Static Stretching: Is It Good (or Bad) for You?
To static stretch or not to static stretch? That is the question. It is one of those questions that comes up all the time, and everyone seems to have an opinion on static stretching, which is when you extend your muscle to the end of its range of motion and then hold it, according to azcentral.com. It can be confusing, but fortunately a new study helps shed some light on the issue.
The study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, is a collective review of hundreds of other studies, and claims that static stretching isn’t as bad as we all think. Published by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the research takes in to consideration not only the exercise habits of professionals, but also the exercise habits of everyday gym goers.
The key to the study proves to be the idea that static stretching is not bad, when strategically placed into your workout. Researchers of the study said that many of the problems regarding static stretching occur because people are stretching without warming up first.
Researchers in the release say that both static and dynamic stretches should be included in a full warm-up. However, the warm-up should also include an aerobic component. This longer warm-up is something that not enough people use, and can have serious benefits in avoiding injury.
This idea was reiterated by Dr. Goran Markovic, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Zagreb, in an article in The New York Times. “We can now say for sure that static stretching alone is not recommended as an appropriate form of warm-up. A warm-up should improve performance,” Markovic said in the article.
So the key to static stretching is remembering to never static stretch before you are properly warmed up. Because of this, it may be beneficial to static and dynamic stretch at different points throughout your workout. According to Breaking Muscle, “While dynamic stretching (stretching through movement) is probably better pre-exercise, static stretching many well be the better choice for post-exercise.”
Taking time to do a good warm-up, and making sure your muscles are properly ready, will make all the difference in your routine. A good way to start your warm-up, according to Men’s Fitness, is with foam rolling. When you roll out, make sure to hit all of your major muscle groups such as your calves, quads, groin, IT band, glutes, upper back, and lats.
Another great suggestion for a warm-up is five minutes of jump roping. According to fitness author Jennifer Nicole Lee in an article with Body Building, five minutes of jumping rope at a mild to brisk pace is all you really need for a great workout.
So, before you hit the gym, remember to warm up properly. Your body and muscles will thank you.