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5 Top Reasons For Not Stretching Before Workouts

by Owen Anderson - from Running Research News

Many 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 been stretched.

(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 info@rrnews.com

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