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We’ve heard over and over again how stretching can improve our running performance. But, many of us are still not sure what that means exactly or why that is the case. There is much debate over the effectiveness of stretching and the types of stretching we should be including in our running routine.
Learn from our expert guest blogger and the owner of The Muscle Repair Shop, Butch Phelps, the most effective stretches for runners and why.
Stretching for Better Performance
I find it amazing that many athletes, and people in general, are so confused about stretching. I like to call it Muscle Engineering. Some athletes use static stretching as a way to warm up and generally think of stretching as simply a warm up to their event. Other athletes prefer dynamic because they feel if they can pull the muscle long enough, it will release like taffy. The problem with either way is we have missed the point of stretching.
The purpose of stretching is to elongate the muscles, maintain the spacing in the joint, and increase range of motion of the joint. Your joints are lubricated by a fluid that is naturally produced by your body. Since the muscles cross over your joints, when they are short the joint loses spacing, you lose the lubricant and the range of motion. The ROM allows you to perform more efficiently as it takes less energy to do the same task. The only thing that puts pressure on your bones, nerves, and blood vessels is your muscles. I prefer Active Isolated Stretching because you can isolate all your muscles and you only hold the stretch for 2-3 seconds.
What are your favorite stretches for runners?
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