STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISING CAN LEAD TO FURTHER INJURIES
One of the controversial topics that we often speak about with our clients and workshops
Majority of us, if not ALL of us have the urge to do it at some point before or during the exercise right?
Here’s our opinion and reasoning:
Most sports and exercises are usually dynamic, high impact, high loading activities which challenge your body to respond quickly to sudden lengthening and shortening of the muscles, think about the sport or exercise you currently enjoy. To perform these movements safely and efficiently, you would want your joints and muscles to be responsive and contractile, not “stretched”.
Here’s what the research tells us:
Muscle strain and injuries occur when muscle or joints are taken beyond their physiological limit. Meaning that, the nervous and muscular system needs to be VERY RESPONSIVE to prevent further force before the muscles or joints are taken past the end range.
You seem to get better range of motion and feel the muscles “letting go” when you stretch though right?
Static stretching makes you feel like your flexibility improved, NOT because your muscle length (extensibility) actually increases, but rather your nervous system has now developed the tolerance to that amount of stretch, in other words, the receptors becomes NUMB and LESS RESPONSIVE to that much stretch in the muscle. Imagine doing a high intensity work out with a less responsive muscle. Recipe for disaster.
ALSO, there is such phenoma called Stretched-Induced Strength Loss, where static stretching actually makes you lose some strength. Personally, I’d choose to keep my strength over a bit of flexibility.
HOWEVER, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your sport !
If you are about to perform a low-load exercise or sport that relies on more flexibility to perform better such as gymnastics and yoga, then go crazy ! but do consider the above factors.
Whats the solution?
WARM UPS ! they’re called WARM UPS for a reason. Focus on getting your blood pumping and body ready for the movements you are about to put your body through. Mimicing the motion e.g. If you are performing deadlifts, make sure to perform some hip flexion and extension drills beforehand (some may call is glute activation drills), or if you are about to play a game of soccer, there is alot of hip flexion movements with kicking, so performing high knees and leg swings is always a great idea.
“Train the MOVEMENT, not the MUSCLES”