Recently, the New York Times indicated that through the latest evidence, static stretching (stretching while the body is at rest) does not prevent injuries as so commonly thought. Based on two recent studies, this type of stretching can actually impede strength and quickness in some individuals.
Many people mistake that stretching will warm muscles up prior to a workout. Static stretching alone cannot warm tissues up, and instead may create a “limp muscle” that cannot work as hard. The common analogy for this phenomenon is that the muscle tissue is similar to a rubber-band. Static stretching creates a tissue that acts as if it has been over-stretched. The band cannot snap back as quickly following prolonged static stretching as compared to after dynamic stretching, where movement is used to stretch muscles and the last position is not held.
This being said, static stretching does have its place, it’s just a matter of understanding how to incorporate the right amount and type into your workout routine. A “dynamic” stretching routine can both warm muscles up by increasing blood flow and create increased flexibility in the muscles during this period. Up until recently, dynamic stretches have mostly been employed with the elite athletic population prior to events or intense training sessions. However, the average individual can benefit from these dynamic stretches as well, especially if monitor by a certified health care professional.
Guest Blog by: Neoma Palmer, DPT