Health, Pain

Does Stretching Improve Performance?

Does stretching improve our athletic performance? The short answer, from a new study recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, is no.  But it doesn’t hurt performance either. The New York Times reports that the study involved 20 young male athletes, soccer players and rugby players, who warmed up in a performance lab before playing their sport on four different days. One warm up included nine stretches of various muscles, each held for five seconds. One involved stretches held for 30 seconds. One used dynamic stretching, and one did no stretching at all. When, after the warm ups, the researchers measured their performance, they found….nothing. Stretching neither improved nor hindered performance. The researchers remind readers that all of their subject were young, and that the results of such an experiment may vary with the age of subjects. The bottom line, for the moment: if you like stretching, stretch. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

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