Stretching between Sets?

Just saw a therapist who noted that my quads are really really tight. Now I stretch them loads (AIS around session, Microstretching etc.) and they are still tight.

He asked did I stretch them between sets of squats etc. in the gym and I said ‘no’, I just stretch after the session and he said its no wonder they are tight and I should stretch them between every set I do.

I am not sure about this. Would this not decrease elasticity => reduce power output etc.?

What do you guys think? Any suggestions to keep quads loose…?


I do it…I don’t find negaitive effects …Tim Grover reccomends it … can’t see a great reasons why not too …

Athlete 400M

Here’s a link worth looking at:

To my amazement, I just learned in a fitness class I am taking that you should only do static stretches post-workout and not before or during, total opposite of what I have learned or done. Pre- and during should utilize dynamic-controlled stretches. Although, this course mainly focuses on general related fitness, it may not necessarily apply to performance related fitness. I’ll see if I can clarify and dig up some references and post them here.

Why are do they say your not suppose to do static stretches preworkout? What are the downfalls?

Thanks all.

Football Coach,
thats what I was wondering about. Decreased power output etc. etc. But I was wondering: how much will it really decrease by after 3 x 6 secs gentle stretching between sets to maintain ROM? Will the cost (reduced output etc.) outweigh the benefits (fuller ROM, reduced tightness and ultimately injuries.

Away from the science labs here guys, stretches between sets beneficial for a chronically ‘tight’ athlete??

Ok - are we talking about stretching between sets in the Gym lifting weights or between sprints?
There would be difference in effects, aims and therefore muscle tone requirement.

Why not stretch muscles you are not using? Say during squats stretch the pecs and when benching stretch the hamstrings…

the idea of stretching, say, quads between sets of squats was due to a specific tighness in this muscle group. Are you suggesting stretch a different muscle group and stretch the quads/ adductors between sets of say a bench etc. that follows? Is a bit of stretching between sets that detrimental?

yes between sets in the gym

The research says it may and heavy stretching seems to lower the muscle response if done accute…I will let Charlie get into this in detail.

Everyone is back and forth with the research…why not let them argue and get some stretching done to muscles that are not being trained for power? I think the intensity of stretch and DURATION is the culprit…weight training stretches the muscle but the LTR is changing constantly. If you are doing big numbers the rest periods will be high…why not get in more range of motion work? That reminds me I need to make sure this ROM G.R.I.D can be read by 6 OS including mac, 95,98,2000 and XP as well as reader and preview.

So you learned this in a fitness class? So the people trained by these “fitness grads” will be of a sufficient degree of development that they don’t need static stretches at any time before a workout (but after warmup jogs etc, of course)? My people did static stretches beforehand, on those occasions when they felt it necessary, usually followed by some mobility work before moving on.
I can well remember the days when “the experts” told us NEVER to do dynamic stretching at all.
Don’t be caught up in absolutes.
Stretching between sets? Depends on the individual again. If it helps- sure. If it interferes with lifting/coordination- then no. But always after- your best opportunity to increase ROM.

I agree Charlie, it was strange to me. I never heard this before taking this university course. I used to do the same stuff as you mentioned. Static stretches before (if I felt tight) followed by power speed (As, Bs, Runnin As, etc) and then the actual workout (especially speed days).

Granted, this course and viewpoint was directed to general related fitness, but even so, I think I would still tell my clients to do some (if need be) static stretched beforehand (post warm-up). Agree?

I’ve been stretching the opposite muscle group I’m working for a while now.

ie. for bench, i’d stretch my back.
when it gets to lower body it get more complex. I also like what Clemson said about stretching lower body while doing upper body lifts, and vice versa.

athlete 400m

There are clear-cut guidelines for optimal training. However, within those guidelines you have to find what works best for you. So, if your quads are so tight it interferes with you sprinting or doing squats and stretching them allows you to do sprints or squat than you stretch. But, before you do that be sure you have exhausted all the other methods of loosening your quads. Good warm-up and cool-down and stretching through the day and nutrition and massage and and and …

Good Luck

I used do this - but then progressed to using ‘supersets’ back vs chest - ‘bench vs chinups’ which is based on Polquins idea that greater strength can be generated by two muscle groups if the antagonists are used in between sets also.

Would this be considered stretching between the alternated sets? (work on the antagonist would relax/stretch the agonist.)

Perhaps it’s not ‘stretching’ in the conventional sense of the word -

  • but does it reduce the ‘tension’ in the agonist - I think so.

I used alot of AIS stretching and it operates on related principles and CP also had his studies or claims on strength increases using opposite muscle groups so I’ve adopted it and started using it as a training approach for about the past 3 months.

OK - I don’t want to put 2 and 2 together and get 5 -
But I have found that my lifts are better - slightly easier and my fatigue in later sets isn’t as great - I also seem to get more done in a workout because I move between 2 exercises/weights rather than standing around waiting to recover.

Do you think there’s any logic to it Charlie or am I off track?

How would you split the lifts up? Would you do both groups high int or would you go one high, opposite low, etc?

This is what i do. Set of pull-ups, then just before my bench stretch lats,
set of bench, then just before pull-ups, stretch the pecs. and so on.

Yes, I’ve worked with poliquin’s agonist/antagonist scheme. Normally, your intensity remains the same between all sets and you recover fully between sets (A1 Overhead Press, 2:00 Recovery - A2 Chins, 2:00 Recovery, Repeat) but I’m sure doing one set at a high intensity and another at low intensity would not be a bad thing to do.