Is Passive Stretching Bad!?

Reference:Simic L, Sarabon N, Markovic G. Does pre-exercise static stretching inhibit maximal muscular performance? A meta-analytical review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Mar;23(2):131-48.

I remember being in PT school and being brainwashed repeatedly that pre-exercise static stretching had unquestionable benefits with respect to reducing the risk of injury.

I never questioned my profs …baaaa baaaa…I just believed them and taught many of my patients to stretch. I must admit I’ve never personally done static stretching before running, playing soccer or racquet ball; my instincts told me not to.

This 2013 extensive review paper states, “…static stretching may actually impair an athlete’s performance.” …what?

“…static stretching before exercise has a negative impact on athletic performance regardless of the subject’s age, gender or fitness level.”…Seriously?

“We conclude that the usage of static stretching as the sole activity during warm-up routine should generally be avoided.”… Are you kidding me?

All those years of being told that stretching was good turns out to be false? What’s next, short wave diathermy doesn’t work either? Give me a break!

In case you are a fan or obsessed with stretching don’t panic or get too upset as the paper also says, “…static stretching is best performed as a cool-down after an athlete’s workout.”

Q: If not by static stretching, then what is the best way to facilitate muscles and reduce the risk of injury prior to physical activity?

A: Warm up by dynamic stretching that mimics (as closely as possible) the body’s movements during the planned physical activity (e.g. soccer, basketball, sprinting)

The 2013 review paper also concludes that,

“…dynamic stretching prepares the body for peak performance and helps to reduce injuries.”

Posted on: July 04, 2013

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.