I have just been reading an article in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine about stretching.
If you have read my previous post on the subject, you will remember that I have recently tried out some different ideas. This is because I read that current thinking is that it does you no good at all!
This article confirms this to some extent, quoting work that shows decreases in strength and endurance after stretching.
The difference here was that the subjects were tested using a Wingate Test, which is basically pedal a static bike as hard as you can for a fixed time to give speed and power readings under anaerobic exercise conditions.
No stretching, static stretching, dynamic stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (stretching and contracting with the help of a partner) were all compared in the context of peak power achieved, mean power achieved and time taken to reach peak power.
And guess what.
Stretching had a lot of negative results!
The shortest time to peak power was with no stretching.
Dynamic stretching was similar (in this study), but the other types of stretching had negative results.
There was also a suggestion that the warm up regime might have influenced the results.
So it seems that if you want to run a fast 100m you don’t want to be doing any stretching, or if you do, only dynamic stretching.
Why then does it feel so much better after stretching during the warm-up? Am I worrying about something that only has any significant effect in the Olympic 100m Final? The article does not answer that I’m afraid.
I shall have to think more about what to do for a warm-up before a track session or race.