Stretching Myths…

Dispelling exercise and nutrition myths is one thing that we do regularly at Results FAST. One subject that often comes up is the question over stretching before a workout.

A new study released recently highlights that stretching before activity does not help protect you from injury. Twinned with this a recent piece of research in October highlighted that stretching post exercise did not prevent muscle soreness. With over 70 million people running worldwide this is a pretty large area of research in itself. Factors that contributed to injury from running included the following; past exercise and injury history, body mass index (or weight to height ratio) as well as changing pre or post run stretching strategies.

These studies highlight a number of important factors. Firstly, injury history and the muscular balance of your body is important. Making sure the right muscles are doing the right thing is tantamount to protect from injury and pain free exercise. It is true the saying that you need to get fit to run. Often we see individuals who just hit the road in the New Year as part of their new fitness kick. If you have had an injury in the past you are likely to aggravate it if you are not strong or mobile enough. The second issue highlighted by the research is that body mass index is a factor in injury- this simply means if you are carrying too much body fat then this is in effect an injury risk. The third factor highlights changing how you prepare or cool down can have a negative effect. Routine is important in all elements of training, indeed if you perform a new stretch before exercise it may increase mobility in a joint that you do not necessarily need leading to instability and possible injury.

At Results FAST we prioritize all the above in a sensible training structure, firstly we emphasis strength and mobility as a foundation of a new programme. Secondly nutrition is important and has to be maximised for optimum results- this often involves reducing unnecessary weight such as excess body fat. Thirdly, we emphasise mobility at the right joints (ankle, hips and upper back), stability (knees and lower back) while activating muscles that will help maintain stability. Getting in to a correct warm up routine is vital for a good session and is a smart way of also reinforcing good posture. Post exercise again stretching is means led- some muscles may be tight such as the calves, thighs and hamstrings- often though this is case dependant on the individual in question. Correct posture helps with an efficient running style and developing good leverages is a great way of protecting your body and should be the mainstay of any programme- be it in the gym or running.

Published by ianmellis

Ian Mellis MSc. CSCS is the co-founder of Results FAST ( in Ware, Hertfordshire. Specialising in athletic development, physique improvement and injury rehabilitation he provides personal training, strength and conditioning and nutrition coaching for motivated exercisers and those looking to make a long term change to their health, fitness and performance.

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