To stretch or not to stretch? … That is the question!

And we have an answer … Stretch properly!!!
by Darren Brown
The more appropriate question would be … to stretch statically or dynamically? Over the past year, we at Rogue have tried to pass on tips about some of the non-running work that you can do to improve your actual running. There has been the introduction of strides, foot drills, recovery, core strength, etc. One of the more important, but also most overlooked and frequently skipped tasks we have introduced is our rope-stretching routine. The rope stretching routine we have introduced in two different forms and while the motions are the same for each, the way you complete the stretches varies … and matters!
The first form is dynamic stretching, used primarily for pre-run warm-up. Dynamic stretching consists of multiple repetitions of a stretch, held for a short duration, usually lasting no more than a second or two, while avoiding a bouncy or jerky movement. The sought-after result of stretching in this manner is not actually as its name implies however. You are nottrying to stretch your muscles to a completely relaxed and loose state. You are instead simply trying to get the muscles warm by providing them with extra blood flow, preparing them for the exercise ahead. By using this form of stretching, you are allowing your legs to keep the natural bounce and “pop” (as many runners call it) that allows us to run more explosively and, as the attached study now shows, efficiently.
The second form of stretching is static stretching. This stretching is primarily used post-run or pre-bedtime. Anytime that gaining recovery is the main purpose for stretching, static stretching is the right choice. Static stretching consists of fewer repetitions of a stretch, held for a prolonged duration, and lasting upwards of 30 seconds. As the stretch begins to settle in its hold, it is appropriate to deepen the stretch slightly by placing more tension on the muscle group you are working. This can be done within a repetition or from rep to rep. Static stretching loosens muscles and allows them to flush out and recover quicker and with greater ease which is great for post-run, but can be detrimental to efficiency pre-run.
By stretching more appropriately, and more frequently, it is an easy way to see your overall running improve without actually putting in more miles. While the debate remains as to whether stretching “prevents” injury or not, one fact has been proven (as seen in the following article) … stretching the correct way not only improves performance, but stretching the wrong way will actually decrease performance.


2 thoughts on “To stretch or not to stretch? … That is the question!

  1. Get a myo-roller and start with that first. Then practice some good ol’ fashion ROM hip mobility exercises. Then stretch. The two running injuries I see most often in distance runners are IT bands and Piraformis, followed closely by patellar and achilles tendonitis. All are partially preventable through myo-release. Also, greater hip mobility=greater hip turnover=faster running times. That’s my two cents.

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