Stretching: the proper way to do it

in health •  last year

I think I had to do this post one day but didn't think about it yet. But thanks to the requests from @steevc and @romaincrx
I have a subject for today. This is a controversial one because beliefs are often wrong about stretching.

Does stretching help recovering?

This might sound weird but it actually doesn't help the muscle to recover. Stretching is actually used by athletes to increase their flexibility. It is particularly important for gymnasts but it is also for anyone even not practicing a sport.
This increases the flexibility by pulling the muscle fiber and sometimes tendons if it isn't done the right way. Tendons shouldn't be stretched much as you can increase the risk of tendinitis.
The result of stretching for runners is a better muscle efficiency by increasing the legs amplitude and staying more relaxed while running.

Stretching before a workout

Doing proper stretching before a workout is absolutely a wrong idea. You don't want to pull your muscle fiber before a run while you will continue pulling and even breaking fibers. Moreover stretching before a run will increase your sensibility to pain and slightly decrease your muscle strength for your workout.

But it is possible to to dynamic stretching before a run, which helps warming up and developing your amplitude. High knees and but kicks can be seen as such and balancing your legs forward and backward is the one to increase your amplitude.

Example of dynamic stretching.

When to do your stretching

As there still are good benefits from stretching, it is a good tool to improve your running form and efficiency. Ideally stretching should be done as far as possible from a run as it is a workout by itself and stresses the muscle fibers. If you run daily and want to stretch at least 3 times a week, which is recommended to progress in flexibility, you can stretch in the evening once your muscles are cold ( at least 3 hours after a run) or in the morning if you don't go running right after.

I found the essentials of stretching for a runner at these links: https://www.wikihow.com/Stretch and https://www.wikihow.com/Stretch-Your-Legs
Notice that even stretching your neck is important for your running form as all the body is involved in it.

I hope this post was useful and see you soon for a new training talk. Cheers!

You may also want to look at these training posts:
https://steemit.com/training/@life2dot0/threshold-running-session-the-forgotten-workout
https://steemit.com/running/@life2dot0/runnint-tip-train-slower-to-race-faster
https://steemit.com/running/@life2dot0/great-natural-foods-to-fuel-your-runs
https://steemit.com/running/@life2dot0/winter-running-motivation
https://steemit.com/running/@life2dot0/train-for-your-first-10k
And my history in the sport: https://steemit.com/health/@life2dot0/my-running-history-backgroung-for-future-training-talks

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Thanks for the mention! Personally I stretch approximately 15 minutes after my session. I do that because that's what they taught us at my athletism club. Even if I never feel any pain, I'll probably try to do it in the evening and see how I feel the next day and during the next session :)

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Hey yes it doesn't cost to try it. I also learned first that I should stretch right after a run but I think mentalities are slowly changing. I injured once probably because of that.

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It reminds me that after a race, nobody stretches so I don't either but the next day I feel it in the legs. Maybe it's just because I'm used to do it right after the race. I'll see!

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Yep or do it the evening of the race, but the main thing to recover is to eat within 10 minutes and rehydrate

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Yes of course, I do these two things :)

This is interesting as I was always told to stretch immediately before and after exercise. There's so much conflicting advice out there. I'll try this out.

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Yes it is hard to know what to do, even coaches made me stretch after soccer for example

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Great post and upvoted. I tore my hamstring surfing and have been doing alot of mobility excercises rather than actual stretching for physiotherapist. One example is lying on my back and with a bent knee extending the leg up vertically straight without pain and then back to a bent position. I think they are called extenders which help the muscle repair properly. I really dont think holding stretches like I was taught when younger is that effective. Its better to slowly warm up like light skipping or the method you have posted . I believe Stretching can actually tear the muscles and be counter productive. I also do one legged divers. Sort of like a straight legged deadlift which assist strength, flexibility balance. Thanks for the post. I will try this method when warming up.

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Thanks for the feedback! I'll look into extenders, never heard about it. I mostly learned what I know in french and try to translate properly so I hope it all means something.

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