Monday, November 10, 2008

Stretching before Exercise?

The New York Times notes that stretching prior to activity actually weakens the muscle:
The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent.

When I was young, my athletic instructors prided themselves on promoting slow, long stretches, not the stupid bouncy ones that were common in the 1970's. It turns out we were wrong too, just in a different direction.


Unknown said...

How about the canon that lactic acid causes muscle fatigue?

Unknown said...

You could probably google it - there was a study that found that static stretching prior to lifting actually increased the incidence of injuries.
And if I remember right, dynamic stretching is ok prior to workout.

J said...

I always felt that static stretching was wrong and weakening, but did it anyway. Football (soccer) players do both type of warming ups - they stretch but mostly they run. Never stop leraning.