Stretching: Be Careful When & How You Do It

Written by Tim Rigby

A team of Brazilian researchers were interested in the long-term effects of static stretching on strength.  Until now, it had been generally surmised that stretching lengthens muscle fibre, therefore it’s got to be good for strength, right?  Over the long term, science proved the opposite.  In their study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the scientists demonstrated that a group of 30 subjects who conducted static stretching before and during a series of exercises that included bench press, leg extension, lat pulldown and leg curl actually lost strength relative to subjects who didn’t.  The bottom line is that short dynamic stretching is recommended before training, and static stretching may be performed judiciously after training.