WHEN NOT TO STATIC STRETCH
Performing a warm-up before exercise is essential. However, performing an effective warm-up that is suitable is not always undertaken.
Static stretching is one of the most popular techniques, and the benefits of reducing tension and eliminating waste products cannot be overlooked (1).
If your goal is to focus on strength or power within a workout, choosing static stretching to warm up may not be the best choice you could make, and here's why!
The Impact of Static Stretching on Force Production
Static stretching can still be used within a warm-up, however performing too much static stretching can reduce performance. Research has shown that static stretching has the potential to reduce the force produced by the muscles (2,3,4,5).
Static stretching increases the length to a muscle, improving the range of motion at the joints and It reduces tendon stiffness. However, static stretching is not the be-all and end-all of the warm up.
Reducing the risk of injury is essential for longevity, but when performance is at the forefront of a session, it is also important to understand why prolonged static stretching alone should not be used as a warm up. The elasticity of our tendons are benefited from static stretching, but force production and muscle contractions can be impaired.
The Ideal Warm-Up
- Performing a combination of sub-maximal aerobic activity.
- Non-strenuous static stretching for approximately 10-second holds.
- Dynamic movements or active movements that take the joints/muscles through a full range of motion.
- Specific movements that simulate the exercise or activity.