Static Stretching For Improved Physical Performance

stretching

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By Justin Cowart

From the 1960’s all the way to the 1990’s, athletes, enthusiasts and fitness professionals were told that static stretching (stretching of the muscles while the body is at rest) was extremely important for improved performance, flexibility and injury reduction.

This particular period was followed by 15 years of being told that static stretching could actually cause performance impairments and that it didn’t reduce injury risk, resulting in a drastic switch to a different type of stretching called dynamic stretching, where your movements are performed through large ranges of motion, typically at fast speeds.

As a result from this, many people no longer perform static stretching before playing sports or exercising.

However – researchers, upon reviewing a multitude of studies, were able to find out that static stretching, when implemented into a full warm-up routine that includes an initial aerobic component, should then not result in significant performance impairments and could actually reduce the muscle strain injury risk.  

Memorial University of Newfoundland and lead author of the study, Dr. David Behm, said that, “It is important for fitness professionals and enthusiasts, coaches, rehabilitation professionals and other scientists to critically assess the findings of fitness studies.  

“Many studies over the last 15 years did not include a full warm-up, something that most athletes do regularly. Many studies also tested stretches that were held much longer than what is typically done,” he continued. “Before incorporating new findings into your fitness activities, think about how the study applies to your situation and activities.”

CSEP Chair, Dr. Phil Chilibeck also said,

“CSEP strongly supports promoting physical activity for healthy outcomes and equally important to that are warm up routines that increase range of motion and decrease muscle injury.

“The recommendation in the CSEP Position Stand is that all components of a warmup be included with appropriate duration of stretching. The inclusion of static, or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), stretching is recommended and has the potential to positively influence the standard warmup routines of a large number of athletes.”

To think that we have had it wrong all along? Below is a video of what dynamic stretching looks like:

We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this topic in the comments below. What’s your warmup routine like?

 

Source: Science Daily

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Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart

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