Reasons For Not Stretching Before Workouts
by Owen Anderson - from
Research NewsMany runners stretch before their workouts,
but scientific research tells us that there are five key reasons NOT to carry
out static stretches before you head out for a run:
(1) A muscle which
has been passively stretched is weaker, not stronger, than a muscle which has
not been passively extended.
(2) Muscles which have been statically
stretched are much more easily damaged, compared with muscles which have not
(3) There is no solid evidence that passive stretching
during a warm-up decreases the risk of injury or heightens performance during
an ensuing workout or competition.
(4) Static stretching may indeed
increase passive range of motion at key joints, but there is some evidence to
suggest that augmentation of such range of motion may actually spike the risk
of getting hurt.
(5) A study carried out at the University of
Hawaii-Manoa linked pre-workout stretching with a 33-percent higher risk of
injury in male marathon runners.
If stretching before workouts and
competitions is not a good idea, what should your warm-ups be like? Well, they
should include drills
(click here for some great technique drills) to
heighten DYNAMIC range of motion at joints and to fully prepare your
neuromuscular system for the activities which are to follow. Such drills should
also warm up muscles and enhance the ability of muscles to withstand quick
lengthenings, so they are less likely to be injured if you turn on some heat
during your effort. Passive stretching can be saved for the post-workout or
post- competitive time frame, when stretching will help ease your muscles into
the quiescent activities which are to follow.
For more information
about stretching and optimal warm-ups, please see Volume 19-2 (March 2003)of
Running Research News, which will be available shortly - or else contact us at
Click here for the Complete Book of Stretching