Stretching Before Exercise Myth: To Stretch or Not to Stretch

One of our most popular posts, "Is Stretching Bad for You? Why Stretching is NOT Your Friend." debunks the stretching before exercise myth but seems mind-blowing to many of our athletes. While watching the EUROs and Copa America soccer tournaments we thought this would be a great opportunity to learn from these top athletes about injury prevention and the stretching before exercise myth.

If you're a soccer/football fan you must be watching the EUROs and Copa America tournaments! 🏆 Whether you are cheering on USA in Copa America, rooting for your home-country, country of your family’s heritage, or just a favorite team of yours… watching any soccer/football game is thrilling!

Watching the world's best footballers playing the “world’s sport” can be entertaining… but it can also be a learning experience! Before these athletes run on the pitch, they all prioritize one key element: a dynamic warm-up. 🏃‍♂️

This post will explain in further detail why we say not to stretch - instead, do a dynamic warm-up to improve performance and reduce risk of injury.

 

You may not be a professional football/soccer player, but if you participate in ANY sort of physical activity… (running, soccer, tennis, pickleball, basketball, golf, the list goes on…) your warm-up is extremely important!!! Here at Breaking Through, we are strong believers in dynamic warm-ups NOT "stretching." For some this may seem like a matter of semantics, or word choice, but understanding the difference between a stretch and a dynamic warm-up can be critical to avoiding injury and playing your best.

If you have been watching the EUROs and Copa America games, chances are you have seen players on the sidelines preparing to be subbed on. Notice they are NOT stretching but doing a dynamic warm-up routine instead. They do not hold a stretch longer than 15 seconds because they know a stretch that long will lengthen the muscle and relax it - contributing to injury rather than activation!

What Does a Dynamic Warm-Up Look Like? 

Instead of stretching, watch their dynamic warm-up and look for things like:

  • Leg swings
  • Short sprints or shuffles (forward and backward)
  • Butt kicks
  • High knees/Jumping high knees
  • Lunges with twists
  • All sorts of skips
  • Rotating hips in/out

Next time you’re watching a game, pay attention to the sidelines and see what the soccer stars are doing! Chances are they’ll be doing all sorts of dynamic warm-ups and not holding stretches.

Trade In the Stretching Before Exercise Myth for Dynamic Warm-Ups

So why do elite athletes do dynamic warm-ups instead of long, deep stretches and why should we?

  1. Injury Prevention: dynamic warm-ups, which involve controlled movements, prepare your muscles for the high demands of your activity. Think of a dynamic warm-up as getting your muscles ready for the game, not “benching” them or making them relax by plainly stretching.
  2. Enhanced Performance: By increasing blood flow and muscle temperature, dynamic stretches improve your range of motion, agility, and power.
  3. Ready to Play: Unlike static stretching (holding a position for a long time), dynamic stretches won't leave you feeling weaker. You want to be explosive and quick on the field!

By incorporating dynamic warm-ups into your routine, you'll be ready for a successful and injury-free activity! ⭐️ Interested in learning more about dynamic warm-ups? We would LOVE to help create a custom warm-up routine for you! 🙌🏼

Related posts:

Is Stretching Bad for You? Why Stretching is NOT Your Friend.

Maximize Sports Performance with The One80 System®

7 Reasons Athletes Choose Us for Sports Therapy and Rehab

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