Back in the day, stretching was recommended before anything active. And when people recommended stretching, they typically meant static stretching. You have probably done static stretching before, like when you sit down and grasp your toes (or at least try to) for up to 30 seconds. You do this a few times and move on to whatever else is in your routine. Good idea, right? Turns out, not so much.
Recent studies have proven that this old-school technique can actually decrease the effectiveness of your workout. Static stretching has been shown to decrease eccentric strength by 7% and overall muscle strength by up to 9% for a full hour.
Example of Shoulder Circles Credit: Samantha Doyle
What doctors and trainers are now recommending is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching has the injury reducing benefits without the negative side effects to strength that comes with static stretching. Dynamic stretching includes things like leg swings, arm swings, shoulder circles and various other techniques that exhibit a wide range of motion but don’t require you to hold a static position for any length of time. There are many options and you should consult your doctor or trainer on which ones would benefit your activity the most.
Robb Rice of OSC’s in-house physical therapy department is coach for a Spokane select soccer team. He’s implemented dynamic stretching into his team’s routine and cut out static stretching before practice with great results. Players are getting injured less and the warm up process is giving them increased muscle efficiency.
We hope you stay active and make the switch to dynamic stretching in your routine. If you have any other mobility problems keeping you on the sidelines please let us know we’d love to help get you back in the game.