Do you stretch before your run or exercise session?
If you wander down to your local park run or Saturday morning soccer game, you would probably see most people doing a few warm up stretches.
The premise behind why we stretch is to warm our muscles and tendons before exercise so that we can ultimately avoid injury and perform better
But does static stretching actually do what it’s supposed to do?
Interestingly enough, current research has found that static stretching on its own is not effective in injury prevention. In some instances it may even increase your chance of sustaining an injury. This is because the elongation of muscle fibers that occurs during stretching may actually cause weakness in that muscle. This may lead to reduced performance during your run or chosen activity.
If static stretching is not a helpful way of preventing injury, then what is a good warm up?
1. Do something that is similar to the activity you plan to do. If you plan to go for a run, warm up with a jog or brisk walk.
2. Incorporate some exercises that use the same muscles groups as your desired activity. For example, squats and lunges will use the main muscle groups of the legs that are required for running sports.
3. Aim to include drills that are specific to your sport. After your body temperature is up from your general warm up it is important to make sure you prime the body for your particular sport. If you’re a soccer player, kicks on goal and passing drills are the way to go or if you are about to start a park run strides at full running pace are important.
Warming up is an important way of getting ready for exercise and it also a way to minismise your chance of injury. At this point in time old fashioned static stretching doesn’t seem to cut the mustard for this.
Why not give the above a go?