Warm Up, Don’t Stretch

Many people know that they should warm up before exercise. But why and how is the question that will be addressed in today’s blog post.

ÖverspagatMany people will resort to stretches prior to exercise but this in fact does nothing to reduce chance of injury and may actually increase the chance of injury for reasons that will be explained.

As a principle, a warm up should harmonically take a limp through a range of motion larger than that used in the event you’re warming up for. This readies the co-ordination of nerve pathways, muscle elasticity and blood flow. Secondly the warm up should increase heart rate.

For runners, an example warm up would therefore look like this

30 seconds of each. 4 sets of each

This way we’re elevating heart rate, increasing muscle elasticity and neural co-ordination and really reducing our chance of injury

The problem with stretching is it doesn’t do any of the above; that’s right, it does’t increase muscle elasticity. In fact, stretching may desensitise stretch reflexes that stop muscles over-straining themselves. This may result in chronic strain and therefore injury.

Stretching has it’s place in activities that do require large ranges of motion like dancing and gymnastics but only after a proper warm up. These stretches should be held for 30-60 seconds to get the full benefit

And that’s a very simple but effective guide on warming up. Any questions, just post in the comment box below or catch us via social media




Written by Elliott Reid, Osteopath and Personal Trainer at The Revitalize Health and Fitness Clinic, Gravesend. Follow Elliott on Twitter


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