Week's Best in BS Free Fitness - Vol. 32



Science-based information and practical applications to help you reach your full potential.

This will be a 4-part series. In this post we're discussing static stretching specifically prior to lifting. Static stretching seems to have an acute negative effect on strength, the longer you hold the stretch, the more decrements in performance will you see, but even short static holds harm performance [1,2,5]. _____ Furthermore, studies strongly suggest that static stretching does not produce reductions in the risk of injury, nor does it help with recovery [4]. What about range of motion, surely you won’t be able to get into a proper position if you’re stiff, right? Well, while static stretching does reduce muscle stiffness, this is not a good thing. This reduction in muscle stiffness is the exact thing that causes the decrements in performance [2]. Think of your muscle as a rubber band, if you leave a rubber band stretched out all night it isn’t going to have that elastic recoil anymore, the same happens with your muscles because by holding a stretch you are lengthening the muscle (just like the rubber band) and this reduces the recoil. _____ If you did your 1rm bench press through the concentric portion only, you wouldn’t be able to do it. This is because you aren’t taking advantage of the stretch reflex. Stretching the muscle reduces this stretch reflex therefore reducing its force producing capabilities. Foam rolling is a great alternative as it has been shown to increase range of motion (if needed) without harming performance [6,7] _____ Keep in mind that if you want to improve range of motion overtime then you could just stretch at a different time, maybe post workout, or before bed [3]. Since the performance reducing effects of static stretching are only temporary and don’t last forever [2] (they likely completely fade away after a couple hrs). In the next post, we are going to cover the kind of stretches we can do to positively affect performance or keep it at baseline. Stay tuned! #strengthguide _____ References in comments 👇👇

A post shared by Fitness Information Page (@strengthguide) on

In Pt.1 we talked about how static stretching causes decrements in performance. But what about dynamic stretching? (i.e. Not holding a stretch, more explosive momentum type - think arm circles, leg swings etc) _____ Dynamic Stretching has been shown to improve performance [1,2], the opposite of static stretching 😃 Furthermore, more benefits of dynamic stretching are that they are more specific to what you want to do (lift, sprint etc) by elevating heart rate, increasing core temperature, and improving vo2 (none of which static stretching does). It can be said with certainty that performing dynamic stretches (for ~5-10min) pre-exercise and avoiding static holds are a great way to get you ready to get under the barbell. _____ Interestingly enough, for those who can’t grasp the idea yet of letting go of static stretches as part of your warm up routine, research shows that if you perform dynamic stretching AFTER static stretching - it helps offset the negative effects of static stretching resulting in no change in baseline strength [2]. If you read the last post you will know that static stretching decreases the stretch reflex of a muscle which causes the reductions in strength, meanwhile dynamic stretching possibly enhances it by “practicing” via explosive movements. So, static stretching followed by dynamic stretching could be a good way to ease yourself into a new warm up routine that involves no static holds. Overtime, you can drop them to the point where you only have dynamic stretches as part of your warm up to get the performance enhancing benefits. _____ If you feel like dynamic stretching alone isn’t enough, you can always use a foam roller (or a massage roller) on a muscle as this has been shown to improve range of motion without altering performance capabilities [3,4] Stay tuned for part 3! #strengthguide _____ 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16095425 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15574098 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22580977 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679629/

A post shared by Fitness Information Page (@strengthguide) on


Mike Vacanti

Fitness stuff made for us normal people.


Wilfredo Thomas