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3 Common Stretching Myths Debunked

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Flex your mind with these facts before you hit the mat.
True or false? You should limber up before every workout.

False. A new study at Florida State University in Tallahassee determined that the total distance that runners were able to travel dropped by 3.4 percent when they stretched first. "Muscles and tendons are like elastic bands," says Jacob Wilson, PhD, the lead author. "When loose, they don't store and release energy as well, so you have to work harder to move the same distance."

True or false? To loosen up, you have to hold a stretch for several seconds.

False. Split-second, dynamic stretches, like side bends, toe touches, and arm swings (after a five- to 10-minute light cardio warm-up), can increase your range of motion without interfering with exercise performance, Wilson says.

True or false? Stretching is something you have to do to prevent pulls and strains.

False. No evidence has been found that stretching reduces the risk of injury. "However, if done consistently after your workout, it can strengthen and increase muscle mass, by causing tiny tears in the tissue when you stretch it -- just as strength training does," Wilson says.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2011.


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mike21993 wrote:

It would be good if you had linked to the Florida State study to see what types of stretching they were talking about in your first point. If they meant static stretching, yes, it isn't optimal before a workout. But even in your second point, you mention dynamic stretching. That is great for pre-workout performance... and is still stretching! There isn't just one way to stretch. Do the right stretch at the right time.

3/6/2014 12:53:44 PM Report Abuse
vanja71 wrote:

completly agree. as you might get injured by streching sometimes easire than doing high cardio workout - have experienced myself.

3/5/2014 02:53:37 PM Report Abuse

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