Stretches may not be the best warm ups

Stretches may not be the best warm ups

May 24, 20232 min read

There’s no doubt that stretching can have great benefits for your body. For years, it has been a critical part of warming up before doing any physical activity. It feels good to stretch out your hamstrings and quads before going for a jog to warm up those muscles. But did you know that recent studies have shown that static stretching has resulted in a decrease in performance, and even increase the risk of injury?

So, what is static stretching?

Static stretching is a type of stretching where you hold a stretch in one position for 20 seconds or more. This is mainly performed to increase flexibility and improve range of motion. However, these effects are seen only after 3 - 4 weeks of regular stretching. Recent studies have shown that static stretching has negative effects on your performance!

Holding a static stretch will relax your muscles, which acutely causes:

  • Reduction in elasticity of muscles

  • Reduced muscle activation

  • Reduced muscle reflex

  • Increased risk of injury

With that being said, static stretching is amazing for cool-downs where the muscles need to relax after workouts or jogs.

So then, what should we do before activity?

The best type of warm-up that you can do is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching involves movements that mimic specific movements in your sport but are performed in a controlled manner. Examples of dynamic stretches are swinging your legs, high knees, shaking out wrists, shoulder rotations, and circles.

These movements help to increase circulation to your joints and muscles, which in turn increases muscle activation, range of motion, power and ultimately, reduces your risk of injury. So instead of static stretches, try doing more dynamic, movement-based stretches that are specific to your sport or activity.

If you ever need help with stretching, have any more questions, or just want help with learning how to perform dynamic stretches, feel free to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, and they will be happy to help!


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