Tag Archives: dynamic stretching

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, et.al. 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, et.al. 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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Dynamic Warmup is the Most Effective Pre-Activity Strategy

5 Apr

You can add another study to the overwhelming and growing mountain of research supporting dynamic (movement-based) warm-up — and not static stretching — before engaging in competitive power sports.

This study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, sought to compare and quantify the effects of static stretching and dynamic warm-up on jump performance in NCAA DI female college volleyball players.

As expected, dynamic warm-up was found to result in a significantly higher level of jump performance than static stretching, especially when performed closer to the time of competition.  Athletes’ subsequent jump performance was better when the dynamic warm-up was done within 5-10 minutes preceding competition compared to 25-30 minutes prior to competition.

Hundreds of studies corroborate dynamic warm-up’s similar impact on strength, power, speed, and agility performance.  Athletes, coaches, trainers… get with the program.  Improve performance by eliminating pre-activity static stretching and implementing a dynamic warm-up that reflects the demands and movement patterns of the activity – before workouts, practices, and games.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Is Flexibility Overrated?

24 Nov

USA Basketball Senior National Team Training Day 1Is there a relationship between flexibility and athletic performance?  And, if there is a relationship, is more necessarily better?

Flexibility and Performance

There’s a difference between movement quantity and movement quality.  Speed, strength, power, balance, and stability are qualitative aspects of movement.  For functional movements, i.e., sports performance, quality of movement is more important than quantity.

Most elite athletes have extraordinary levels of strength, power, endurance, or balance.  And, while there are elite athletes with exceptional flexibility, there are others with only average flexibility.  Ultimately, it’s less about the extent of your range of motion (ROM) and more about how you use (what you do with) what you have.

The average person probably has the necessary range of motion to execute most sports movements.  Their deficiencies usually have little to do with range of motion.  The issue is typically attributable to strength, power, mobility, or coordination, not flexibility.

Iashvili (1983) found that active (dynamic, movement-based) ROM and not passive (static) ROM was more highly correlated with sports performance.  Arguably, any further passive static ROM developed through passive static stretching will not provide any extra benefit.

There is a considerable body of research that discourages pre-activity static stretching — due to its potential to reduce strength and power output — in favor of dynamic warmup.  Studies show that flexibility in the muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) is related to slower running and diminished running economy.  Interestingly, it has been shown that stiffer leg muscles in endurance athletes may make them more economical in terms of oxygen consumption at sub-max speeds.

Flexibility and Injury Prevention

The relationship between flexibility and injury prevention is mixed, at best.  Two studies involving soccer and hockey players revealed that players with more flexible groins do not suffer fewer groin injuries, while players with stronger adductors had less strains.  There is actually more evidence to support that lateral imbalances in strength and stability are a better predictor of injury than lack of flexibility.

There are some studies suggesting that musculoskeletal tightness may be associated with an increased likelihood of muscle strain injury.  Other studies, including Knapik, J.J. et al. 1992, found that subjects in the least flexible and most flexible quintiles were equally likely to get injured — 2.2-2.5 times more than subjects in the middle quintile (average flexibility).

The reality is that sports injuries are produced by a lot of different factors, and flexibility (or lack thereof) is only one of them.  It would be inappropriate to assign a level to the importance of flexibility as it relates to injury prevention.

For most athletes in most sports, there is probably little to be gained by increasing flexibility or range of motion.  Athletes are better off developing additional strength and stability within a particular range of motion.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get With the Program: Stop Static Stretching

31 Jan

nostaticstretch1[1]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, et.al. 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, et.al. 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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Dynamic Warmup is the Most Effective Pre-Activity Strategy

4 Dec

revwads18cut-1[1]You can add another study to the overwhelming and growing mountain of research supporting dynamic warm-up — and not static stretching — before engaging in competitive power sports.

This study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, sought to compare and quantify the effects of static stretching and dynamic warm-up on jump performance in NCAA DI female college volleyball players.

As expected, dynamic warm-up was found to result in a significantly higher level of jump performance than static stretching, especially when performed closer to the time of competition.  Athletes’ subsequent jump performance was better when the dynamic warm-up was done within 5-10 minutes preceding competition compared to 25-30 minutes prior to competition.

Hundreds of studies corroborate dynamic warm-up’s similar impact on strength, power, speed, and agility performance.  Athletes, coaches, trainers… get with the program.  Improve performance by eliminating pre-activity static stretching and implementing a dynamic warm-up that reflects the movement patterns of the activity.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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