Is the pre-workout stretch becoming a thing of the past? If the recent studies are something to go by, you may as well give the usual stretch a miss.
Researchers from the Austin State University tested stretching’s impact on a series of strength workouts performed by 17 healthy young men and concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may feel weaker and less stable during your workout, reports an American daily.
In a second study from Croatia, University of Zagreb researchers analysed 104 studies on stretching and its effect on strength, power and “explosive muscular performance.” The study, published last month in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, concluded that stretching, or at least static stretching, as a warm-up routine “should generally be avoided.” Their findings essentially boil down to the conclusion that “stretched muscles are, in general, substantially less strong,” says the American daily.
Prior research by Maryland-based orthopedic surgeon Dan Pereles, MD, from 2011, also shows that runners who stretched before their workouts saw no more protection from injuries than runners who didn’t stretch. Still, rather than abandon stretching altogether, recent trends suggest that a technique called “active isolated stretching” might protect athletes from injuries better than traditional bend-and-hold techniques. Developed by trainer Aaron Mattes and used by massage therapists, physical therapists, and coaches, the technique emphasises gentle, fluid repetitions of two to three second holds with more repetitions.