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Is Static Stretching Before Your Run Hurting Your Workout Performance?


By: Preston Johnson

A widely debated topic in the running world is whether or not stretching before your run is hurting your performance? We have been taught since elementary school that we should stretch as part of your warm up, but a study in Brazil, among others, may say otherwise.

The study was focusing on the effects of static stretching on your muscles output of power and strength. Along with previous studies pointing to a dampening effect on your strength and power, there has also been more conflicting studies pointing to the fact that it may decrease your running economy.

First, we want to clarify that this is not saying that stretching doesn’t have a place in the running world, because it surely does. Stretching is still highly encouraged post-run to help any sore or tight muscles to aid in the recovery process. We are solely going to focus on the debate of whether or not it is essential to stretch before a run.

This study took eleven recreational runners and put them through several tests, including a 3-km time trial. This test was done twice once without stretching and a second time with static stretching prior to taking the test. The stretching consisted of seven lower-body stretches performed three times each for thirty seconds.

Speed was measured every one-hundred meters in both the stretching and non-stretching trials as well as the perceived exertion every four-hundred meters. The graphs below show the results of the trials.  Keep in mind that RPE on the graph on the right stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion”.

The findings showed that there was a significant difference in perceived exertion and the actual pace being run when comparing the control time trial and the static stretching time trial. The pace was significantly higher with a lower perceived exertion level for the group that didn’t do any static stretching prior to the time trial. However, there was only a measured significant difference in the first 100 meters. The running economy of each runner was not effected by static stretching, but the stride duration was increased. Ultimately, the finishing time between the two groups was unchanged.

What do you think? Do you stretch before your workouts?
Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.

To read the full study click here.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Coaches Corner, Exercise Physiology, Racing, Sports Medicine, Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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