Static stretching has long been abandoned as a pre workout warmup but should we also abandon it post workout? There is a lot of evidence that supports the idea that we should!
Now when I say static stretching I am referring to exercises such as bending over and touching your toes where you aren’t moving or exploring range of motion. We often go through these stretches with no real purpose and no real minfulness for the task at hand. Static stretching will increase your flexibility sometimes but it is not the most efficient in increasing your range of motion or teaching your body efficiency in the running motion.
Mobility exercises like the ones I have talked about in previous posts, often involve exploring the running range of motion such as the couch pose pictured below.
There are also dynamic stretches that explore your sport specific range of motion – think of a dynamic warm up! You have leg swings, hip flexor pulses, fire hydrants and many other variations that work on activating the muscle as well as increasing mobility. I’m a big fan of working in the running specific range of motion and doing everything you can to improve your overall efficiency.
Then there’s yoga as well which takes all of these elements and incorporates core strength and breathing – I love yoga because it forces you to think about what you’re doing while you breathe and while you move. It’s not about sitting in a stretch and lengthening that muscle it’s about building strength in motion and building range of flexibility in all three planes of motion.
Is static stretching going to hurt you? Not necessarily but there is some evidence that excess stretching can lengthen the muscles too quickly. The point of this post is that there are a lot better ways to get more bang for your buck when talking about injury prevention and increasing your range of motion.