I appreciate you taking the time to read though all of my post and the summary article as well. I also appreciate how cordial your response is, it’s nice to be able to have a reasonable discussion of differing view points – on the internet of all places 🙂 .
I have some thoughts and questions. I’m not sure I understood all your points fully, so set me straight where I missed something.
I get the tongue-in-cheek thought regarding climbing be stretching, but I think that is an example of where we have to define what “stretching” is. If we define all movement as stretching, then it’s hard to isolate what helps and what doesn’t. I’m referring to stretching as defined by one of the three common categories:
Static: place the muscle in a lengthened position and hold this position; often held at an uncomfortable but tolerable end range of motion between 10 and 30 seconds.
Dynamic: utilizes active muscle contraction and momentum to lengthen muscle without holding the end-range position.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF): there are 2 types typically utilized, “contract-relax” (CR) and “contract-relax, agonist contract” (CRAC)
CR: muscle being targeted is brought to end-range where resistance is felt. The person being stretched then actively contracts against resistance (isometrically), and then the targeted muscle is taken into a new position of limitation.
CRAC: same as CR but instead of targeted muscle being contracted, the opposite muscle group is contracted against resistance. Then, the targeted muscle is taken into a new position of limitation.
I don’t think my time at the climbing gym fits in any of these three categories. Nor do I put my body at the ends of my range of motion any more climbing then my time running down a trail or strength training at the gym.
The article didn’t put me off of stretching. The scientific research on the effects of stretching for Performance, Recovery, Injury Prevention, and Increased Flexibility did. The article is just somewhat convenient as it quotes the science and has direct links for anyone who wants to view the studies first hand. It was a very long and difficult process for me to overcome the narratives I had heard my whole life that stretching was important. It took much more education on the matter, over a long period of time, for me to arrive at my current understanding. As the science is updated on these matters, I will of course revise my position.
The text regarding “Why Kenyan’s don’t run” is not part of the summary article or it’s analysis. That text is a block quote comment from “Bob Cooper, Runner’s World Magazine” and is properly sited and linked in the authors citations. I don’t know much about Kenyan Runners in regards to stretching – but the disagreement you have would be with Bob Cooper at Runners World, not the science that the summary article reviewed. Ditto on Lydiard as well.
I’m confused about your comment “this is someone who chooses not to believe anything that hasn’t been “proved” by a journal article, or mostly, in this case, by meta-analyses”. That’s how science is supposed to work. Maybe I’m mistaking your point here? In Science, we make a hypothesis, like “Stretching improves performance and prevents injury”, and then we design a study to prove this. If were successful, we try to replicate our study again. If possible, we get other scientists to test our hypothesis as well. A meta-analyses is the gold-standard in research as it compares the results of many studies and evaluates the methodology as well. All of the studies that had been conducted and verified showed no benefit for performance, recovery, or injury prevention in comparison to the control groups. The studies did show a small increase of range of motion that would last for up to 36 hours, essentially saying you have to repeat the stretch regularly to maintain the increase. Further, studies showed that this increase seems to be related to improvement in pain tolerance to the stretch through repeated bouts, and not elongation of muscle fibers.
The other things you mention are anecdotal, not scientific. The anecdotal can be helpful in explaining things when backed by evidence, but on it’s own it’s not very helpful in understanding what is going on to drive an outcome.
There are tons of amazing athletes who swear by stretching. However, does that mean that stretching is getting them that performance? Those athletes and coaches were/are subject to the same information, narratives, and education on stretching we have been subject to.
The science on fascia stretching, muscle knots, adhesions, or myofascial trigger points is not good either. It is, however, a very lucrative way to make money. I spent a lot on it myself.
The one area we seem to agree on is “movement”. Movement is a useful way to warm-up for exercise and makes us feel better when we have been stagnating at a desk or standing position for periods of time.
Even if we didn’t change each others minds, we certainly better off for this healthy discussion.