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Has anyone on here read a book by Dr Phil Maffetone called "Health and Fitness" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Book-Health-Fitness-Prevention/dp/1616083794/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Phil+Maffetone&qid=1586183137&s=books&sr=1-2

I've been reading it recently and was surprised to read his views on stretching. He's not in favour of it at all.

He has a couple of blog posts with his thoughts on it:

https://philmaffetone.com/dangers-of-stretching/

https://philmaffetone.com/gait/

I think his opinion is more about stretching related to running, but wondered whether anyone knows more about this?

The following article has more on this; again, with regards to running:

https://www.bikyle.com/Stretching.htm

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11 hours ago, TonyW said:

Has anyone on here read a book by Dr Phil Maffetone called "Health and Fitness"

I haven't read the book, but I am familiar with Maffetone's work via his "Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing", and other running related writings.

11 hours ago, TonyW said:

I've been reading it recently and was surprised to read his views on stretching. He's not in favour of it at all.

I am not the least bit surprised.  It is very much in line with contemporary coaching practices for running, and many other sports.

11 hours ago, TonyW said:

I think his opinion is more about stretching related to running, but wondered whether anyone knows more about this?

There are a few considerations to be made when engaging with his, and others' similar ideas, about stretching and its effect on sporting performance.

  1. What is meant by stretching?  For instance:
    "Clinicians who evaluated muscle function in athletes observed one outstanding factor — stretching a muscle could make it longer (the reason it increases flexibility), and this resulted in a reduction in function from a loss of power."

    Certainly that may be true, if one stretches improperly, without regard for the development of strength in the full range of motion.  But that is not what Stretch Therapy, nor many other systems for the improvement of mobility, advocated.
  2. Injury prevention: clinical evidence and research can only measure what is being done.  I don't doubt that what has typically passed for "stretching" for runners, has been more of a cause, than a barrier to injury.  It was generally a combination of static stretching and leg swings, done prior to the run.

    I am yet to see clinical evidence or research that looks into the effect of a properly considered stretching/mobility program on injury prevention in runners.  Because for the most part, no-one is doing that.
  3. Performance: running coaches are (primarily) only interested in performance.  Does (x) make my athlete faster?

    It is true that to run optimally, one requires only a certain level of mobility.  Most athletes are largely self-selecting, in that people naturally built for speed at a given distance will gravitate towards the corresponding sport/event.  There are always outliers - people who achieve greatness with horrendous form due to impaired mobility.  Could their performance be improved with improved mobility?  Possibly, but few coaches are willing to significantly alter what is already providing results.
  4. Well-being.  The only thing that is surprising about Maffetone's stance is the absence of focus on well-being.  Most of us participate in sport as an important, but mostly peripheral, component of our lives.  For most athletes, their sport largely defines them.

    Given Maffetone's (dogmatic) insistence on health as the central focus in his treatises on running - see MAF method etc - it is odd to see him largely ignore it, here.  I can see at the footnote of one of your links, he gave further thoughts regarding specific considerations in the comments (that are no longer on the page).  But again, without being able to read them, they seem to promote athletic considerations over all else.

    Thus, most people here are interested in building a resilient, adaptable body; capable of many things and as impervious as possible to breakdown.  Being an athlete is (generally) not a path to health and/or well-being.  An athlete can achieve a glorious career, entirely devoid of injury, and still end up a train-wreck in retirement.

 

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