coaching

Stretching—A Research Retrospective

Absolutely love exercise scientist Len Kravitz. This is an outstanding essay on flexibility and stretching, two of the most passe and overwrought concepts in athletics and conditioning. Flexibility is a passive, nonsensical “can-you-do-a-split?” mentality? Who cares, unless you’re a gymnast and splits are inherent in your sport?

What you should focus on is your mobility, which is the ability to move through a particular range of motion (ROM) and have the movements be powerful and intentional, particularly at the ends of the ROM. Can’t say this enough: pre-workout long-hold static stretching most likely impedes force production. The fact that people do it all the time doesn’t establish its value; it only demonstrates the difficulty of unlearning stupid things. Like going to the doctor when you are healthy or avoiding gluten even though only 1% of the population actually has gluten sensitivity.

IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE The studies center attention on the areas of jumping ability, torque (rotary force), running economy and maximal force production. Shrier (2004) reviewed 23 studies, which combined have included static, PNF and ballistic stretching techniques with both genders (from children through adults and untrained individuals through highly competitive athletes). The findings, supported by other reviews (Haff 2006), reveal that regular stretching, when performed at times other than before performance, may elicit positive long-term performance outcomes. However, pre-performance stretching may educe (bring out; elicit) insignificant or negative performance outcomes.

Source: Stretching—A Research Retrospective