The Stretching Battle Continues
One day, in the year 490 BC, the first person ran from Marathon to Pheidippides. When he returned from his exhausting journey has cave his best friend said “Bro, you should stretch before you run. And so the great debate began. A few years later the debate got even more complicated, static v.s. dynamic stretching. A static stretch is the old fashion hamstring or quad stretch that you hold in one position and a dynamic stretch is a stretch while you are moving. It is accepted by the masses that static stretching is best for after a run but people are still puzzled about stretching before you run. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at what dynamic stretching does for us.
The researchers looked at the effects of dynamic stretching on high-intensity running performance. The 7 subjects all had VO2 Max and running economy tested prior to the testing days. On the first day, all subjects were randomly assigned to stretching or non-stretching. The stretching routine was done for 5 minutes right before the running test. All of the subjects came back 2 days later and performed the opposite test from day 1. The treadmill test consisted of each subject running at a speed of 90% VO2 Max. The distance and time to exhaustion were both measured. In each of the subjects, they were able to run a further distance and it took longer for them to reach exhaustion. Dynamic stretching is certainly useful before you run.
You don’t need a lot of time or a lot of space. In this study, each stretch was repeated 10 times. It is important to hit all of the major muscle groups evenly on the right and left. This study performed standing hip flexor, hip extensor, knee flexors, knee extensors and plantar flexors. In the winter months, this is especially important to do before you run or at the start line of a race in order to keep you warm and ready to race!
Yamaguchi, T., Takizawa,K., Shibata, K. Acute Effect of Dynamic Stretching on Endurance Running Performance in Well-Trained Male Runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. November 2015. (11). 3045-3052.
Kathleen Leninger, DPT