Last Updated on July 6, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
First Published in 2018
- Static stretching – where limbs are extended and held in a position for some time – is particularly bad.
- Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons, making them less powerful and more prone to injury which may require quick remedies such as Popped.NYC.
Table of Contents
Is static stretches bad before exercise? Article
PUBLISHED: 12:43 GMT, 4 April 2013 | UPDATED: 19:49 GMT, 4 April 2013
We’ve long been told that stretching before exercise is the best way to prevent injury, but experts are now warning it could do more harm than good. Is static stretching bad before exercise?
While not only could certain warm-up exercises prevent you from performing to the best of your ability, but they could also make you more prone to injury.
It’s now thought that static stretching – where the limbs are extended and held in a position for some time to make our joints and muscles more flexible – is particularly bad.
The authors of both reports say the reason may be because stretching loosens the muscles and tendons.
Not only could certain warm-up exercises prevent you from performing to the best of your ability, but they could also make you more prone to injury.
While this loosening makes them more flexible, it makes them less able to ‘spring’ into action.
Also, it gives the muscles and joints less support, increasing the risk of injury.
Therefore the process has been likened to having loose elastic on a waistband. While it may be more flexible, it’s also less effective at its job.
And to avoid injury, tendons need to be very elastic. While stretching makes them less elastic, they cannot deal with the large energy load by exercise.
While stretching can even affect other parts of the body, too. Previous research from the University of Texas has found that stretching one muscle can also impair another muscle that did not stretch – e.g., stretching a muscle in your left leg could weaken a muscle in your right leg – possibly by affecting the nervous system.
Is static stretches bad before exercise? Research Shows
The new conclusions were drawn researchers at the University of Zagreb analysed 104 studies of stretching, the New York Times reported.They found that competitive athletes who did static stretching reduced the strength in their muscles by almost 5.5 per cent.
Muscle power fell even more if the stretch was held for more than 90 seconds. The ability to lift weights also reduced by 8.3 percent after static stretching. If the stretch is held for less than 45 seconds, the negative effect is reduced but stretched muscles are generally less strong, they say. Other types of exercise were also affected. The ability to run fast or jump as high as you can be also reduced by three percent after stretching.
For instance, this means that the all-important tennis serve or sprint start could be missing that added bit of ‘oomph,’ say the researchers.
Another study, published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that young, fit men who stretched before lifting weights could manage 8.3 percent less weight after static stretching.
And it may also lead to people feeling ‘weaker and wobblier’ during the workout.
The researchers say the answer is to warm up by doing the movements you will use during exercise. For instance, that means jacks, high leg kicks, and jogging on the spot. Is static stretching bad before exercise?
Is static stretching bad before exercise? less effective on Sprinters during the warmup
Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Volume 23 | Issue 3 | June 2015
Effects of static stretching, dynamic, and combined static-dynamic stretching on sprint performance, reaction time, and power production in sprinters.
J. Aust. Strength Cond. 23(3) 9-15. 2015 © ASCA.
Original Scientific Research Study
EFFECTS OF STATIC, DYNAMIC, AND COMBINED STATIC-DYNAMIC STRETCHING ON SPRINT
PERFORMANCE, REACTION TIME, AND POWER PRODUCTION IN SPRINTERS
Jad-Adrian Washif 1
, Lian-Yee Kok 1
, Chen-Soon Chee 1
, Erik C.H. Tan 2
1Department of Sports Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
2National Sports Institute, Malaysia
While dynamic stretching was preceded by general, for instance, followed by sprint-specific warm-up elevated sprint and reaction performances. Simultaneously, static stretching combined with dynamic stretching compromised a muscle’s ability to perform maximally during explosive movements.
STATIC STRETCHES ABSTRACT
This study compared static, dynamic, and combined static-dynamic stretching within a
realistic warm-up routine on sprint performance, reaction time, and power production in sprinters. Thirteen (n = 13) young male sprinters performed static stretching (SS), dynamic stretching (DS), and combined static-dynamic stretching (CSDS). And repeatedly measured them for sprint performance (50 meters), reaction time, peak force (PF), and peak power (PP).
Significant differences were observed for sprint performance (p = .001) and reaction time (p = .015), but not for peak force (p =.483) and peak power (p = .458). DS evoked the best sprint performance (6.18 s + .11), followed by CSDS (6.33 s + .10) and SS (6.37 s + .11).
DS also obtained the best results for reaction time (0.22 s + .04), but SS (0.26 s + .05) was better than CSDS (0.29 s + .08). Even though power and force results were not statistically significant, they suggested that DS induced the best sprint performance, reaction time, and power production.
CSDS resulted in the slowest sprint performance and reaction time, while SS had the lowest PF and PP production.
While it seems DS may be associated with greater neuromuscular activation compared with other protocols. However, the benefits from DS may have been diluted when combined with SS. Therefore, DS’s application for sprint performance, reaction time, peak force, and peak power seems to increase muscles’ ability to perform maximally.
Key Words – Warm-up, stretching, explosive, speed, sprinters, muscle activation.
Supplied by Jad Adrian Washif.
Mr. Washif is a Malaysian Statistician for South East Asia, Coach, Sprinter, Sports Scientist, and Website Host,
would you please check out his website www.adriansprints.com?
References and Abstracts
|Winchester, J., Nelson, A., Landin, D., Young, M. & Schexnayder, I.||2008||Static Stretching Impairs Sprint Performance in Collegiate Track and Field Athletes||Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research||This study demonstrates that static stretching before an event inhibits athletes’ sprint performance compared to a dynamic warm-up.|
|Behm, D. & Chaouachi, A.||2011||A Review of the Acute Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Performance||European Journal of Applied Physiology||“Generally, a warm-up to minimize impairments and enhance performance should be composed of a submaximal intensity aerobic activity followed by large amplitude dynamic stretching and then completed with sport-specific dynamic activities. While sports that necessitate a high degree of static flexibility should use short-duration static stretches with lower intensity stretches in a trained population to minimize the possibilities of impairments.”||Peer-Reviewed Journal||stretching, warm-ups, warm-ups, strength, flexibility,|
|Fardy, S.||2014||The Benefits of Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching||Bodyscapes Fitness||Are you incorporating adequate dynamic stretches into your warm-up routine? Sean Fardy looks at why we should be preparing our athletes with dynamic stretches rather than relying exclusively on static warm-ups.||Blog||warm-ups, warm-ups, stretching,|
|Young, W. & Behm, D.||2003||Effects of Running, Static Stretching, and Practice Jumps on Explosive Force Production and Jumping Performance||Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness||“The results indicate that sub-maximum running and practice jumps had a positive effect, whereas static stretching negatively influenced explosive force and jumping performance. and suggested that and should consider an alternative for static stretching in warm-ups before power activities.”||Peer-Reviewed Journal||warm-ups, warm-ups, stretching, dynamic stretching, static stretching,|
|Tollinson, T.||2007||Static vs. Dynamic Flexibility||Brianmac||“Taylor Tollison explains the benefits of static and dynamic stretching and which should be used in your training program.”||Article||stretching, warm-ups, warm-ups,|
How is speed created? Warming up and Cooling Down for Sprinting
By Roy Stevenson
Warming up prepares the sprinter’s muscles by increasing the force of their muscle contractions and speeding up the muscle contraction rate, giving the sprinter more power and speed. Warming up also helps nervous young athletes stabilize their adrenalin rush before the competition, helping them better control their pre-event nervousness. Here’s how sprinters should go about warming up for races and training sessions.
Start your sprinter’s warm-up with 10-15 minutes of jogging to increase body temperature–slow and easy.
This should follow immediately after phase two and consists of 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretching exercises to reduce muscle stiffness. Dynamic
(ballistic) stretches through a wide range of motion work best because they are closer to the athlete’s actual competition movements. Research shows that static stretching exercises do not simulate rapid running movement and may cause a reduction in leg power.
The sprinter progresses to 10-15 minutes of general and event-specific drills. These specific drills put the finishing touches on the warm-up and prepare the athlete for sprint training. The drills usually include leg speed exercises, and it is here that pre-race and pre-training warm-ups diverge.
- .Cold Weather Warm-Ups (massageenvy.com)
- Plyometric Training for Sprinters (pinoyathletics.com)
- Flexibility in the Winter (motivationalfitnessmama.wordpress.com)
In implementing it into your program, I would keep the reps short(3-5 sec.) and rest/recovery long to allow for maximum effort on each rep and full recovery between reps and sets.
For an advanced athlete a workout could be 2 sets of four 3 sec. efforts with 2 min. recovery between reps and 5 min. between sets. A less accomplished athlete may only do 1 set.
Why shouldn’t you do static stretching before exercising?
Stretching decreases muscle performance.
Muscle contract due to an overlap of the actin and myosin fibers, like a ratcheting effect.
Static stretching decreases the amount of overlap, so the muscle cannot contract with as much force.
And forget what your high school gym teacher said about stretching before exercise to reduce injury; several scientific studies have proven that is not true.
Sports Stretch, 2nd Edition: 311 Static Stretches for 41 Sports
This new edition of Sports Stretch is a complete guide to flexibility for both weekend warriors and elite competitors. It features more stretches than the first edition, a new user-friendly layout, and more background information on the hows and whys of stretching.
Above all, this comprehensive book’s centrepieces are its illustrations and step-by-step guidelines for 311 different stretches.
“The American Running and Fitness Association has been recommending Sports Stretch since it first came out. This new edition is even better. Also, Alter provides a smorgasbord of stretches. So it’s easy to find one that works for you. Therefore no matter what your sport is, Alter can help your flexibility and possibly your performance.”
Former Executive Director
American Running and Fitness Association
“The American Running and Fitness Association has been recommending Sport Stretch since it first came out. This new edition is even better. While Alter provides a smorgasbord of stretches, so it’s easy to find one that works for you. No matter what your sport is, Alter can help your flexibility and possibly your performance.”
Former Executive Director
American Running and Fitness Association
Stretching Cool Down
After a run, is it better to do static stretching or use a foam roller?
Before answering this particular question, let me first briefly discuss “static stretching and foam roller.”
Static stretching is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. An example is shown here.
Another stretching called ‘Dynamic Stretching’ uses the speed of movement, momentum, and active muscular effort to bring about a stretch. See the example here.
What is a foam roller?
The foam roller is used for our muscles’ deep-tissue massage, is made up of a cylindrical piece of high-density foam. The exercise done by using this roller is termed ‘foam rolling.’ See the picture attached below.
Now coming to the main part of this question.
As static stretching needs warmed muscles, it is recommended by many experts that we should not do it before the warm-up or running.
The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all.
Before running or participating in any sports activity, our body must be well warmed up and not in a relaxed mode. But doing static stretching relaxes the muscles, which is not desirable for us. So I found it very helpful for me when I do it after running.
And can use a foam roller before as well as after the running. But it has been found quite much helpful if we do it before running.
A recent article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at acute foam rolling with the quadriceps. (Click here for the abstract) The study looked at 11 healthy male subjects’ quadriceps maximum voluntary contraction force, evoked force and activation, and knee joint ROM were measured before, 2 minutes, and 10 minutes following two conditions; 1) two (1) minute trials of SMR of the quadriceps via a foam roller and 2) no SMR (Control)
In a nutshell, the key takeaways were:
- ROM significantly (ρ < 0.001) increased by 10 and 8% at 2 and 10 minutes after rolling
- No concomitant decrease in muscle function
- No change in neuromuscular variables
So, this article suggests that rolling improves motion concerning the quadriceps.
Also, Dr. Mike Clark, CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, has advised that rolling correctly before exercising should help prevent injuries.
You have two major receptors in your muscles, Clark says. One is your muscle spindle, which makes the muscle contract. The other is called the Golgi tendon organ, which makes the muscle relax. “They both should be in balance with one another, which allows the tissue to work without getting injured,” Clark says.
If you have any muscular imbalances, and all you do to warm up is dynamic or static movements, your body will continuously compensate for your problem spots, Clark cautions. “Stretching stimulates the muscle spindle and makes it more overactive. Deep pressure stimulates the Golgi tendon organ, which then overrides the muscle spindle, which allows the tissue to relax, which prepares it for stretching,” Clark says. He says that foam rolling before stretching and exercising is like taking the parking brake off before you start driving your car.
Based on a brief study and personal experience of running for more than 4 years for my university, we should follow the following sequence while performing our daily workout.
- Very light warm-up, like slow jogging
- Foam roller massage
- Heavy warm-up, average running of around 2 to 3 Km followed by dynamic stretching.
- Finally, Static stretching.
Hence, in the end, I can say that and should do static stretching after the running and should use the Foam roller before running.
United States Sports Academy
America’s Sports University®The Sports Digest – ISSN: 1558-6448
Submitted by: Jimmy Boeder, CSCS, Candidate for a Master’s Degree, USSA
This flexible program is for all sprinters alike. And whether it is a short distance or long distance, this program can be tapered to your specific needs and expectations so that you can get the most out of it as possible.
Also, I have devised this program to work with both high school and college athletes. And can taper certain things since athletes in college and high school are such a broad spectrum, and the talent and differences in levels will also be a factor.
- Legs and calves
- Lower body stretch
- Legs, feet, and ankles
- Lower Leg
- Full Body Stretch
- Back and groin
- Back and hips
- Lower back and hamstrings
- Legs and hips
- Arms and shoulders
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