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  • Rebecca Murray

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

Static stretching is often a common part of any exercise plan, whether exercising alone or in a class as a warm up or warm down. In the classes, you are encouraged to stretch afterwards (sometimes even during) and often people stretch before a run or a strenuous activity. But, is this stretching helping your body, or could it actually be a cause for dysfunction and pain?


The general premise for stretching is that it increases your range of motion (ROM) by lengthening the muscles and soft tissue and by increasing ROM you are decreasing chances of injury and increasing athletic performance. A static stretch is done by lengthening a muscle as far as it can go until a gentle pull is felt and then holding that position for a period of time. Repeating this will gradually increase your ROM.


However, many studies have shown that static stretching can increase the chance of injury and decrease athletic performance. It has been generally recommended not to perform static stretches prior to any strength or power related exercises.


The reason why we are talking about static stretching is its implications for Advanced Biostructural Correction™. Tight muscles can be a part of a compensation pattern that is keeping the body stable. When those muscles are stretched the compensation may be disrupted, causing instability and therefore the body may be more prone to injury - especially when put under strain of a new exercise regime. As part of your ABC™treatment, your Practitioner looks for the underlying cause of tight muscles, which is often misalignments within the body, and looks to correct these misalignments, which will release the tension in the muscles without the need for stretching. Therefore, when receiving treatment you are discouraged from stretching, incase you disturb compensation patterns and cause further instability and possibly undo an adjustment.


Overall, while stretching may benefit flexibility and range of motion, it is important to be aware of the potential structural effects on the body especially when trying to identify causes for persistent symptoms. 


For any further information, please chat with your practicioner or if you want any advice before you undertake a new exercise.   

 

Further Reading:

  • Behm DG, Button DC, Butt JC. Factors affecting force loss with prolonged stretching.  Journal of Applied Physiology. 2001 Jun;26(3):261-72. 

  • Behm, D. G., et al. “Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: A systematic review.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2016, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 1-11.

  • Chaabene H, Behm DG, Negra Y, Granacher U. Acute Effects of Static Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power: An Attempt to Clarify Previous Caveats. Front Physiol. 2019 Nov 29;10:1468. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01468. 

  • Kay A. D., Blazevich A. J. (2008). Reductions in active plantarflexor moment are significantly correlated with static stretch duration. Eur. J. Sport Sci. 8, 41–46. dot: 10.1080/17461390701855505 

  • McHugh M. P., Nesse M. (2008). Effect of stretching on strength loss and pain after eccentric exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 40, 566–573. dot: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31815d2f8c 

  • Shrier I. Does stretching improve performance? A systematic and critical review of the literature. Clin J Sport Med. 2004 Sep;14(5):267-73. doi: 10.1097/00042752-200409000-00004. 

  • Young W, Elias G, Power J. Effects of static stretching volume and intensity on plantar flexor explosive force production and range of motion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2006 Sep;46(3):403-11

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