Just about every fitness book, magazine, article recommends to stretch before, during, and after exercise but have also been told to stretch before, during, and after workouts to stretch the connective tissue surrounding muscle cells to prevent injury and affect your range of motion. Stretching and warm-up is thought to expand the muscle and hamstring strength, which will allow the connective tissue to expand and allow for more muscle growth of the muscle bellies. Researchers put the stretching theory to the test and examined muscle IGF-1 responses. Thirty people were randomly assigned into one of three training groups: a) static stretch and dynamic stretching before strength training, b) static stretching before each training set, and c) no stretching before or during exercise. Strength and IGF-1 levels were collected at the beginning (pre-test) and end (post-test) of the entire experimental procedure. The outcome was not positive for stretching before exercise. The group that did not stretch showed a significant increase in strength with all exercises, whereas the groups that stretched before or during exercise had increases in strength for only certain exercises. Researchers found that the group that did not stretch showed higher values of IGF-1 when compared with the other groups. It has been concluded that not stretching can more effectively increase muscle group and strength as well as basal serum IGF-1 levels. So despite what you have been taught for years, dynamic stretch and hamstring stretch is not good before or during exercise. If you decide to stretch, make sure it’s afterward.
A new study finds that stretching for more than 60 seconds may actually be bad for lower back, blood flow, feet shoulder-width, back pain, mobility, muscle soreness and stiffness, torso, muscle growth and can adversely affect weight loss and lunges. The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that static stretch for more than 60 seconds can actually decrease muscle strength and glutes.
The study's lead author, Dr. David Behm, said that the findings challenge the common belief that a longer stretching routine is better. "This research indicates that there may be an optimal length of time to stretch a muscle before exercise," he said. "Stretching beyond this point may actually have negative effects."
So how much important stretching is too much? The systematic reviews say that anything beyond 60 seconds is likely to be detrimental to your workout and does not provide you knee pain, muscle tension, upper body disbalanced rather give you balanced amount of range of motion for active stretch and tight hamstring and tight muscle with greater range of motion . So if you're looking to maximize your muscle growth and physical activity, keep your stretches short and sweet.
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