Stretching: the truth
DUANE KNUDSON, a professor of kinesiology at the state university of California, chickoon, looked at the campus during a warm-up before practicing, and he saw a dangerous mistake. “They’re stretching, touching their toes… “He sighed. “It’s frustrating.”
If you’re like most of us, you’ve been told the importance of the warm-up exercise in primary school, and you’ll probably continue to use the same procedure ever since. Science, however, has begun. Researchers now believe that some of the more ingrained factors in many athletes’ warm-up programmes are not only time-consuming, but also bad for you. The old hypothesis, which lasts for 20 to 30 seconds – is called static stretching – causes a muscle workout to be wrong. It actually weakens them. A recent study conducted at the university of Nevada, Las Vegas, showed that after static stretching, athletes’ leg muscles were more powerful than those without stretching. Other studies have found that this stretch reduces muscle strength by up to 30 percent. Also,
“There’s a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” says Malachy McHugh, director of research at the Nicholas sports medicine and sports trauma institute at lenox hill hospital in New York. The tense muscles become less sensitive and remain subdued for 30 minutes after stretching, which is not the way the athlete wants to start exercising.
The right preheating should do two things: relax the muscles and tendons, increase the range of motion of various joints, and warm up the body literally. When you rest, the blood flow to your muscles and tendons will decrease, and it will harden. “Before you move, you need to make your organization and tendons compliant,” Knudson says.
A well-designed warm-up begins with increasing body temperature and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels more efficiently draw oxygen from the blood and use stored muscle fuel more efficiently. They also have a better load. A spooky study has found that the leg muscles of lab rabbits may be stretched farther before they are torn apart if they are subjected to electronic stimulation (i.e., heated).
To raise your body temperature, a warm-up must begin with cardio, usually light running. Most coaches and athletes have known this for years. That’s why a tennis player runs four or five times before a race, and why a marathon runner steps forward before the race begins. But many athletes warm up or do this part too soon. A 2002 study of university volleyball players found that those who warmed up and then sat on the bench for 30 minutes were more rigid than before they warmed up. Recent studies have shown that excessive aerobic warming can only make you feel tired. Most experts recommend starting with a warm-up jog of around 40% of your maximum heart rate (a very easy step) and progressing to about sixty percent. Aerobic exercise takes 5 to 10 minutes, and 5 minutes. (sprinters take longer to warm up, because the load on the muscles is so extreme). Now, it’s time for the most important and unorthodox parts of the proper warm-up program, spiderman and his companions.
“Around 2000, I began to see some other players doing these strange things before the game, and then thinking, what’s going on in this world?” Mark Merklein, 36, said. A highly ranked tennis player, now is the national coach of the American tennis association. The players jump up and down on the sideline, kicking and occasionally jumping, like spiders. They adopted a new method of stretching early.
Physiologists now agree, although amateur athletes between static stretching almost universal practice to observe your child’s soccer team next weekend – but it does not improve the ability of muscles, physiologists now agree. “You may feel like you can stretch further after 30 seconds, so you think you’ve increased your muscle preparation,” McHugh says. However, usually you only increase your discomfort with mental discomfort. The muscles are actually weaker.
On the other hand, stretching muscles while moving, a technique called dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-up adds motivation, flexibility and range of motion. The muscles in motion do not encounter this kind of insidious inhibitory reaction. Instead, they have what McHugh calls “exciting information” to perform.
Dynamic stretching is most effective at specific times of movement. “You need an action range to activate all the joints and connective tissue,” said Terrence Mahon, head coach of the Olympic marathon runners Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor. For runners, the ideal warm-up may include squatting, lunges and “form exercises,” such as kicking your hips with the heel. Athletes who need to move quickly to different directions, such as soccer players, tennis players or basketball players, should be able to extend their movements, involving many parts of the body. “Spider-man” is a particularly good exercise: sprawled on the ground and climbed the court’s width as if you were climbing a wall. (for other dynamic extensions, see the sidebar below.)
Even golfer, after the warm-up notoriously (recent survey of 304 leisure golfers found that two-thirds of rarely or never bother), will benefit from some before kick-off. In a 2004 study, golfers who conducted dynamic warm-up exercises and practiced swing increased their bar head speeds and were expected to reduce their barriers seven times within seven weeks.
There is still a debate about how dynamic warm-up prevents injury. But studies have become increasingly clear that it is almost unhelpful to have static stretches alone before exercise. Most of military research, the results show that almost the same number of subjects development of lower extremity injuries (shin splints, stress fracture, etc.), no matter whether they before training for the extension of the static. The centers for disease control, on the other hand, a major study published earlier this year found that female college students football player injured knee events falling nearly half, they received a warm up plans, including dynamic warm-up stretch and static movement. (for example routines, please visit: www.aclprevent.com/pepprogram.htm). And the golf course, bloom at the university of Pennsylvania, assistant professor of exercise science Andre vlad gold (Andrea Fradkin) new research shows that those who warm up 9 times lower likelihood of injury.
“It was a real eye-opener, and it used to be a brazen golfer,” said vladkin. “I didn’t really warm up before. I’m doing it now.”
You’re warming: the best dynamic extension
These exercises – as the American tennis association’s players development program teaches? It’s good for many athletes and even golfers. Exercise immediately after cardio, and exercise as soon as possible before exercising.
A straight line of march
(for hamstrings and gluteus muscles)
Kick a leg straight in front of you and bend your toes toward the sky. Hold out your opposite arm. Put down your legs and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue at least six or seven repetitions.
(for lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles)
Lie on your tummy with arms straight, feet bent and toes touching the ground. Kick the right foot into the left arm and then kick the left foot toward the right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise, start slowly and repeat it 12 times.
(shoulder, core muscles and hamstrings)
Stand up straight with your legs together. Bend until your hands are flat on the ground. Move your hands forward until your back is almost stretched. Keep your legs straight, your feet toward your hands, and then move on. Repeat five or six times. GR