Why do we Stretch?

One from the CP site I had written some time ago…

Why do we stretch?

One of the major changes in modern strength and conditioning has been the re-emergence of pre-workout stretching.  If Coastal Performance had been in existence in 2009 we probably wouldn’t have been doing any static stretching.  There were some common beliefs that mobility was more important than flexibility and static stretching was statistically shown to decrease power output.

What we ran into and why we decided stretching was something we probably should be doing is that static stretching is really the only way to lengthen the muscle, and 99% of the population needs work on lengthening certain muscles.  This led us to the next belief that stretching stretches muscles and should only be done when the muscle is warmed up.  At Coastal Performance we believe we are not actually stretching the muscle, but the fascia that surround the muscle and attach it to its surrounding structures.  The only way to stretch the fascia and get the desired result, a lengthened muscle, is when the muscle is “cold.”

The only thing we do before we stretch is foam roll.  Foam rolling makes sure we smooth out any adhesions or knots in the muscle, otherwise stretching would simply be tugging on these knots and potentially making them worse.

As for the loss in power noted by static stretching, more research has concluded that it only accounts for a maximum of 5% decrease in power output, (What you had for lunch has a greater influence on force production!) as well as the fact that the loss in power is transient, meaning that it fades back to normal power production after a short period of time.  So by the time we are done our warm-up exercises, after our stretching routine, power should be back to normal, and we have also helped to improve our movements and decrease the likelihood of future injury.



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Filed under Athletic Performance, Training

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