Stretching – Is it Worth It?
Stretching has gotten a bad rap lately. Research is saying that stretching before a workout inhibits performance and strength. Also, it may not actually reduce the chance of injury or improve performance. Take this with a grain of salt, though. There’s inconclusive evidence on this; there’s no clear answer. So many athletes and bodybuilders have shunned stretching (or may just have been lazy), but recent research shows that stretching can be beneficial.
Researchers in Taiwan examined an eight-week stretching program to see if there were any benefits. They looked at static stretching, holding a stretch for about 30 seconds then repeating, and PNF stretching (five seconds of contract-relax-stretch). They concluded that there’s reduced muscle soreness after intense eccentric exercise when stretching is incorporated into an athlete’s exercise routine.
What does this mean for a bodybuilder? Stretching may help reduce the soreness that appears the day after a workout. Stretching also has other benefits: It can help improve flexibility, which then can help improve performance. It also increases blood flow to the muscle, which may aid in recovery. Stretching, then, shouldn’t be avoided at all. It should be incorporated into an exercise program for an individual’s overall health.