Agree? Disagree? Confused? Post to comments. Check out some common myths about stretching below.
Myth: Stretching prevents injury.
Injury is due to many factors, including poor technique, muscle imbalances, and not warming up properly. (Plus accidents happen! Ever stepped off a sidewalk wrong? or Get hit in the ankle with a hockey puck from Ben Dodge?)
Myth: Stretching nixes soreness.
Feeling sore comes from micro tears in muscles, and stretching is not effective in preventing these tears and subsequent soreness.
Myth: Stretching a few days a week is plenty.
Stretching consistently is the best way to reap its benefits.
Myth: Static stretching should come first.
Stretching before a workout when the body is at rest can be harmful, since muscles may actually tighten up in the process. But static stretching after exercise is typically beneficial, helping the muscles to relax. Go static* after working out— not before.
Myth: A bit of light cardio is the perfect warm-up
A proper warm-up should include dynamic* stretching, too.
Myth: Stretching won’t help performance.
Dynamic stretching involves movements that jump-start range of motion, making them a great warm-up solution.
Myth: It’s OK to jet out after a workout.
Try foam rolling post-workout/pre-stretching to really get those knots out.
Myth: Stretching one muscle group will only relieve strain in that area.
Sore in one spot? The source may be another muscle group altogether. Lower back pain isn’t necessarily from forgetting to stretch that back— could be tight hip flexors. Everything’s connected. Stretch one area, and another might benefit, too.
Myth: A five-minute warm-up should cut it.
When it comes to warming up, take 10 (at least!).
Myth: I’m already flexible, so there’s no need to stretch.
Not necessarily. Dynamic stretching and warming up are still important for everyone in order to increase blood flow to muscles. And remember, skimping out on stretching might also decrease flexibility over time.