Importance of Stretching
When thinking about an athlete, you probably think about their physicality and talent. An overlooked, but important part of every athlete’s life is stretching. Stretching and rolling out after workouts, practices, and games are known to greatly reduce the risk of injury as well as increase blood flow and flexibility. Daily stretch and roll-out sessions are very important in keeping athletes healthy and fit. Without stretching, the range of motion in joints is greatly reduced and muscles aren’t relieved of post workout tension.
“A lack of flexibility can make someone more susceptible to muscle strains or soft tissue injuries.” South assistant baseball coach Brett Timmerman said. When it comes to student athletes, stretching is most important after sitting all school day. After hours of stationary classwork, a 10-15 minute stretch break increases blood flow and circulation, boosting organ function.
Although stretching is important in injury prevention and flexibility, recent studies show stretching before workouts, practices and games will decrease athletic performance.
“We don’t do static stretches before workouts or games,” South volleyball coach Matthew Leichty said, “We do dynamic warm ups to get muscles loose before games.”
Static stretching is most useful after games as a way to loosen up joints and contracted muscles. Also, the lactic acid accumulating in the body is eliminated by stretching and rolling out after activity. It’s important to stretch on a daily basis when muscles are warm, lowering the risk of pulling a muscle. It’s recommended to perform a dynamic workout for 10 minutes before stretching. Good dynamic workouts to warm up several muscles groups are elbow to insteps, high kicks, push-ups, and quick skips. Stretching and rolling out on a regular basis and after workouts, practices, and games is important to keeping joints loose and muscles relieved. But to increase athletic performance, prior to activity it is best to stick to dynamic warm ups instead of static stretching.