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Stretching and massage don't help muscles

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  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,108Member Member Posts: 2,108Member Member
    None of my stretching is about recovery. It's about maintaining flexibility and recognizing that if I don't stretch I will feel it in the way of pain and potential injury (not DOMS). I also just like stretching, I always have. Also my not so normal way of getting up from the floor involves taking full advantage of hamstring flexibility - the one time my back "went out" which then affected that was less than stellar.
  • OrphiaOrphia Posts: 6,831Member Member Posts: 6,831Member Member
    IMHO

    Post-exercise static stretching/massage/foam rolling only "work" to the extent that they might help bloodflow in muscles.

    A walk is far more effective.


    As I said in the OP, and as @heybales and @mom23mangos mentioned, stretching is good for joints and tendons mobility, but unnecessary if you are hypermobile.


    Stretching for leg splits has been shown not to help the muscles stretch but to get you used to the pain.
  • neugebauer52neugebauer52 Posts: 718Member Member Posts: 718Member Member
    Massage / physiotherapy is helping me with "damaged" rectus femoris and tensor fasciae latae muscles. I don't think those muscles are "damaged" but just fed up with the weight I started with: 170 kg, 375 pounds. With some weight loss (32 kg so far), the right exercise, massage and physio the pain is getting less and movement getting easier. Stretching exercises seems to reduce muscle stiffness, especially during water aerobics. As long as it helps me with weight loss, less pain and increased ability to move, I am happy.
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Posts: 3,991Member Member Posts: 3,991Member Member
    I'm 65 with OA for a long time. I have also done an hour of stretching 3x a week for many years. I need to do it to loosen up. I especially do it before swimming or gym. I don't do my stretching routine during the summer--too hot. I can tell the difference on days I don't and during the summer. The benefits for me are awesome. I start my real workout nice and flexible. Then again, I don't pay much attention to studies. They're interesting, sure, but don't always apply.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Posts: 326Member Member Posts: 326Member Member
    I do an active warmup going through range of motion in joints before working out. For DOMS, I do light cardio...walking, roller skating, swimming. I do active and passive stretching to obtain full range of motion in my joints. Mobility is pretty important to me. I do active stretching followed by strength sets of the antagonistic muscle to lock in range of motion. I usually do this after working out when my muscles are already warm. I do static passive stretching to hit the connective tissue and usually do that cold.

    If you already have full ROM, mobility work including stretching is not needed. And if you are hypermobile, it probably does more harm than good. For people like me who have to fight for ROM, it helps. It has nothing to do with DOMS or injury prevention however. Well, OK somewhat with injury prevention because if you don't have full ROM, things are likely going to get jacked.

    Bolded makes sense but doubtful many over the age of 25 have full ROM given our generally seated hunched over a computer and/or phone posture.
    edited April 24
  • OrphiaOrphia Posts: 6,831Member Member Posts: 6,831Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Orphia wrote: »

    I am not trying to trump/gotcha anyone.

    And yet in response to the point that your title is deceptive you say:
    Orphia wrote: »
    Haha, welcome to the debate section. It was done on purpose, to create debate, and it's going quite well.

    Nice gotcha.

    The debate was going well at that point because people were reading the posts and adding good nuanced information.

    It's now at the point where it's getting too long and people haven't read it all and are nitpicking the title and posting gut reactions.

    I'm still waiting for scientific evidence on how stretching and massage help muscles other than placebo or blood flow. Can you please help? I've always admired your posts on here and another site we both visit.



  • Carlos_421Carlos_421 Posts: 4,783Member, Premium Member Posts: 4,783Member, Premium Member
    Orphia wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Orphia wrote: »

    I am not trying to trump/gotcha anyone.

    And yet in response to the point that your title is deceptive you say:
    Orphia wrote: »
    Haha, welcome to the debate section. It was done on purpose, to create debate, and it's going quite well.

    Nice gotcha.

    The debate was going well at that point because people were reading the posts and adding good nuanced information.

    It's now at the point where it's getting too long and people haven't read it all and are nitpicking the title and posting gut reactions.

    I'm still waiting for scientific evidence on how stretching and massage help muscles other than placebo or blood flow. Can you please help? I've always admired your posts on here and another site we both visit.



    Sorry if I derailed things. My initial response to the thread really summed up all my thoughts on the topic, that just because they dont help DOMS, doesn't mean stretching and massage aren't beneficial.

    Where I was surprised was at your statement about newcomers not knowing what you were referring to and not learning anything. I've always felt like that's what we're trying to avoid.
    Sorry if I misread your posts upthread. I honestly understood your response to aokoye to mean that you deliberately made your title not represent the articles you posted for that sake of stirring up debate.
    Reading through it again, I can see that's probably not what you meant and likely only meant that it was "clickbaity" on purpose, to bring attention to the topic.

    ETA: I've always liked your posts as well. Sorry for jumping to conclusions. I should have taken time to read through more carefully when my initial understanding of your post didn't jive with what I know to be your style.
    edited April 26
  • OrphiaOrphia Posts: 6,831Member Member Posts: 6,831Member Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    I dont think it's news that stretching pre-exercise is a dated concept and actually tends to impede progress. It's been a long time since I've seen static stretching recommended as part of a warm up and the vast majority of articles, magazines and even blogs will recommend dynamic movements for warming up and discourage pre-workout static stretching.

    That said, there's a difference between "static stretching doesn't decrease DOMS" and "stretching doesn't help muscles."

    Just because stretching shouldn't be done just before a workout doesn't mean that mobility work doesn't have health benefits. Same goes for massage.

    Thanks very much, Carlos. This is your first reply. I thought I'd replied to it, but maybe I didn't explain clearly.

    Mobility work helps joints and tendons, yes.

    I just don't think I know of a physical reason why stretching or massage help muscles as opposed to joints and ligaments.

    Keep in mind this part of my OP:

    After the "good pain" stops, you only feel "better" because:

    A. You're just relieved the pain from the stretch/massage is over;
    B. You feel nice from the attention you or the masseur has given you;
    C. The placebo effect (you'd hate to admit you were kidding yourself any of this helps).



    All I ever see are bald assertions saying "it helps", and I'd love to understand how and why.

    For example:

    Massaging "knots"... What is a knot in medical terms, and how does pressing on it heal it?

    Pulling/stretching hamstrings via touching your toes... How does it help the fascia, tissues, muscle fibres?


    ETA: I've had quite a few massages and done loads of stretching, so I've thought about this from many angles.


    edited April 26
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Posts: 3,991Member Member Posts: 3,991Member Member
    I would think that when I'm stretching--static and dynamic, since I do an hour of combined movements--to help my joints and ligaments, that my muscles are also involved. I think it's difficult to separate the two. I'm also different in that I don't care why it helps my flexibility and swimming and gym workouts. After 30 yrs I would doubt it's placebo. It has no preventative effect on DOMS for me. If I do a new workout, using different muscles, or a particularly rigorous one, I'll have DOMS--stretching or not. I've never had a massage, so can't comment there.
    edited April 26
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 5,737Member Member Posts: 5,737Member Member
    Orphia wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    Orphia wrote: »

    I am not trying to trump/gotcha anyone.

    And yet in response to the point that your title is deceptive you say:
    Orphia wrote: »
    Haha, welcome to the debate section. It was done on purpose, to create debate, and it's going quite well.

    Nice gotcha.

    The debate was going well at that point because people were reading the posts and adding good nuanced information.

    It's now at the point where it's getting too long and people haven't read it all and are nitpicking the title and posting gut reactions.

    I'm still waiting for scientific evidence on how stretching and massage help muscles other than placebo or blood flow. Can you please help? I've always admired your posts on here and another site we both visit.



    I'm not sure how one would design such an experiment. Most of the existing studies originate from the military physical readiness program and the Olympic commission. Both are very broad spectrum and experimented more along the line of timing - stretching before, after, both, and null.

    Almost any manner of innervation will stimulate increased blood flow and aid development.

    Placebo is also linked to benefits of mindful action and mental clearance, deep breathing is often associated with stretching which has another difficult to quantify benefit.

    Considering the pain associated with exercise originates from tissue breakdown, it makes sense to increase bloodflow through innervation, but this is another benefit that falls below instrument detection at this time.
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