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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, i'm really confused about this whole stretching business. I've tried to a lot of research on stretching and I can't seem to pinpoint anything on the internet that suggests what you should do when your muscles are tired..... A lot of articles and people say that you should static stretch over trained/fatigued muscles and a lot of other people think otherwise.

My question is (from personal experience); if your muscles are tired and fatigued, should you gently stretch them out? Or was it counterproductive for you?

If you find stretching is helpful for your tired muscles, what type do you focus on? (i.e static, active, isometric ..etcetc)

Thanks!:thumbsup:
 

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AFAIK almost all the literature shows that stretching does not aid the recovery of fatigued muscles.

Stretching stretches.
 

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Bigsteve3570 said:
My question is (from personal experience); if your muscles are tired and fatigued, should you gently stretch them out? Or was it counterproductive for you?

If you find stretching is helpful for your tired muscles, what type do you focus on? (i.e static, active, isometric ..etcetc)

Thanks!:thumbsup:
Can you define "tired muscles", please?

For example, I'm tired right now, but my legs are fine. I'm guessing you're referring to muscle soreness, glycogen depletion, tightness or some sort of post-workout lactic acid burn, but I'm not sure.
 

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Le Duke said:
Can you define "tired muscles", please?

For example, I'm tired right now, but my legs are fine. I'm guessing you're referring to muscle soreness, glycogen depletion, tightness or some sort of post-workout lactic acid burn, but I'm not sure.
Lose of performance, i'm no longer seeing gains and my muscles are tight. I'm not really feeling any lactic acid burn... they just feel... well... numb and dead. Also, my diet/sleep, etc etc there are no loop holes that contribute to this. I've taken a few days off already and for me I always need something to do, so i'm stressing over this a bit and wondering if stretching could be beneficial short/long term.
 

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I always (always) stretch before a ride. I never get cramps during a ride. Sometimes I'll get a charley horse after a very tough ride but those are kind of amusing. Only on MTBR.com could someone find no benefits in stretching, heh.

This is a habit that goes back to my basketball playing days. I do two basic stretches, a calf stretch by pushing against a wall, and I touch my toes. Now I'm able to touch the floor with my fingers and hope to get down to my knuckles next.

It's harder to stretch in the morning so ease into it. I might stretch 10 seconds halfway down before going all the way down.
 

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Stretching has eliminated all of the pain that I was having in my back. This is especially true in mountain biking where you have to remain very flexible to maintain smoothness in your riding. Stretching has helped me significantly in many ways, I reccomend you try it, and see what it will do for you.
 

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Bigsteve3570 said:
Hey, i'm really confused about this whole stretching business. I've tried to a lot of research on stretching and I can't seem to pinpoint anything on the internet that suggests what you should do when your muscles are tired..... A lot of articles and people say that you should static stretch over trained/fatigued muscles and a lot of other people think otherwise.

My question is (from personal experience); if your muscles are tired and fatigued, should you gently stretch them out? Or was it counterproductive for you?

If you find stretching is helpful for your tired muscles, what type do you focus on? (i.e static, active, isometric ..etcetc)

Thanks!:thumbsup:
If your muscles are tired and fatigued, you should rest them. Do a few lite recovery rides or some low intensity for several days. Massage might be helpful.
 

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Most of the recent literature I have seen suggests that a light warm up/range of motion exercise preceding an activity is the best for performance. Any stretching should really be done to address an actual flexibility issue and should be done once you're well warmed up, so I usually take the time to do this post-ride. Obviously everyone is different, but this works for me and seems to be backed up by "science".
 

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TunicaTrails said:
Only on MTBR.com could someone find no benefits in stretching, heh.
Stretching stretches. And sure enough, now you can touch the floor while doing a hamstring stretch.

Good for you.
 

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Stretching is good because there's more to life then biking. Do stretching and even give yoga a try because one day you're going to be old and your body is going to be all bend over and stiff. Do some stretching/yoga so you remain open and upright as you age.
Also if your legs and body are fried a MASSAGE would help recovery.
 

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Stretching?

I hate stretching. Always, always. So that is my own problem and my bias. So....some years ago I read some research that said that stretching before riding robs you of high performance later in the ride. It recommended riding light for 15 minutes and then stretching. I have used this with my racers and it seems just fine. I get bored watching them stretch so I join a bit.

Along with the research was the suggestion that people who are traditionally stretchers will be the hardest to convince that delaying stretching works. It will be, they said, especially hard with runners, now riders, who have a deeply developed devotion to stretching. I see them in their genuflection at every trailhead; pushing, pulling, leaning. It is a whole lot easier for cyclists to perform without pre-stretching as pounding and weight-bearing can be mitigated in easy riding before stretching.

Related to that the hardest people to slow down and get to rest enough are highly motivated athletes or athletes heavily habituated to their sport. I throw that in for a reason. What these two thing reveal is that our own personal programs and our relative success are due to our own efforts and we hate to mess with that. Backing off is an anathema to success with that perspective. But you have dead legs, so, if I may steal from Dr. Phil, "how's that working for ya?"

In that context I doubt that stretching will do much except to feed your need to "do something." Yet that need deserves to be addressed. As such, it sounds harmless and gives you something to do but it doesn't sound like the problem, or the solution, to me. It sounds like your brain is driving your body too hard. Even at rest you are needing something to do and your solution seems to be to continue to work your body. I suggest you do a search on Dead Legs.

In the mean time I suggest that you find someone to give you a massage. I suggest preferably someone with a high babeage factor. Actually I'm not sure that this does any real good either but, dang, it sure feels good and the babeage thing is just good clean fun.

I'd be pleased to hear how things progress. Good luck.
 

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Since you muscles are not really exposed to heavy loads of stress,(unless you are into sports),stretching allows you to regain the flexibility you have originally. Assuming you have any to begin with . Complicated but truth.
 

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Stretching muscles?

Stretching works on far more than muscle. What about connective tissues? They have a much lower capillary density than muscle tissue and take more time to warm-up. This is why loose and easy riding is so useful; the whole system gets warmed up. Once loose stretching can work out the kinks.
 

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Warm up prior to your ride and stretch after your ride. Stretching before a ride can actually hinder performance while a warm-up prepares the muscle for the activity. Stretching after the ride helps elongate the muscle as well as connective tissue. There are several benefits of having flexible muscles but the easiest to explain would be to help prevent injury. Say you hit a stump in a race and go flying off the bike landing on your arm. Having limited range of motion in that arm would mean you have a better chance of tearing the muscle.
 

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You should ride for a while until warmed up. Then do stretches. I only do two, quads and hammies. Don't do stretches on cold muscles. Don't "bounce" and NO pain with your stretches. As for cramps, you have run out of salt and/or water. Take a few Tums, eat/drink something salty. Always carry a few Gu's, they're light and you'll always have one. If you ever quit sweating, you're in trouble. Quit exercising, drink, and rest in shade. I was riding Sunday, 28 June and the temp was 100 degrees. My HR was 25 beats high after I got warmed up. On climbs where I would normally run 150, it was 175. Damn that makes you tired. I drank 3 liters of water (camelback) in an hour and a half. I still lost 5 pounds. That's 5 pints. I still felt fuzzy hours later after drinking all I could get down. good luck
 

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rob_co2 said:
If your muscles are tired and fatigued, you should rest them. Do a few lite recovery rides or some low intensity for several days. Massage might be helpful.
+1

Massage will absolutely be beneficial. Ask the therapist to do lots of effleurage, petrissage, jostling and ROM.
No deep work, no friction, no tapotement. Those would only add insult to injury.

Drink lots of water afterwards.Do a super mellow recovery ride the next day. You should be good to go.

Eating oranges, grapes, berries, carrots, etc.. for the anti-oxidants wouldn't hurt either.
 
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