Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stretching....just makes you better at putting up with stretching

So, stretching doesn't stretch the just makes you more tolerant of stretching?

Six weeks of sustained 30-min daily stretch does not increase the extensibility of the hamstring muscle of healthy individuals. It does, however, improve stretch tolerance leading to increased joint range of motion without any actual improvements in muscle extensibility.
Regular stretch does not increase muscle extensibility


Anonymous said...

And it is likely that the increase ROM at the joint is the important bit. And that can be achieved in many other ways than static muscle stretching!

JamesSteeleII said...

It would be interesting to know the mechanisms underlying this. My undestanding is that ROM didnt increase but the ability to get near that ROM when the subjects tried themselves was improved. I have heard someone mention before that desensitisation of nerves supplying motor units occurs thus increasing ability to tolerate stretching the muscle. This would seem a bit silly though as it is also my understanding that the Golgi Tendon Organs cause the motor units that actively contract the muscle to fire in order to prevent this overstretching. Desensitisation of these nerves would then theoretically lead to decreased force production. Proabably not a good thing. Perhaps it might be due to a change in the actual golgi tendon organs that signal this excitation of motor units, causing less excitation as it were. It seems more likely to me however due to the studies indicating decreased force production after any stretching that its probably a decrease in motor unit excitation. It would be interesting to know whether or not there are any EMG studies examining whether there are any signal difference with or without stretching before exercise.

Chris D said...

Muscle length has long been understood to be mostly a neurological phenomenon.

For examples, patients with frozen shoulder syndrome can be moved through a full range of motion under anesthesia.

Steven Rice Fitness said...

I'm skeptical about this one- it's completely contrary to long experience doing yoga and bodywork. I'll assume that the study took a very limited look at stretching that doesn't do justice to the whole practice.