08/08/2016

Does Stretching Provide the Benefits You Expect?

If you think back to gym class at school, your teacher probably told you that you should stretch both before and after exercise to protect from injury and improve your flexibility. But, as technology and physiological understanding has increased over the years, many experts have begun to contest this fact, with some saying that stretching is of absolutely no benefit whatsoever, and many undecided. But, who should we believe? Is stretching a waste of precious time that we could be using to train? Or does dropping your stretching regime leave you vulnerable to injury? In this blog, the experts at Athletic Republic Humble are going to debunk common myths about stretching and let you know the cold, hard facts about the best way to train.

Does Stretching Reduce the Risk of Injury?

The only way in which researchers can attempt to definitively answer these questions is by conducting investigations known as ‘randomized controlled trials.' In these trials, investigators divide subjects into two groups – one of the groups follows a stretching regime and the other does not. They follow-up the subjects over a specified period of time and record rates of injuries in order to see if there is any difference between the two groups. A large study was conducted on more than 2,000 military personnel to investigate the effect of a three-month stretching program on injury rates. No significant difference was found between the group that stretched and the group that did not. Many other smaller studies have found similar results, and no study has been able to clearly demonstrate a benefit of stretching from the perspective of injury prevention. Most experts are therefore currently in agreement that stretching before or after exercise does not lead to a clinically significant reduction in injuries. This means that you can cut out your traditional twenty minutes of stretching before and after exercise and use this time to practice functional movements specific to your sport – a much more effective way of reducing your injury risk. The best way to optimize your sports training regime, while protecting from injury is by enlisting the help of the experts. Trainers at Athletic Republic Humble use the latest technology, physiological techniques, and scientifically-designed training programs to create the most effective sports training programs for you. Call today at (832) 644-8276 to start seeing real results.

Does Stretching Increase Flexibility?

Another reason that many sportspeople include stretching exercises in their training programs, is to increase flexibility. Scientists have found that stretching acutely increases flexibility. This means that while conducting the stretch, and for a short period afterward, the muscle becomes more flexible. However, this is short-lived, and flexibility returns to normal after just a couple of minutes. It seems to be perfectly clear that sportspeople who do a lot of stretching exercises such as yoga and ballet are more flexible than people who do more strength training without stretching, like body-builders. When an individual stretches a muscle, although its flexibility increases, it also experiences a short decrease in the maximum force that it can produce. For most athletes, the consequences of this momentary decrease in power are negligible, but for a weight-lifter, or a sprinter, it is an important consideration.

So, To Stretch or Not To Stretch?

In conclusion, the issue of whether or not to stretch is complex and depends on what the specific goals of your training are. Stretching simply out of habit to prevent injury may not be required. However, some athletes may benefit from the increased flexibility that seems to come from regular stretching. Therefore, if your sports requires a wide range of motion, it may be a good idea to include stretching exercises in your training program. Tennis players, for example, could improve their swing by increasing the range of movement in their shoulder joints through stretching exercises, and a hurdler may benefit from including hamstring stretches in their routines. In contrast, power-lifters may choose to avoid participating in stretching exercises in order to conserve the maximum force-generation possible in their muscles.

Boost Your Results With Sports Training Near Atascocita

The most effective way to ensure that you are getting the most benefit from your training program while protecting your body from injury, is to train with the experts. At Athletic Republic Humble, the sports training center is equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows you to pin-point and address weaknesses in technique, helping you to be the best athlete that you can be. Call today at (832) 644-8276 and start seeing real results with professional sports training in Atascocita.