Your Healthy Family

Jul 23, 2013 9:23 AM by Marissa Torres

The stretch debate

Most of us grew up being told we should warm up with a stretch before any type of exercise. Holding a pose - maybe touching your toes for 30 seconds or more.

But recent studies out of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found if you stretch before you lift weights - you may find yourself feeling weaker than you expect during your workout.

It adds to growing conclusions that pre-workout stretching is counterproductive and pointless. The study also found static stretching can make some participants weaker.

"It actually decreased their muscle strength. They're ability to generate force in muscle by 5 percent. So that's a pretty big deal. You want the opposite. You want your muscles to be stronger for less injuries," says physical therapist Joe Ruzich with Southern Colorado Clinic.

He says stretching could also increase your chance of injury. It's too soon to know exactly why stretching hampers performance.

Researchers say even though it helps loosen the muscles - it takes away their ability to store energy and spring into action.

So better choice - Ruzich says a dynamic work out by moving the same muscles you'll be moving in your activity with the same actions. Jumping jacks - or maybe high leg kicks would be a good start.



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