Friday, November 7, 2008

Can You Handle the The Truth About Stretching

This is a great article about stretching and the new thinking on static stretching.

It is a must read.

Stretching: The Truth
By Gretchen Reynolds
October 31, 2008 - The New York Times

If you’re like most of us, you were taught the importance of warm-up exercises back in grade school, and you’ve likely continued with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes’ warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. 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 actually 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. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.

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Rick Kaselj
Exercise Physiologist Specializing in Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation
Langley, BC, Canada

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Ian said...

This is great advice on stretching. I all to often need to remind people it is most beneficial to stretch after exercise and to do a dynamic warm-up before.

Anonymous said...


Great article. I completely agree that the static stretching should not be used before demanding a muscle to perform. The dynamic movements prepare the body for what is about to take place and there for increase performance. Great post!


Jeremy Belter said...

Thanks for all the comments on PTU. You are very wise

Becky said...

Hi Rick,

Thanks so much for posting this article. Old habits die hard, don't they? I've been a fitness pro for over 20 years, and it was "static stretching" all the time way back when. Thank goodness research is always being done to find newer and better ways to do things.

Now we just need to make sure to get the word out so that people don't continue to stretch "the old way".

Keep up the great work of educating folks how to exercise properly (and safely) for great results.

Becky Williamson

coachben said...

Hi Rick,

Great stuff. Amazing how science has moved on from what we thought was the right way. Fat loss is similar in that sense. People used to think that long steady state cardio was the way to go. Oops, not any more, now it is interval training.

Keep up the great work you do.

Ben Warstler