Get With the Program: Stop Static Stretching

9 Jun

As I travel off-site to work with athletes, teams, schools, and organizations, I continue to be amazed by how much static stretching is still being done prior to workouts, training, practices, and games.

People… the evidence-based research is overwhelmingStatic stretching decreases explosive force and power production.  Stretching prior to activity because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is not good enough anymore.  You’re doing more harm than good.

In their study, Static Stretching Can Impair Explosive Performance for At Least 24 Hours, Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Haddad, report that, “static stretching of the lower limbs and hip muscles had a negative effect on explosive performance up to 24 hours poststretching…” and “the positive effects of dynamic (movement based) stretching on explosive performance seem to persist for 24 hours.”

Paradisis, concluded that “static stretching significantly negates sprinting performance and explosive power in adolescent boys and girls.”  (Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Sprint and Jump Performance in Boys and Girls)

Lowery and colleagues warn that “Coaches and athletes may be at risk for decreased performance after a static stretching bout,” in a study that examines the effects of static stretching on run performance.  The authors previously demonstrated that static stretching was associated with a decrease in running economy and distance run.

Your pre-activity warmup should be dynamic (movement based) and mimic the movement patterns of your activity, starting at a low-intensity level and gradually increasing.  Stretched, elongated muscles — resulting from static stretching — will not prepare them to generate the force and power required for training or sport-specific activity.

Coaches and trainers… get with the program.  Most athletes aren’t going to be aware of this information unless you educate them.  It’s not their fault if they don’t know the potential risks of pre-activity static stretching, but it is yours.  You are their source of information and guidance.  Do your homework.


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