Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stretching...guess what

Guess what.....another study says that before and after physical activity does not appreciably reduce all-injury risk. (but it might make you less sore) Of course I've pointed similar studies out before.

A pragmatic randomised trial of stretching before and after physical activity to prevent injury and soreness.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of stretching before and after physical activity on risks of injury and soreness in a community population.
DESIGN: Internet-based pragmatic randomised trial conducted between January 2008 and January 2009.
SETTING: International.
PARTICIPANTS: 2,377 adults who regularly participated in physical activity.
INTERVENTIONS: Participants in the stretch group were asked to perform 30-second static stretches of 7 lower limb and trunk muscle groups before and after physical activity for 12 weeks. Participants in the control group were asked not to stretch. Main outcome measurements: Participants provided weekly on-line reports of outcomes over 12 weeks. Primary outcomes were any injury to the lower limb or back, and bothersome soreness of the legs, buttocks or back. Injury to muscles, ligaments and tendons was a secondary outcome.
RESULTS: Stretching did not produce clinically important or statistically significant reductions in all-injury risk (HR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.13), but did reduce the risk of experiencing bothersome soreness (mean risk of bothersome soreness in a week was 24.6% in the stretch group and 32.3% in the control group; OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.82). Stretching reduced the risk of injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons (incidence rate of 0.66 injuries per person-year in the stretch group and 0.88 injuries per person-year in the control group; HR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.96).
CONCLUSION: Stretching before and after physical activity does not appreciably reduce all-injury risk, but probably (that is not a very scientific word!) reduces the risk of some injuries, and does reduce the risk of bothersome soreness.


Anonymous said...

I went through all the stretching posts on this site and understand that stretching before performance is bad. Stretching to alleviate pain may or may not work.

My question is what is your strategy for dealing with tight muscles (specifically hamstrings and hip flexors)? Stretching at the end of the day or something else?


Chris said...

Personally I still think that there is some value to stretching muscles that are too tight. It is indiscriminate stretching that may be a problem.

It is not for warm up or preparation for exercise, but it is potentially of value for treating tight muscles to balance posture etc. Then again I also think a lot of tightness is derived from psychological tension.

Chris - fitnessfail.com said...

You can find plenty of studies indicating that atletes with more mobile joints (especially hips and shoulders) have lower rates of injury.

Stretching as a means of warm-up or cool down isn't worthwhile. Stretching to increase mobility in areas that tend to be injury prone almost certainly is.

Mike T Nelson said...

I would sub in mobility work for static stretching or at min use dynamic drills instead.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson