#4: Top 5 Runners’ Cliches That Are Wrong

Stretching is good for you.  Maybe.

As a coach, I tell athletes to “do what works for you,” when it comes to stretching.  For years, people did what is called “static” stretching, where you basically hold a stretch, without moving, for a period of 20 seconds or 30 seconds, or whatever.   Then, a few years ago, “dynamic” stretching became all the rage, where you kind of bounce, or hold the stretch only for a split second, multiple times.  So, I get this all the time: What’s the best way to stretch?

The fact is that, for 20 years or more, study after study after study has proven that stretching makes muscles more flexible, yes, but also, in doing so, makes them weaker.  Granted, you must be flexible enough to do the task at hand, so stretching is sometimes what you need to do.  If your muscles are very tight, for example, or you’re injured, sometimes you HAVE to stretch.  But stretching all of the time just for the sake of stretching is not a good policy.  It can actually lead to more problems than it solves and can even lead to injuries.

So, the rule of thumb now is to stretch only if you need to, and, when choosing whether to do static or dynamic stretches, do what works best for you.  There will always be a new “flavor of the month” when it comes to stretching, so just do what works best for you.

I hope you enjoyed this rant!

–Panther
Austin, Texas

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas about this rant, please contact me directly @ (512)203-2236