Can Stretching Help Postexercise Recovery?

16 Oct

429_2[1]Stretching has been a part of most athletes’ training — as a warm-up activity — for as long as I can remember, and certainly well before that.  As stated in previous blog posts, current research does not support a rationale for pre-activity (workout, practice, game) stretching, as it loosens and elongates muscles and does not adequately or effectively prepare them for force generation (in fact, pre-activity stretching reduces strength and power output in the short-term).

Studies have shown that pre-exercise stretching is not effective in reducing postexercise soreness, but what about postexercise stretching?  Can it be considered a valid recovery strategy?

In short, maybe not.  A new study in the Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that “The emphasis on dynamic movements rather than static stretch positions is important for recovery…”  The authors also determined that “Stretching before or after exercising does not confer protection from muscle soreness.”

Light, low-intensity activity that assimilates the movements of the activity, itself — a gradual, dynamic, movement-oriented cool-down — may be preferable for postexercise recovery.


Your thoughts?


2 Responses to “Can Stretching Help Postexercise Recovery?”

  1. garveyjrw November 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM #

    Well stated. I became convinced of the pointlessness and even potential harm of stretching some time ago.

    • Brian Lebo November 9, 2013 at 10:21 PM #

      Thanks for the feedback. I guess I’m still surprised by how many athletes, teams, etc. continue to incorporate static stretching into their pre-activity regimen, despite volumes of literature to the contrary.

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