far as references, I can't really find any good ones online. The majority of the climbing specific stretching stuff that you find online ends up just citing Horst. You can check out 'Physical Rehabilitation of the Injured Athlete'  edited by James Rheuben Andrews, Gary L. Harrelson, Kevin E. Wilk. It talks a little about finger tendon isolation stretches. It's a pretty thick text though.


FLAG
By Jon Bitter
From Waco, Tx
Apr 5, 2013
spring skiing at the bird

As a biomedical engineer who gets paid to characterize muscle-bone mechanics, I might have something to add.

1. Stretching (when done correctly) is never bad.

2. Unless you expect put some serious strain on your muscles very rapidly, you probably don't need to do much stretching beforehand.

3. Stretching after is good if you strained your muscles enough that you might be sore. It will help prevent shortening of the muscle fibers as they re-knit.

4. The study showed an 8ish percent decrease in strength after stretching. Ask yourself "How did they determine that?" Did they have a machine that plugged into their thigh and magically determined the max force output? Or did they have some guys do squats before and after stretching, then say if it was X-percent easier or harder? I looked at the second paper, their methods were sketchy.


FLAG
By Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 5, 2013
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"

Pre climb stretches? Jumping jacks? Warm ups for your warm up climbs? Are you at sweet rock? Don't you people hike to the crag?


FLAG
By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 5, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Greg Kimble wrote:
So aerili, the fingers and elbows form all the mechanical attachments for the muscle/tendon group. Therefore, the forearm muscle/tendon groups are long and skinny with about 1/3 of the overall length going towards the tendons in the fingers so you can isolate the tendon pretty easily. Not sure how to describe it without pictures and i don't think I can post one up. Basically, if you do a forearm extensor or flexor stretch you will stretch the majority muscle. If you do individual finger stretches you get the majority tendons.


Tendons are the ends of muscles. You absolutely cannot stretch one without stretching the other (even in the hands). You cannot "isolate" tendons from muscles. It is an anatomical fact. The finger musculo-tendon junction in particular has a loooong integration between the two where the unit is essentially blending between both. I was just dissecting finger tendons two weeks ago and got a beautiful and renewed sense of this.
If you injure a finger muscle and you try the "tendon only" stretch you described, I guarantee you will still feel that stretch down into the muscle belly near the elbow.



Jon Bitter wrote:
Stretching (when done correctly) is never bad.

With all due respect Jon, this is not true. While I am also on the bioengineering pathway you are and understand the engineer's mind set toward these things, I also have another degree in the applied/clinical side of things and can say that there is plenty of evidence emerging to suggest your generic, sweeping statement is far from accurate.

Jon Bitter wrote:
Unless you expect put some serious strain on your muscles very rapidly, you probably don't need to do much stretching beforehand.

Like what? Like jumping? Power production is actually precisely the sort of things they feel static stretching negatively impacts.

Jon wrote:
Stretching after is good if you strained your muscles enough that you might be sore. It will help prevent shortening of the muscle fibers as they re-knit.

Do you mean that stretching may help alleviate DOMS? I am unaware of any evidence for this if so.

Jon wrote:
The study showed an 8ish percent decrease in strength after stretching. Ask yourself "How did they determine that?" Did they have a machine that plugged into their thigh and magically determined the max force output? Or did they have some guys do squats before and after stretching, then say if it was X-percent easier or harder? I looked at the second paper, their methods were sketchy.

The paper may have been sketchy (didn't look at it) but most studies which examine this sort of thing test with more quantitative methods. For instance, basketball players have been shown to exhibit significant decreases in their vertical jump test heights after statically stretching. There are lots of ways to measure strength and power outputs in quantitative formats any engineer could easily appreciate.


FLAG
By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 5, 2013

Robbie, hiking is for suckers.

So Areili, read the post I just posted and do the stretches just real quick. When you add in fascia and other connective tissue to the system it matters. You can change where the majority of the stress is applied to a fiber group by changing where the angle is applied. Also, it is a physiological fact that the muscle/tendon group is an elastic system with varied elasticity between fibers (muscle stretches differently than tendons and ligament). If it were a static system then you would be correct. Also, part of what you are stretching in finger isolated stretches are pulleys. These are seperate from the muscle/tendon groups and take tremendous loads during regular climbing. Literally, just do the stretches and tell me you don't feel a difference. You don't need a calculator or a scalpel to do it. Do a forearm flexor stretch then do finger flexor stretch. You don't feel it in the forearm nearly as much. You stretch out the muscle fiber some, sure, but the majority of the stress is in the tendons.

Here's a link to a study that concludes post workout stretching does not help DOMS. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1250267/ . However, I don't think Jon was speaking in regards to DOMS. I think he might of meant if you got a low grade sprain or 'tweaked' a muscle. Which evidence does support stretching post injury. Not meaning to put words in your mouth Jon.

Jon, your second statement sounds much like the forces you place on your fingers when bouldering or any dynamic climbing.

And I read that abstract from the link but could never find the actual paper online for free anywhere so its pretty hard to tell about their methods and the analysis of those methods without reading the actual study. I'm gonna have to go with Aerili on this one. I've seen a few other studies with actual physical markers being studied, however, even those have their limitations.


FLAG
By todd w
Apr 5, 2013

Give it up, dudes.

Stretching is good for you. So is warming up. And vegetables.


FLAG
By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 5, 2013

I'm trying to wake up, but this heated debate on stretching isn't helping.


FLAG
 
By Nick Seaman
From Denver, CO
Apr 5, 2013

I'm with Todd. At least stretch for range of motion and flexibility. And eat your veggies!


FLAG
By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 5, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Greg Kimble wrote:
So Areili, read the post I just posted and do the stretches just real quick. When you add in fascia and other connective tissue to the system it matters. You can change where the majority of the stress is applied to a fiber group by changing where the angle is applied. Also, it is a physiological fact that the muscle/tendon group is an elastic system with varied elasticity between fibers (muscle stretches differently than tendons and ligament). If it were a static system then you would be correct. Also, part of what you are stretching in finger isolated stretches are pulleys. These are seperate from the muscle/tendon groups and take tremendous loads during regular climbing. Literally, just do the stretches and tell me you don't feel a difference. You don't need a calculator or a scalpel to do it. Do a forearm flexor stretch then do finger flexor stretch. You don't feel it in the forearm nearly as much. You stretch out the muscle fiber some, sure, but the majority of the stress is in the tendons.

Greg, I am well aware that muscles and tendons are not static. Having viscoelastic properties and different protein make-ups does not somehow make them separate units which functionally unilaterally and can be manipulated individually. They operate together and you cannot separate that. Now if you really knew what you were talking about then you would know that what I just said did not mean "operate together --> they are exactly the same thing". I do graduate biomechanical engineering research and also have a degree in kinesiology so I feel fairly confident in what I'm saying.

While you are correct that changing the angle of pull on the muscle/tendon changes the stretch and the force vector applied, this still does not mean that somehow you can isolate one from the other. The forces are transmitted throughout the entire unit. It may not be linear, but that doesn't mean it isn't transmitted through the whole thing.

When stretching the fingers, the pulleys are a separate tissue from the tendons which run under them. I would NOT recommend trying to stretch out your pulleys purposely.

Tendons exhibit stiffness and compliance. Different sports require different levels of each. Even within climbing, you do not uniformly want to have ALL compliance or ALL stiffness in ALL tendons. For instance, having compliant hip tendons is probably quite desirable. I would argue that having a high level of stiffness in finger tendons (and elbows and shoulders) is more desirable than a high level of compliance for climbers. This doesn't mean you shouldn't stretch your forearms, but you shouldn't be striving for spaghetti muscles.


FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 3.  1  2  3   Next>   Last>>