Pre-Run Stretch Hampers Endurance
Here’s another entry in a growing list of studies that suggest that pre-exercise static stretching may hamper athletic performance. This current study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2010; 24 , 2274–79), included 10 male collegiate athletes who participated in a 60-minute treadmill run on two occasions. One run took place after 16 minutes of static stretching of the major lower-body muscles; before the other run, participants simply sat quietly for 16 minutes. Subjects were then instructed to run for as long as possible without any knowledge of distance or speed. The study authors found that “performance was significantly greater in the nonstretching vs. the stretching condition, with significantly greater energy expenditure during the stretching compared with the nonstretching condition.”
Why does pre-run stretching hinder performance? “When you stretch prior to exercise (or you’re not warmed up), you stimulate the ‘protective mechanisms’ within the muscle,” states Jason Siegler, PhD, ATC, FACSM, professor in the department of sport, health and exercise science at the University of Hull in England. “Depending on the level of the stretch, you override the [muscle] spindles and probably also inhibit some of the afferent neural pathways to the brain.”
In lieu of static stretching, IDEA member, personal trainer and running coach Meghan Kennihan of Chicago suggests incorporating dynamic stretching techniques into a pre-run routine. “With dynamic stretching you combine the stretch and warm-up.” Kennihan suggests the following sample exercises to help your clients prep for the long run:
- walking lunge
- high-knee running
- butt kickers
- carioca/side shuffle
- straight-leg march
For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.
© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
IDEA Newsletter Sign-up
|Extreme Interval Training
In this course you'll learn goal-focused intervals and over 50 dynamic exercises and drills to create extensive and intensive training formats.
|Cut to the Core
This is a raw, unedited video filmed live at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Cut to the Core is packed full of core-focused exercises that aim to improve the way you look, feel and live.
|September 2011 IDEA Fitness Journal Quiz 4: Plyometric Training
This continuing education quiz is an in-depth look at plyometric training. Plyometric exercises—jumping, bounding, hopping, arm pushing, and catching and throwing weighted objects such as machine balls—are movements that involve rapid eccentric and concentric muscle actions.