The Truth About Static Stretching for Runners
Static stretching was once most certainly offered to you while you first began working. Hell, you most likely stretched earlier than you ever went working!
But it’s time to confront the traditional knowledge that runners want static stretching, particularly earlier than a run.
We will have to ask ourselves the onerous questions:
- If the function of stretching is “flexibility” then what does that actually imply?
- Does stretching earlier than working accomplish the targets of a right kind warm-up?
- Is static stretching an efficient damage prevention software?
When I first began working in highschool, 10 mins of stretching earlier than we began working was once usual. We didn’t need to “be tight” and we all know (proper?) that stretching is helping you keep wholesome.
This was once the present dogma for the primary Five-6 years of my working profession.
But quickly, science began uncovering that what turns out like common sense might in truth be damaging. Static stretching was once no cure-all.
And that was once mirrored in my training: because the years handed and I become an upperclassmen at Connecticut College, we targeted extra on dynamic stretching and drills.
Soon, our coaches slightly advisable stretching. Our coaching in faculty was once then reaffirmed through certainly one of my favourite books, Cardio or Weights? through Alex Hutchinson
The conclusion? Static stretching isn’t all that it’s cracked as much as be.
Let’s have a look and notice how we will be able to use stretching strategically to beef up our working.
Flexibility vs. Mobility
Is this static stretching?
There’s a large distinction between flexibility and mobility.
Flexibility is the power to reach massive levels of movement within the joints. It’s passive.
Mobility is the power to transport via a typical vary of movement with power. It’s lively.
If you’ll be able to contact your ft, then you definately’re versatile.
But if you’ll be able to dash, transfer effectively over some fundamental hindrances, or run over hurdles then you might have excellent mobility.
Static stretching is an excellent method of bettering your flexibility – with a constant and thorough sequence of stretching workouts you’ll beef up it through the years.
But runners don’t want remarkable ranges of suppleness. We simply want so that you can transfer effectively as we dash, fee up hills, and navigate the terrain of trails and impediment route racing.
All that calls for mobility moderately than flexibility (extra on the way to beef up mobility later).
Ultimately, we don’t want numerous flexibility to beef up our working. But that doesn’t imply we will be able to’t interact in some static stretching.
Does Static Stretching Help You Warm Up Before a Run?
The maximum fashionable instances for stretching are both earlier than working or stretching after you end working. When you stretch earlier than working, it’s to heat up.
But is stretching an efficient warm-up regimen?
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, writer of Run For Your Life, does now not mince phrases on the subject of static stretching earlier than a run:
The present consensus is that it’s now not important, and will also be counterproductive.
The function is to loosen, now not stretch, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to easily run at a very easy, at ease tempo.
Add a couple of skips, lunges, or even a couple of quick pickups… This is dynamic stretching.
That’s as a result of static stretching does now not accomplish probably the most fundamental function of a warm-up regimen: to heat up. It does now not elevate your middle charge, lubricate joints, metabolically high muscle mass for paintings, building up elasticity in connective tissues, open capillaries, and lift your core frame temperature.
In different phrases, it’s a failure as a warm-up.
Stretching our muscle mass earlier than working will also be counterproductive. That’s as a result of stretched muscle mass are much less responsive and will’t dangle as a lot stress. If you’re seeking to run speedy, you will be environment your self up for a deficient efficiency and even an damage.
The resolution, as Dr. Cucuzzella mentions, is a dynamic warm-up regimen that’s adopted through a minimum of 1-2 miles of simple working.
The Mattock Dynamic Warm-up is a great instance to get you began:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3U96Z9jRyk]
This sequence of dynamic stretching workouts will do the whole lot a excellent warm-up regimen is meant to do and get ready you for working.
Do it in an instant earlier than working to get all the advantages. You’ll carry out higher, have a decrease possibility of harm, and really feel higher too!
Will Static Stretching Prevent Injuries?
Runners needn’t be yogis…
This is the place my stance on stretching might wonder you: I imagine it nearly nugatory for damage prevention.
Dr. Cucuzzella is on board and notes that stretching isn’t typically a excellent remedy for accidents:
But when the fascia [connective tissues in your body] transform overly stressed out, it might probably transform bunched right into a knot…
It’s like yanking onerous at the ends of a rope to untangle a knot: it handiest makes the knot tougher and tighter. Too continuously, we just do this within the identify of bodily remedy and conventional stretching workouts.
Consider that almost all accidents occur throughout the standard vary of movement. And quite common working shape drawback is over-striding (i.e., an excessive amount of vary of movement!). These info pressure us to imagine whether or not being extra versatile will handiest exacerbate damage issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in truth printed a evaluation of 361 research in 2004 that attempted to respond to this query.
We ought to bear in mind their conclusion:
“Stretching was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries… [and] use of stretching as a prevention tool against sports injury has been based on intuition and unsystematic observation rather than scientific evidence.”
If you’re stretching to stick wholesome, you’re in large part wasting precious time.
But that doesn’t imply that static stretching has no position on your coaching program. In reality, when carried out correctly it might probably spice up emotions of well-being and leisure – the substances important for optimum restoration.
Best Stretches for Runners
Ideally, runners will center of attention maximum in their time on a sequence of dynamic heat up workouts just like the Mattock Routine above. Coupled with different actions that spice up mobility and there’s little reason why for static stretching.
Those “other activities” come with:
These components of coaching beef up mobility with out ever requiring you to stretch. And since they require lively, useful motion, the versatility you acquire is extra helpful.
But static stretching can nonetheless have a spot in any runners’ coaching program so long as a couple of caveats are met:
- It’s carried out on the proper time…
- …on the proper depth…
- …with none giant errors
I defined a few of my favourite static stretching examples on this new video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTnwxtLPgus]
The three errors to steer clear of when stretching are:
- Don’t stretch a chilly muscle earlier than workout. Wait till you’re completed working!
- No “ballistic” stretching the place you soar out and in of a stretch
- Stretch for a couple of minute – now not too lengthy, however now not too quick
If you experience your static stretching regimen, there’s no reason why to forestall. Just steer clear of those errors and also you’re able to stretch!
Loosen Up More Effectively
While static stretching help you chill out and really feel higher after a run, there’s no substitution for more practical mobility coaching.
Every week, you will have to be working speedy, power coaching, acting dynamic mobility drills, working off-road, and sitting much less. Training this fashion will beef up your mobility, competence, and damage resilience. No stretching wanted.
But you’ll be able to additionally get the impact of static stretching with much more restoration advantages through the usage of a foam curler.
A foam curler – like this one – loosens musles, fascia, and connective tissues. It promotes therapeutic blood go with the flow and will increase vary of movement.
It’s my most well-liked method of stretching as it’s more practical.
Download our unfastened Cheat Sheet to foam rolling for runners, that includes a photograph information for:
- Optimal Positions
- Common errors to steer clear of
- Best practices
- Ideal instances for the usage of a foam curler
Get it right here and dangle it up the place you foam roll. Refer to it each time you want that further nudge to prioritize your restoration.
And expectantly, it is going to inspire you to foam roll extra often and spice up your mobility!
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