St. Leonard's Physio By the Bay

5257 1832
1 Mouchemore Avenue
St Leonards, VIC, 3223

To stretch or not to stretch?

To stretch or not to stretch?

That is a question that can have many answers depending on who is asking & all the variables that go along with dealing with a wide range of clients.    If you ask the question should a group of individuals in a team all do the same routine, the answer would probably be no.   If the question was should there be a general warm-up with some specific range of movement exercises specific to that individual the answer is probably yes.   As you could imagine these hypotheticals could go on & on.

A Senior Principal Research Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia has looked at this question in some detail

Many people stretch when they exercise or play sport. Others don’t stretch but feel they should. And some people don’t see any reason to stretch at all.

The reasons for stretching are diverse. Most people think stretching makes them more flexible. Some believe stretching reduces the risk of injury, reduces soreness experienced after exercise, or enhances sporting performance. Optimists think stretching does all these things.

But do we really need to stretch when we exercise? And does stretching increase flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, reduce soreness and enhance sporting performance? The answer is neither yes nor no.

Randomised trials

The only way researchers can get a really clear idea of the effects of stretching is to conduct randomised trials. (Here’s a clear explanation of why randomised trials are special that you can read later.)

In randomised trials, a lottery is used to allocate each participant to either receive the treatment (in this case, stretching) or not. Then the outcomes (injury, muscle soreness or sporting performance) of the trial participants who stretched are compared with the outcomes of those who didn’t. The difference in the outcomes of the two groups tells us about the effects of stretching.

The full article appeared in The Conversation on August 31

Health Check: do you need to stretch before and after exercise?


The conclusions reached are not conclusive but certainly the article covers some interesting points that need to be considered when prescribing advice for particular clients.   If you have specific questions I would be happy for your questions.



Leave a Comment