Before starting a workout, what’s the first thing many people do? From years of physical education from elementary school on through sports, we’re taught to stretch before working out. To stretch means to prevent a possible injury from occurring. We hear the advice from every coach, trainer, expert, and athlete. However, some people are now questioning what role stretching has in preventing an injury. Does stretching prevent injuries? The answer is it really doesn’t do much for preventing sports-related injuries.
Stretching And Injury Prevention
Over the years, studies conducted on whether stretching prevents injury have actually come back inconclusive, meaning there’s no real correlation between stretching and injury prevention. Many people generally believe that the more flexible you are, the better your muscles perform. Furthermore, it’s been believed that it may lower your risk of an injury. However, clinical studies have shown that there is no proof of this.
However, one study has shown that the right kind of stretching may help reducing overuse injuries like tears, strains, and sprains. This study found that there was no overall reduction in injury-ris and that the effect it had on reducing overuse injuries was very minimal. Despite the minimal effect on injury prevention, researchers found that stretching before and after workout did lower soreness in the used muscles and tendons.
Does Stretching Have A Role In Injury Prevention?
Although stretching may not have as large a role in injury prevention as believed, it may hold a small role. This is especially true in regards to sports-specific movement. Researchers have found that stretching may greatly benefit sports involving bouncing and jumping, such as soccer and football. These sports require highly compliant and quick-reacting muscle-tendon units. This means the muscles and tendons must respond quickly. If the response is slow, it could increase the risk for injury. Stretching significantly influences how a muscle responds when under stress from quick movements of bouncing and jumping.
Will Stretching Prevent Injuries?
The answer is that it still has yet to be determined, but it significantly depends on the sport, workout, and movement. For those who do not participate in high-impact sports, stretching will not prevent an injury. However, it won’t increase your risk either. Many people are adamant about stretching and hold is a pre-workout or pre-event ritual. To skip your ritual may have more of a mental effect on your performance than any actual effect on your physiological performance.
If you participate in high-impact sports that require much bouncing and jumping, such as basketball or football, stretching may be a good thing to continue.
It’s important to remember, as with any exercise, to do it correctly. Stretching incorrectly or in the wrong way could increase your risk of an injury and even impede performance.
So does stretching prevent injury? The short answer is not really, but it significantly depends on the activity. Despite its lack of evidence, stretching still has been proven to lower soreness after an activity, as well as improve range of motion and help muscles work more efficiently.