To Stretch or Not to Stretch
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|Fri, 06-18-2010 - 7:10am|
This was from the FitBits newsletter I received from Exercise, Etc. It's about a study that shows you can get the same benefits from resistance training as stretching, so if you're time crunched, you might consider doing only the ST.
Works Best for Increasing Flexibility: Stretching or Weight Training?
The ongoing discussion over the benefits of stretching, or lack thereof has arguably led to more confusion amongst fitness professionals than any other major topic. Should you stretch at all? If yes, when should you stretch? How long should you stretch? What type of stretching is best? These are all questions that, depending on which expert you ask or research you uncover you’re bound to get a different answer. Unfortunately, this next study is not going to clarify the issue. However, it might present an opportunity to look at stretching in a different light.
In a study presented at the national convention of the American College of Sports Medicine, it was reported that resistance training offered the same benefits to flexibility as a static stretching.
Researchers assessed the hamstring and shoulder flexibility of thirty-seven volunteers along with a strength measure for both quadriceps and hamstrings. Twelve of the subjects served as controls, while twenty-five were randomly selected for either a resistance training or flexibility training program.
After 5 weeks of training or stretching, improvements to flexibility were similar for both test groups. Moreover, the resistance-training group increased strength in addition to flexibility.
The study is of interest to fitness professionals not because it indicates limited value to stretching while performing a resistance-training program. Instead, it should be looked at in regards to efficiency. In the age of twice weekly 45-minute training sessions there is little time to spend on activities with limited return. Thus, for the beginner looking to build muscle and lose fat it may be more beneficial to ignore stretching in favor of resistance training.
The bulk of the research continues to suggest a strong value for a variety of stretching forms. At this point it is up to the fitness professional to determine best practice on an individual basis.
Press Release. American College of Sports Medicine. National Convention. June 4, 2010.