Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stretching Addendum

This comes courtesy of Ken Stone's masterstrack.com blog:
This fall, a new U.S. study about stretching points away from the "static" technique in which you hold a series of stretches for 20 to 30 seconds each before exercising. This research builds on past studies, notably first coming from Australia, questioning the practice of stretching before workouts.

In the September study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercise scientists at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas found typical stretches for the hamstrings (back of thigh) and quadriceps (front of the thigh) actually may reduce leg force during a workout that follows.

The subjects in the study were college athletes. They were divided into three groups that performed static stretches, ballistic (bouncing) stretches or no stretches. Both stretching groups tested lower for overall leg strength. Other studies even show that workout power is diminished even in the opposite leg not being stretched.

"Developing flexibility is important for reducing sports injury," said UNLV study co-author Bill Holcomb, who also directs the university's Sports Injury Research Center, "but the time to stretch is after, not before, performances."

In fact, the researchers recommend that coaches skip pre-game and pre-practice stretches in favor of a "whole-body warm-up."

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