Stretching should an important part of everyone's injury prevention planning. I think everyone stretches, but not everyone stretches well. In my experience, there are just a few common mistakes that everyone seems to be making, and in this blog article, I want to correct them.
Mistake #1: Static Stretching Before Exercise
Part of knowing how to stretch is knowing when to stretch. Static stretching before exercise might* cause muscle weakness and lead to an increased risk of injury, so stick to active stretching before training and static stretching after training. Check out this video below for examples:
* I say might because, although all the research is pointing in the same direction, it's not been conclusively proven yet.
Mistake #2: Stretching The Wrong Muscles
Step one of stretching is getting the form right. If you're not hitting the right muscles at the right time, then you might as well not be stretching in the first place!
Speak to your PT, EP, or healthcare provider to make sure your form is right, or check out my YouTube channel for tips as well.
Mistake #3: 3-Second Holds
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen athletes "stretch" for 3-5 seconds. A 3-second hold is doing absolutely nothing for you! Your muscles take time to tighten, so they need time to relax too. For static stretches, hold for 30seconds twice.
Mistake #4: Bouncing
In the 1990's, you might have been told to bounce while you hold the stretch because it gets a "deeper" stretch. That advice has gone out with band T-shirts and combat boots. Bouncing while stretching increases your risk of muscles tears, but serves next to no benefit. Hold still for the duration.
Mistake #5: Single-Side Stretching
It doesn't matter if only one side hurts, always ALWAYS stretch both sides. Let this video tell you why:
Mistake #6: Just Keep Doing What You've Always Done
Stretching is a science, and the most up-to-date advice is always changing. Not to mention that your body is always changing too! Change your routine around regularly to stay on top of preventing injuries.
For more information on stretching, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark