Stretching before sport, useless or effective? - The360 Healthy

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  • Thursday, November 28, 2019

    Stretching before sport, useless or effective?

    Stretching before sport, useless or effective?

    An international study has analyzed the effect of different types of stretch on the performance of 20 athletes. The results suggest that these movements are not particularly beneficial nor harmful. Each person would be free to practice as she prefers.

    Should we stretch before exercising? A new study suggests that the answer depends on our ability to stretch, the type of exercise and the goals we want to achieve. Until a few years ago, pre-sport stretching was almost ubiquitous, especially static stretching. We took the pose and held it for several seconds or minutes.

    Studies have shown that this type of stretching can temporarily weaken the muscle in question. As a result, many coaches and organizations have begun to discourage static stretching and instead advocate dynamic stretching, where limbs and joints remain in motion. Professionals thought that these movements avoided any negative impact on performance, while helping the muscles and joints warm up and prepare for intense activity.

    But very little research has examined the real effects of dynamic stretching on athletes, says the New York Times. Thus, for the new study published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a group of international scientists decided to test different stretching routines. They recruited 20 young male athletes who practiced team sports like football or rugby. For four days, they stretched and heated for a long time in a laboratory.

    Amazing results

    The volunteers tested four different techniques: five-second static stretching, 30-second static stretching, dynamic stretching, and no stretching. At the end of each warm-up, the athletes completed a battery of tests for flexibility, jumping, sprinting and agility.

    Then the researchers compared their numbers. Surprisingly, they found that men's performance had not changed, no matter how warm they were. "These results suggest that stretching does not improve athletic performance when it is part of a full warm-up, but at the same time it shows that stretching does not hinder performance, even when stretching is static, "the researchers conclude.

    In practical terms, if you like and trust stretch before a workout, you can continue to do it. If you hate them, you can warm up otherwise. Small reminder however: this is a short-term study on a small team. The question is whether these results apply to all athletes.

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