Mythbusters - Stretching Edition: Commentary

After I posted our findings on stretching, I wondered what my coach, Will would say about that? Would he disagree with or affirm what I had to say? Sure I can read an article, but Will, is a trained professional at this stuff. He definitely knows what's up. Anyway, I was please to find that he agreed with what I had to say. He sent me an email to elaborate on all of that - here's what he said:

"You are correct on the stretching (note in your blog)… Interestingly athletes with greater flexibility are injured more than those with less flexibility! The key thing is having the mobility to do your sport effectively, but the “stiffness” to do it efficiently. Running in particular requires good stiffness because effective running is largely based on the stretch shortening cycle (a reflexive shortening of muscle when rapidly stretched – very similar to the doc tapping your patella tendon to get a kick out of you during a physical) and elasticity. Think of a rubber band. If it’s held with a sag or with minimal tension… you are not going to get a good rebound out of it if you let go. If it’s held with some tension, and you let go one end – kapow! It snaps back to a shorter state. That is similar to the elasticity (passive action related to the elastic nature of tissue) which helps us run.

I’m not saying stretching is bad or being flexible is bad… But just like being immobile is bad – being really flexible is not good. It’s a middle place we are looking for. And for most people, doing the activity creates what is needed.

My favorite analogy here is a lion. You ever see a lion sit around and do 30” stretches before chasing a gazelle? No way! You also wont ever see a lion with tendonitis or a pulled hammy… They are not absolutely related but it does fit with the growing pool of evidence of how we run and how we are healthy. Do a google on Frans Bosch and Roger Klump… They have some great material out there on this stuff that you may enjoy."

So there you have it folks. I haven't checked out Frans or Roger yet, but if I find anything interesting and new on the topic I'll report back.