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Isometrics or Static Stretching for Runners?

Researchers look at most effective protocol for running prep.

Runner doing isometrics

Many runners don’t know that static stretching can impair athletic performance and increase injury rates (which is why it’s important for you to educate your clients who like to run). It may be worthwhile to examine isometrics which, in contrast, have more positive effects and less negative impact than static stretching.

While isometrics do not significantly improve sprint performance, isometric holds can stimulate weakened muscle groups to increase activity. This can be particularly beneficial for runners who have muscle imbalances.

More research is recommended to further understand specific exercises and hold times for maximum benefits. These findings are described in a review study in the International Journal of Exercise Science (2021; 14 (6), 1204–18).

See also: Training Muscles for Joint Stability

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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