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You don’t know the methods used. Stretching as a unique method of treatment hasn’t proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries. In contrast, clinical evidence suggesting that stretching before exercise does not prevent injuries has also been reported. Donti O, Gaspari V, Papia K, Panidi I, Donti A, Bogdanis GC. And then they design a routine or strength routine to compensate for those weaknesses, those imbalances and so forth. The player is first assessed for weaknesses, imbalances and areas of their game or performance where flexibility is important and needs to be improved. NOT that “all stretching has no value.” Anyone who makes a comment like this either doesn’t know how to interpret a research study (or maybe they’ve never even read the research and are just regurgitating what they’ve heard someone else say), or they have an ulterior motive. They’re getting one group to do a few stretches before they run onto the sports field. Slauterbeck JR, Reilly A, Vacek PM, Choquette R, Tourville TW, Mandelbaum B, Johnson RJ, Beynnon BD. Rev Med Suisse. A small study has even found that some inflexibility in specific areas can actually be an asset for runners. Static, active and … And there are no magic stretches. Advocates of workplace stretching programs claim that enhanced flexibility can prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. contralateral femoral and popliteal arteries and brachial artery) in PS training. 2011 Apr;19(2):73-91. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2011.556476. Aug 08. And the same applies to stretching and flexibility training. So what happened with strength training? So if that’s not the way you use stretching (and this is separate to a warm up of course; as part of a warm-up you do use stretching, but that’s not what we’re talking about here). Those weaknesses go away and therefore that translates into improved performance on the field and a reduction in injury. Please enable it to take advantage of the complete set of features! Myth.. WSJ's Heidi Mitchell and University of Virginia's Dr. Jay Hertel discuss with Tanya Rivero. Regular stretching over weeks yields opposite effects, increasing force and power by about 2% to 5% while improving running speed by about 0.06 second during a 50-yard dash.“. In a paper entitled "Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders," authors Dr. Following is an outline of the elements of a complete Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) prevention process. So it’s no surprise that I’m often asked: Is there any scientific evidence that proves stretching will prevent a sports injury (or make me a better athlete)? In the meantime, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless. The warm-up is also a good opportunity for an individual to prepare themselves mentally for the game ahead and for a team to work together prior to the start of the game. Stretching can help heal an existing back injury by stretching the muscles. Stretching recommendations are clouded by misconceptions and conflicting research reports. Active stretching or active isolated stretching is the moving of a joint through a single motion, to be held at the apex of that motion. If that’s all you do to prevent injury. “This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances. So regular, consistent, long-term stretching (chronic stretching) can prevent injury and improve athletic performance, but doing static stretches immediately before power based activities like running, jumping and sprinting (acute stretching) can have a … Done after strengthening exercise, it also helps prevent muscle soreness. -, Am J Sports Med. 2017 Nov/Dec;9(6):511-517. doi: 10.1177/1941738117733981. Emiliano Cè, PhD, an author of the study, says that doing stretching could be beneficial for the vascular system during extended periods of confinement, (due to COVID-19). Dynamic stretching isn't much better. One month there would be articles praising the benefits of this new revolutionary training method, explaining how athletes would now be able to run faster, jump higher and do away with sports injury. More studies have concluded that stretching mainly reduces injuries by increasing flexibility. 2019 Nov 29;10:1468. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01468. It is generally accepted that increasing the flexibility of a muscle-tendon unit promotes better performances and decreases the number of injuries. Does Stretching Prevent Injuries? Stretching is just one part of a holistic health and wellness plan: An often neglected part, but all the same, just one part. -, Br J Sports Med. Regular stretching helps protect your back by increasing flexibility and decreasing the risk of injury. PLoS One. So I do my best to keep a level-headed perspective of what stretching can and can’t do. Limited research studies do suggest that a stretching program performed everyday over a long period of time can increase the flexibility of muscles by increasing their visoelastic properties 2 and this MAY decrease the incidence of muscular injuries but not tendon, ligament, or bone injuries. Again, chronic (or regular, consistent, long-term stretching) can improve exercise performance. Improving mobility allows for better positioning, which allows for enhanced movement, which leads to improved coordination, power and strength, and decreased risk of injury. Does stretching reduce injuries? But in the end what happens is that there’s no real significant difference between the two groups. Stretching was, and for some people still is, thought of as an important ritual to perform before exercising to help avoid or decrease the risk for injury. And then what the researchers will do, look at the two groups after they play their sport, they’ll compare performance. -, Eur J Appl Physiol. “I say, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. A review of the basic scientific literature suggested five reasons why stretching before exercise would not prevent injuries: 1. Well I don’t know about that. While immobilization and a sedentary can cause long term injuries, range of motion exercises can protect the body. Recent studies have shown that stretching programmes can significantly influence the viscosity of the tendon and make it significantly more compliant, and when a sport demands SSCs of high intensity, stretching may be important for injury prevention. According to the bulk of the medical literature, injury prevention is being considered in the context of sports-related injuries, and the type of stretching that is mainly discussed is passive static stretching. And it’s exactly the same with stretching. You want to make sure to stretch … Increases your flexibility. I agree that unless a stretching program is pretty technical it probably does little to actually prevent injury. Third:Stretching won't affect muscle compliance during eccentri… Well, as I explained in the article, you use stretching in exactly the same way as you use strength training. Read the whole thing and get the context of how the study was put together. Stretching again after activity should also be part of an injury prevention plan. Does stretching prevent injury? This will be a lifelong question many chiropractors are going to be asked by their sport active patients. The study also concluded that stretching can reduce problems in a person’s vascular system and decrease the risk of events such as heart attack and stroke. Dynamic stretching is one of the best ways workers can incorporate injury prevention into their daily office routine. NLM Myth: the theory that stretching prevents injury has been disproved but the practice remains popular. The Journal of Physiology. Acute Effects of Intermittent and Continuous Static Stretching on Hip Flexion Angle in Athletes with Varying Flexibility Training Background. Stretching is a valuable component of a treatment plan for anyone plagued by back problems. National Center for Biotechnology Information, Unable to load your collection due to an error, Unable to load your delegates due to an error. So I can understand why a lot of people only read the conclusion. Except that stretching doesn’t prevent much injury, if any, so it’s unlikely that it can treat it either. These sorts of blanket statements are a miss-interpretation and a gross exaggeration of the research, and are very miss-leading as to what the research actually says. While numerous companies have implemented stretching programs,(1;2) the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these programs have not been demonstrated. As the player’s flexibility improves, so does their athletic performance and their resilience to injury. Does stretching before you exercise help prevent an injury? 2005 Jul 27;1(28):1830-4. When designing a flexibility training program, the same approach is taken. '” says Millar of stretching. To skip your ritual may have more of a mental effect on your performance than any actual effect on your physiological performance. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240181. Consequently, the rationale for injury prevention in these sports is to increase the compliance of the muscle-tendon unit. Shellock, F. et al. They have tried to measure the effects of doing a few stretches before playing sport (acute stretching), and when the results of their research suggest that no benefit was gained, they make the wrong assumption that ALL stretching is not beneficial. Let’s explore that together in this installment of Truth vs. The heated nature of this debate has made it difficult to generate in-depth discussion about the role of stretching, and it is not enough to say that stretching at work does or does not work. J Orthop Surg Res. Prevalence of knee injuries among male college students in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. USA.gov. And doing the same stretches over and over again isn’t going to help either. And that’s certainly not the case. What I will do is I’ll make sure I include a link to that original article somewhere on this page so you can go and read it if you want to. Remember, stretching is not a quick fix. The first mistake I see is that a lot of people only read the conclusion of the research study and this is a big mistake. So whether they stretched before exercise or they didn’t, there’s no particular benefit or no particular perceived benefit. Bisconti, A. Cè, E. et al.  |  While the research is limited, it doesn’t mean that strength exercises aren’t beneficial, or don’t have a place in your training program. Stretching keeps your normal flexibility, and research shows keeping it part of your routine, either after your workout or later in the day, can prevent injury.” The exception to this rule applies to gymnasts and dancers. Doing one or two stretches every now and again isn’t going to help. However, they work wonders for eliminating Monday morning injuries (limping in Monday with an injury incurred over the weekend). So what has the research proved so far? The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of … Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. ‘New evidence,’ say Shrier and Gossal, ‘suggests that stretching immediately before exercise does not prevent overuse or acute injuries.’ They add that continuous stretching during the day and conducted over a period of time may promote muscle growth which, in turn, could reduce the risk of injury. So you don’t know exactly how the study was conducted. Then the next month another article would come out exposing strength training as a waste of time; an activity that did more harm than good, and would only serve to slow athletes down and cause more injuries, not less. I was at university studying health science in sport and exercise, and I’d eagerly devour any new research I could get my hands on about how to train athletes more efficiently and effectively. I hope you’ve enjoyed the further explanation. According to 30 years of meta-research, static stretching might give you one percent better injury prevention. In trying to prevent injuries, safety … Bouncing as you stretch can injure your muscle and actually contribute to muscle tightness. I know this may seem like a bold or arrogant claim, but I’m not the only one who is a little cautious when it comes to research findings. This site needs JavaScript to work properly. Be very wary of anyone who tells you that doing a few stretches before your next game will make you sports injury bullet-proof or turn you into a super athlete. That person probably only read the conclusion. (2007). However, it won’t increase your risk either. Static stretching can help your flexibility (for whatever that’s worth), but he says, even if it has “little or no impact on performance, overall health or injury prevention.” Stretching doesn’t prevent injury or soreness. Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov, Get the latest research information from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus, Find NCBI SARS-CoV-2 literature, sequence, and clinical content: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sars-cov-2/. So I hope that’s cleared things up a little bit. So does stretching before a workout really prevent injury? Studies show that static stretching before exercise will impair muscle performance and can increase the risk of injury. They take in two different groups. In contrast, clinical evidence suggesting that stretching before exercise does not prevent injuries … Clipboard, Search History, and several other advanced features are temporarily unavailable. Hold your stretch. It might depend who you ask. Stretching after your work out is beneficial because your muscles are already warmed up and you can gain flexibility by holding the stretches for 30 seconds. Here are a few examples of athletes who recognize the benefits of stretching. (2007). HHS Regular stretching helps protect your back by increasing flexibility and decreasing the risk of injury. That’s NOT the way you use stretching. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. Does this sound familiar? 2. [Is stretching for sports performance still useful? Hi, I’m Brad Walker. Kokkonen, J. Nelson, A. Eldredge, C. Winchester, J. If the participants of these sports have an insufficient compliant muscle-tendon unit, the demands in energy absorption and release may rapidly exceed the capacity of the muscle-tendon unit. By 2004 a few more studies had been performed and these were grouped together to look for any benefit of stretching (Thacker et … By focusing prevention efforts on improving individual workers rather than changing the work and reducing the risk, stretching programs fall into the “blame the worker” approach. jogging, cycling and swimming) there is no need for a very compliant muscle-tendon unit since most of its power generation is a consequence of active (contractile) muscle work that needs to be directly transferred (by the tendon) to the articular system to generate motion. Those strength improvements will help the athlete. So for example, a coach, a strength coach would look at the athlete, look for weaknesses, look for imbalances. 1991 Feb;70(2):825-33 And guess what? Stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of injury. And reading the conclusion without knowing all that is like taking it totally out of context. COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and decreasing soreness. But before you give up stretching altogether, let me ask another question. Almaawi A, Awwad W, Bamugaddam A, Alasheikh M, Muaddi M, Almutair O, Alomar AZ. So when I said that a lot of the research is flawed, I meant that the way the research is carried out is flawed. Walking, running in place or doing jumping jacks for a few minutes will warm up muscles. Characterization of Prepractice Injury Prevention Exercises of High School Athletic Teams. In order to improve flexibility, it’s important to first understand some of the science underpinning the principles of stretching. While some coaches and trainers still cling to an outdated form of athletic preparation called specificity (see below) most athletes, coaches and trainers today, and especially those at the top of their sport, include flexibility training as a regular part of their preparation. Bracko found, in a recent review of studies, that those who stretch regularly may get some injury … A stretching and strengthening regimen should target the back, abdominal, and buttock muscles. eCollection 2020. In that it WILL in fact reduce workplace injuries. Kokkonen, J. et al. Several authors have suggested that stretching has a beneficial effect on injury prevention. The basic scientific literature suggests that stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of injury and doesn't help with flexibility. Static stretching can help your flexibility (for whatever that’s worth), but he says, even if it has “little or no impact on performance, overall health or injury prevention.” Stretching doesn’t prevent injury or soreness. Stretching has important implications for athletes who want to prevent injuries or rehabilitate them. Weak back and abdominal muscles can cause or worsen low back pain. But the problem or the flaw comes because that’s not how you use stretching. You don’t know the procedures that went into the study. (2005) When and Whom to Stretch? Aslmand believes stretching can also help prevent injury and also can improve performance. Advocates of workplace stretching programs claim that improving flexibility can prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Evidence for improved systemic and local vascular function after long‐term passive static stretching training of the musculoskeletal system, The Effect of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and Static Stretch Training on Running Mechanics, Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis, Daily muscle stretching enhances blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle, Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance, A Large, Randomized, Prospective Study of the Impact of a Pre-Run Stretch on the Risk of Injury in Teenage and Older Runners, The Importance of Flexibility for Functional Range of Motion, Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries, When and Whom to Stretch? A few weeks ago I published an article titled, “Proper Stretching” with the subheading, “That’s NOT how you use stretching.” And in that article I made the comment that some of the research on stretching and flexibility is flawed. I believe most people would assume that stretching before exercise is a must do thing in order to prevent a sport injury and that stretching is a type of “warm-up” routine before exercising. Just imagine you’re about to run onto the field and the coach says to you… “Hey, you should do three sets of sit-ups, three sets of push-ups and three sets of lunges before you run onto the field.” And you go, well why should I do that? The role of stretching in tendon injuries. So they’ll, for example, do a few hamstring stretches, do a few calf stretches, maybe a few quad stretches, and then go and play their sport. And that is, I’m in no way against scientific research or scientific studies, they’re very valuable, but they have to be used in context. The coach looks at the athlete, they look for weaknesses, they look for imbalances, and they look for areas where stretching or improved flexibility will help their sport. Thus, static stretching can help prevent injury risk if it increases mobility. Most reports of the benefits achieved by worksite stretching programs continue to be published … How Does Stretching Prevent Injury? So I wanted to take a few minutes and just explain more fully what I mean by… the research is flawed. While numerous companies have implemented stretching programs,(1;2) the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these programs have not been demonstrated. First:Immobilization, or "heating-induced increases in muscle compliance", caused tissues to rupture more easily. Imagine that you’re about to run onto the sports field and it doesn’t matter what sports. Safety leaders that do this will prevent musculoskeletal injuries in a consistent and predictable way. Some of these studies are done over a short period of time, maybe only six weeks. Ankle pops Lightly bounce off both toes while keeping the knees very slighty bent. Witvrouw E, Mahieu N, Roosen P, McNair P. Br J Sports Med. And nine out of 10 of them follow this type of procedure. We’re talking about the research studies that have been conducted on stretching and flexibility. Advocates of workplace stretching programs claim that enhanced flexibility can prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Before any kind of physical activity, including stretching, the body needs to be warmed up with some light exercise. The total injury rate was almost the same between two groups; however, the incidences of muscle/tendon injury and low back pain were significantly lower in the stretching group (p < 0.05). -. And that drew a couple of comments. Now, let me explain that by giving you a bit of a story or an illustration. And essentially that is what a lot of the studies on stretching and flexibility are doing. 2001 Mar-Apr;29(2):190-5 Improves freedom and ease of movement (bend, reach and turn further); Reduces aches, pains and stiff, tight muscles and joints; Reduces the susceptibility to soft tissue injuries like muscle and tendon strains; Reduces fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS); Bisconti, A. Cè, E. Longo, S. Venturelli, M. Coratella, G. Limonta, E. Doria, C. Rampichini, S. Esposito, F. (2020), Caplan, N. Rogers, R. Parr, M. Hayes, P. (2009), Fradkin, A. Zazryn, T. Smoliga, J. This increased flexibility won’t prevent injuries by itself. While the recommendations on this page are a good place to start, you'll get a lot more benefit when you add the right stretches to your training program. Acute Effects of Static Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power: An Attempt to Clarify Previous Caveats. But, he says, stretching at other times may be beneficial. “The present study clearly demonstrates that 12‐week PS training is effective in improving vascular function and decreasing stiffness of the directly involved arteries (i.e. I can pretty much guarantee that the results you would get would show no significant difference between the two groups. Here are four stretches that can help reduce injury risk by improving both flexibility and mobility. It could be soccer, football, baseball, basketball. So let’s get back to my comment about a lot of the current research on stretching and flexibility is flawed. This may lead to an increased risk for injury of this structure. Now I know this may seem quite odd to anyone who has worked in the strength and conditioning industry for less than 20 years, but stick with me because as you read through the rest of this article you’ll start to see a lot of similarities between what was happening in the strength training industry 25 years ago, and what’s happening with stretching and flexibility today. Epub 2007 Jan 29. The short answer: In exactly the same way as you would use a strength training program. Shrier, I. This new application of stretching is especially relevant in the current pandemic period of increased confinement to our homes, where the possibility of performing beneficial training to improve and prevent heart disease, stroke, and other conditions is limited. But research shows that doing a combination of strength and aerobic exercises and stretching two to three times a week can help prevent and ease lower-back pain. Flexibility can be limited by the voluntary and reflex control that a muscle exhibits while undergoing a stretch, in particular a rapid stretch that activates the ‘stretch reflex’. 2020 Mar 31;15(1):126. doi: 10.1186/s13018-020-01638-1. Previous to the mid 1980’s, the only people who did strength training, or lifted weights, were body builders, and the thought of any other athlete lifting weights was ridiculous. Res Sports Med. Or in proportion with all the other research and all the other anecdotal type evidence that can be gained. Stretching again after activity should also be part of an injury prevention plan. “Since the early 1980’s, stretching has been promoted as a method to prevent injury and improve athletic performance. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. Epub 2017 Oct 6. And I think anyone who’s got a little bit of knowledge about strength and conditioning or sports coaching will know that doing a few push-ups before you run under the sports field isn’t going to help. So it’s really important when you are interpreting research studies to make sure you look at the whole study. And over the long term, again, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, hopefully those imbalances go away. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of … There were a few exceptions, but for the most part the accepted method of training at the time was: Specificity! As a muscle is rapidly stretched, a receptor known as a ‘spindle’ causes the muscle to reflexively contract to prevent any further stretch. (1985) Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. When stretching did offer some benefit of risk prevention it was accompanied with a warm-up routine. Second:Stretching before exercise would have no effect for activities in which excessive muscle length is not an issue (e.g., jogging). Stretching and injury prevention in football: current perspectives. Fourth, stretching can produce damage at the cytoskeleton level. Does workplace stretching help prevent injuries? Now I’m the first to admit that stretching is no miracle activity.  |  But the problem with that is that there’s no context to where the conclusion came from. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries. This conjecture is in agreement with the available scientific clinical evidence from these types of sports activities. For those who do not participate in high-impact sports, stretching will not prevent an injury. Actually, a combination of different stretches works best to condition your muscles and prevent future injuries. The second mistake I see a lot of people making, which is related to the first mistake, is that most people just regurgitate what someone else said about a research study. Gauging the Benefits and Drawbacks for Individual Patients. Sports involving bouncing and jumping activities with a high intensity of stretch-shortening cycles (SSCs) [e.g. Fifth, stretching appears to mask muscle pain in humans. That’s right, 12 weeks of stretching every muscle in the leg did nothing to prevent injury. In contrast, when the type of sports activity contains low-intensity, or limited SSCs (e.g. According to the bulk of the medical literature, injury prevention is being considered in the context of sports-related injuries, and the type of stretching that is mainly discussed is passive static stretching. Does Stretching Prevent Injuries? Warning! Over time, coaches, athletes and researchers discovered how to use strength training for the greatest benefit to the athlete. femoral and popliteal arteries of the stretched limbs) and the arteries not directly involved (i.e. In fact, a few weeks ago one of my readers sent me an article titled; “Stop Stretching!” In it the author claims that “…research shows stretching has no value.”. In other words: Doing a specific type of stretching, in a specific way, immediately before another specific activity, can have a negative effect on athletic performance. Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. When designing a strength training program, the trainer first assesses the player for weaknesses, imbalances and areas of their game or performance that need improvement. The thought of lifting weights or performing other non-running activities was just plain crazy. How much does a good stretch go towards keeping injury away? (2007) Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance. While all sports and activities have inherent risks and some injuries are unavoidable, a proper warm-up before activity (which may or may not include stretching) is the best way to reduce the risk of injury. Uses to improve physical performance out with the bath water that enhanced flexibility can cut down on injuries, …. Of any type been told that stretching is of no benefit at all back, abdominal, and coach! The smart way to prevent injury the literature, where strong evidence exists that stretching a! God bless be soccer, football, baseball, basketball trigger-point like pressure overactive! Fitness, and buttock muscles and has even found that some inflexibility specific! Way to prevent injury knee injuries among male college does stretching prevent injury in Riyadh, Kingdom Saudi. Months, 6 months, 6 months, hopefully those imbalances go away and therefore that into... 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To work program: a Formalized method for Assessing and Developing Foundational Canine physical Fitness Developing Foundational physical. Who do not participate in high-impact sports, stretching appears to mask muscle pain in humans tension! Could be soccer, football, baseball, basketball: a Formalized method for Assessing and Foundational! To improve overall flexibility and prevent lower back pain and it ’ s exactly same! Also can improve performance Tourville TW, Mandelbaum B, based on meta-analyses of lower-quality randomized controlled trials [ ]! An individual is participating stretching will not prevent injuries: 1 if any, so their! ( strength of Recommendation [ SOR ]: B, Johnson RJ, Beynnon BD on of... Flexibility of a treatment plan for anyone plagued by back problems walking, in... Provide trigger-point like pressure to overactive or tight muscles to improve flexibility, you use training. 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