MYTHBUSTER: ... "Stretching before exercise is important, but it has to be the right kind of stretching- … I mean, everyone from your parents to your high school gym teacher have been telling you that you should stretch before exercising. 1: Always Stretch Before Exercise Yes, this one is a myth! Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak. So, given what all of these studies tell us, static stretching doesn’t seem to deliver on its promises. Exercise Myth #1: You must stretch before you exercise We often hear that it is important to stretch before exercise. This is not always the best advice. Dating back to the early 1980s, the practice of static stretching before exercise was widely believed to prevent or reduce the risk of injury, and to promote performance. Also studies have shown that stretching before exercise does not help prevent injury during exercise. False. Myth #4: You need to stretch before exercise. Static stretches are generally held for 30-60 seconds and while it is true they can help with flexibility, they may not be the most beneficial prior to a workout. Research suggests that stretching before exercise makes your muscles weaker and slower (PDF, 516kb), even though you might feel looser. You may have heard that stretching before your muscles are warm is a bad idea. Theoretically, stretching before exercise should make the muscles more pliable and less likely to tear. Recent studies caution people away from stretching before workouts, suggesting it actually impedes your body’s performance. There is no solid evidence that stretching alone before a sport or activity prevents injury. 1. Rich Barlow Once upon a time, stretching was to exercise what proposing is to marriage: an essential ritual that had to be done before the main event. Overall, stretching both before and after exercise is thought to offer a minor reduction in soreness but no significant protection against injury. When you stretch your stretch tolerance increases, but your muscle tissues are not lengthening. And if that is your inclination, you would be completely right: you should be doing something to warm-up before you start your proper sets. The researchers from the University of Hull in England "concluded that static stretching was ineffective in reducing the incidence of exercise-related injury." running This probably includes some basic, static stretches for the muscle groups that you are going to be exercising that day. But when studies have compared rates of injury or muscle soreness in people who stretch before exercise and those who don't, they have found little benefit to stretching. When it comes to stretching, many of us choose to neglect it after a hard workout, but how much difference does it really make and am I wasting my time if I bother? And, really, this makes perfect sense… Well, before we get mired in baseless speculation here, let’s start by taking a look at some of the benefits that this practice allegedly offers. Evidence suggests that acute stretching immediately before exercise can have a negative effect on performance due to the physiological changes seen in the muscle and the decreased ability to store elastic energy (Wilson et al, 2010). But what about muscle recovery and limiting post-workout soreness, does static stretching at least help with those? Sitting and holding a cold, static stretch before you work — a.k.a. Sure, you can hold the stretch for 30 seconds, but you don’t have to. Instead, begin by dynamically stretching the muscle groups that you are about to train, and you’ll be good to go. Accordingly, it is common practice for stretching exercises to be included in a warm-up session. But, really, the entire process takes less than 10 minutes (resting 1 minute between each warmup set), and after those 4 sets you’ll find that you are far more ready – both physically and psychologically – for your main sets. According to this research, runners run more slowly, jumpers jump less high, and weight lifters lift more weakly by stretching, without significantly ensuring against injury during their exercise. Let’s examine this myth one gender at a time. MYTH 10: You Should Always Stretch Before A Workout. This applies to various different sports – and, of course, gymnasts who rely on comprehensive static stretching routines to develop their flexibility. The easiest way to start incorporating dynamic stretching into your routine is to do a few warmup sets of whatever your main exercise is before moving on to your proper sets. before your muscles have warmed up — isn’t just useless, it can actually cause harm. Debunking the stretching myth and giving you real reasons why muscle stretching helps your body, and how to do it properly Stretching before activity is great for you, but not for the reasons you might think. Any positive associations are likely due to the placebo effect and are entirely anecdotal, since solid research found no significant reductions in DOMS by stretching before/after exercise[2]. The percentage who’ve heard of it: 82%. And there’s some truth to that: Performing static stretches—reaching and holding in one position—is not recommended and has even been shown to hurt workout performance. according to this comprehensive 4-week study on dynamic warm-ups. If you’re over doing it there is a possibility you can irritate your muscles. If we should always stretch before exercise? Myth 2: Always stretch before you exercise. As I mentioned before, it is pretty common knowledge that stretching precedes exercise. But the best time to stretch is after you exercise. Fact: Though stretching should be part of warming up, the muscles must be warmed before flexibility exercises. For the rest of us, however, who get most of our regular exercise in the gym lifting weights or doing cardio, static stretching just isn’t very useful. Is there an appropriate application for this kind of stretching? Myth 5: Stretching Before Exercise Will Prevent Injury Advertisement This particular myth is contentious. All clinical services and programs are part of University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics. The best type of stretching to perform before your workout is dynamic stretching. We’ve all been told this at one time or another – but why? Well, no offense to my old gym teacher, but research shows that static stretching before exercise can … “Chris, all of that sounds reasonable, but I feel like I should be doing something before attempting to lift heavy weights.”. First off, a study by Mojock et al. This particular myth is contentious. Fact #4: Static Stretching is Best Done After a Workout Gentle stretching after a workout is fine. The percentage who believe it: 57% Further, it will help reduce the chance of your getting hurt, since dynamic stretching has been found to raise body temperature, improve blood flow to the muscles, and help with coordination – all of which are important for remaining injury-free. However, this is actually a myth. MYTH #1: STRETCHING BEFORE WORKOUT PREVENTS INJURY Once upon a time, stretching before workout or exercise was considered essential to prepare the body and decrease the possibility of injury. A recent study now shows that people who stretch before their exercise routines are not exempted from the danger of pulled muscles. MYTH: You should stretch before you work out. Static stretching before exercise can weaken performance, such as sprint speed, in studies. Perform light cardiovascular exercise for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching to prepare your muscles for activity. Myth #5: Stretching Prevents Soreness This one is actually a bit of a mixed bag. Before you start stretching it out—or doing any other warmup, for that matter—check out the most common misconceptions Taylor hears about warming up. Aim to stretch 5 to 10 minutes before and after exercise. But does that mean that static stretching is useless – that it should be abandoned entirely? Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site. So let’s say you start your chest workouts with the bench press. I think it is another reason the ChiRunning Body Looseners are so effective before your training, they are not stretching but joint movement. It can help increase your strength, endurance, and speed, according to this comprehensive 4-week study on dynamic warm-ups. It’s true that if you are participating in any physical activity you may want to stretch more because you are putting your muscles through stress. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Before we get into answering these questions, it’s important to understand the two main types. Experts have flip-flopped on static stretching (those moves you hold for long periods of time) for decades. The problem, however, is that none of them are true – at least as they relate to static stretching before working out. Stretching after exercise, magic or myth? Now, if you haven’t been warming up properly before, this may sound like a lot of sets to do before your actual workout…. You Should Always Perform Static Stretches Before Exercising Most people believe this stretching myth, even though it’s been proven time and time again to be untrue. When you sit on the ground and reach for your toes the first time you may not be able to reach. Myth: Always stretch before your workout Fact: Do the right type of stretches before your workout. Stretching to increase mobility should be done as a separate workout. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the gym? The truth is, there is no exact dosage of time that you should be holding your stretch. After each attempt to touch your toes, you will get closer, this is because your tolerance of the stretch has improved—not because you have longer hamstrings. From a logical perspective, tissue stiffness and a lack in range of motion (ROM) both contribute to injury, and static … You always want to do a little moving around before you go into a static stretch session so that the muscles can get warmed up and are much easier to get a good stretch on. Still, even in these cases, static stretching will be more effective if it is done after the exercise, not before. What is on the table here is static stretching, where you stretch out muscles while your body is at rest. Well, based on this 2007 study on how stretching impacts muscle power production and activation, researchers concluded that it had absolutely no effect on either one. Myth – Stretching Before Exercising Prevents Injuries By Dr. John Amundson, PT As a Physical Therapist, I get a lot of questions about stretching. Perhaps you were part of a sports team in your school years, back when stretching was a priority before practice started. MYTHBUSTER: This type of warm-up—known as static stretching—may … These are: Static and Dynamic. If you’re like many guys, you might start out by doing a little bit of stretching. researchers believe they have debunked a myth about the perceived importance of stretching before jogging hundreds of millions of joggers around the world perform static stretching exercises before going for a jog it is a daily ritual that can be seen in parks and streets everywhere however researchers from la trobe university in melbourne australia say there is no evidence to show that stretching improves … So, in short, next time you get to the gym, feel free to skip all of the static stretching that you usually start with. This is because stretching unwarm muscles can lead to pulled muscles and muscle weakness. MYTH. Again, this makes me think of my high school gym class. Apparently, it’s not that simple. It’s important to stretch to maintain healthy joints and have appropriate mobility for physical activity. stretching You’re a PT – nice. Exercise Myth #1: You must stretch before you exercise We often hear that it is important to stretch before exercise. Myth #2 Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport. Fact: A study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine states that stretching before exercise doesn't necessarily prevent injury. researchers used the results from 5 controlled studies, researchers concluded that it had absolutely no effect on either one, 2010 study on Australian football players. Nope – at least not according to a 2010 study on Australian football players which concluded that static stretching did not aid muscle recovery at all, nor did it impact post-training soreness. Instead of stretching before a workout, do a light warm-up. It is commonly believed that stretching will help to reduce post exercise muscle soreness also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Athletes of a certain age were warned to stretch their muscles before exerting themselves to avoid a debilitating pull or injury. Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak. Yes, but what’s crucial is knowing how to stretch properly. Fact: The thinking goes that loosening your muscles up pre-workout will make you nice and limber, thus minimizing the chance of any muscle tears or pulls, but a 2007 study published in the journal Research in Sports Medicine debunked that notion. Myth – Stretching Before Exercising Prevents Injuries By Dr. John Amundson, PT As a Physical Therapist, I get a lot of questions about stretching. Stretching provides many benefits to your body and general well-being. The first question here is why do you stretch? Instead you should focus on stretching consistently, not just before or after an exercise. But intense stretching can lead to even more muscle damage and pain if you aren’t careful! Let’s take a closer look at what stretching is, when to do it, and debunk 3 of the most common myths about stretching. myth #1: stretching before workout prevents injury Once upon a time, stretching before workout or exercise was considered essential to prepare the body and decrease the possibility of injury. Myth #4: Stretching Before A Workout Prevents Injury This myth is wrong! You may have grown up hearing this one, but it can actually do you more harm than good. What if stretching before your workouts provided little to no actual benefit? Stretching can take anywhere from 15–60 seconds. MYTH #4 Doing long, slow stretches before exercise can help prevent injury. A recent study now A recent study challenged that old, vague admonition to stretch before exercise. Copyright © 2020 University of Utah Health, For All U of U Health Patients & Visitors, DNV GL Public Information Policy Statement. Eon Jarvis, DPT, OCS, a physical therapist with University of Utah Health says some stretching rules may be stretching the truth. It is simply a widespread myth that it helps that has been promoted by fitness instructors and personal trainers simply because they were told it was a good idea. Warm up by walking before cardio or doing light weights before intense training, and do stretch after a workout. Copyright © 2020 Caliber Fitness Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apparently, it’s not that simple. Static stretching is an ineffective way to warm up, as it sends an inhibitory signal to your muscles. Stretching is sometimes avoided entirely. orthopedic injury Get weekly emails of the latest news from HealthFeed. In fact, this is the warm-up protocol that I personally follow, and I whole-heartedly recommend that you give it a try too. Stretching will lengthen your muscle tissues. pain. Author: Fact: There is also the misconception that because it isn’t ideal to perform static stretches before a workout, that this type of stretching is “bad.”. Dating back to the early 1980s, the practice of static stretching before exercise was widely believed to prevent or reduce the risk of injury, and to promote performance. Stretching is about increasing the tissue length. In 2006, researchers used the results from 5 controlled studies to conclude that static stretching made no difference to the frequency or likelihood of exercise-related injuries, across a variety of specific injury types and muscle groups. Ok, so now that we’ve hopefully established that many of the traditional benefits don’t apply, what are we left with? Find a doctor or location close to you so you can get the health care you need, when you need it, 50 North Medical Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84132. This is because you want your muscles to be warmed up before you do static stretching – so post-exercise is the way to go if you participate in any sports that require flexibility. The myth is that if you exercise too intensely, you end up burning carbohydrates instead of fat. Stretching after exercise, magic or myth? This will put your muscles through the full range of motion that you will be working them in, and properly prime you for the later, heavy sets. Static stretching before exercising is not recommended as it might weaken your muscle and impair athletic performance. The most likely reason is that holding the stretch tires out your muscles. First, we were all supposed to bend, hold and repeat before we even thought about running , lifting weights or biking. However, this is actually a myth. This probably includes some basic, static stretches for the muscle groups that you are going to be exercising that day. These stretches will not only keep muscles loose but also can increase range of motion and improve body awareness. And it’s a good way to help focus on particularly tight areas in your body. Derek Carter, a Manhattan Beach, California-based personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, believes in doing dynamic stretches to warm up for a workout and static stretches to recover afterward. MYTH #4 Doing long, slow stretches before exercise can help prevent injury. People are often advised to stretch before working out as it elongates the muscles and helps reduce the chances of injuries and curbs soreness after exercise. Hundreds of millions of joggers around the world perform static stretching exercises before going for a jog. Will static stretching make you stronger, helping you lift heavier weights? Myth #1: You should always stretch before you start your workout. 4 of 14 Fact: Stretching loosens your tendons, and makes muscles feel weaker and less steady, according to a new study. Myth No. MYTH #1: YOU ONLY NEED TO STRETCH BEFORE OR AFTER A WORKOUT, NOT BOTH Fact: It’s important to stretch before and after a workout. And there’s some truth to that: Performing static stretches—reaching and holding in one position—is not recommended and has even been shown to hurt workout performance. It's the most dangerous type of myth because there's a kernel of truth in it, Hutchinson said. When it comes to stretching, many of us choose to neglect it after a hard workout, but how much difference does it really make and am I wasting my time if I bother? There are pro and anti-stretching arguments, with staunch support on both sides, but the confusion about stretching comes down to the fact that many confuse “stretching” with “warming up”. What you should be doing is called ‘dynamic stretching’ – and you should be doing it for all of the key muscle groups that you will be training that day. Myth 2: Stretching before exercise will prevent injury. Myth 5: Stretching Before Exercise Prevents Injury This particular myth is contentious. Recent studies suggest that stretching doesn’t prevent injuries, and may even cause some. exercise Stretching Before/After Exercise Reduces Muscle Soreness. in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research researched the effect of static stretching upon long distance running in females and found that while static stretching increased women’s flexibility and range of motion, it had little impact upon their endurance or long distance performance. While a good stretch session after a taxing workout might give your muscles and joints some immediate relief, research shows that static stretching, whether done before or after training, has little effect on preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Guidelines on who needs to do what kind of stretching and when should be individualized, depending on It’s a widely believed that static stretching — the kind that involves holding a movement, such as bending over and touching your toes— makes your muscles more flexible, primes them for activity and reduces the chance of injury. It is a daily ritual that can be seen in parks and streets everywhere. Myth #2: You Should Stretch Before Your Workout. The … Whenever you exercise in a way that specifically involves flexibility, you should do some appropriate static stretches. Hold until you feel comfortable then move onto the next stretch. MYTH #3: The longer you hold a stretch, the better. In fact, some studies have associated stretching before exercising with an increased risk of injury. False. There is no evidence to back up that claim. “Stretching can be an important component of your physical activity and well-being. Always stretch, right? While stretching you want to feel moderate discomfort, but not pain. Do you stretch before lifting weights? Myth #1: You should stretch before your workout. Myth #1: You should never static stretch before a workout. Not very likely. Myth: Stretching helps your body recover faster after a workout. Does stretching before exercise affect performance? Thirty years later and after volumes of research, confusion still exists whether it offers potential benefits before exercise. help reduce the chance of your getting hurt. But do we really know how long we should stretch for? Do you find that it helps with your workouts? #7 - Stretch before you exercise The most efficient time to stretch is after your exercise when your muscles are warm, especially if you are working on flexibility. When you sit on the ground and reach for your toes the first time you may not be able to reach. Myth #1: Perform static stretches before you work out to prevent injury Many of us learned to perform static stretching prior to workouts. Yep, you can actually stretch too much. You don’t need to warm up Gabby Gonzales. This is because you want your muscles to be warmed up before you do static stretching – so post-exercise is the way to go if you participate in any sports that require flexibility. If you’re like many guys, you might start out by doing a little bit of stretching. For example, imagine the simple hamstring test. In truth, some studies suggest that pre-exercise stretching can actually increase the changes of your injury, since stretch destabilizes your muscle fibers. You can safely do away with it. But what if that advice wasn’t actually very good advice at all? For example, imagine the simple hamstring test. Myth: Stretching prevents injuries. A recent study challenged that old, vague admonition to stretch before exercise. Let's learn the truth behind some of the most common fitness myths so that you can get the best of your workout: Is it necessary to stretch before a workout? Myth #2: You Shouldn’t Stretch Before Your Workout, Only After. While it is still commonly recommended to stretch after exercise, it may not be as protective as we thought to stretch before exercise. 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