Good stretching techniques for injury prevention.
With a month to go before the City to Surf many of you are out hitting the streets getting in shape for the big day. To help make sure you get through injury free, the following are tips on correct stretching techniques that have been studied and proven to make a difference – in both injury prevention and increased performance. Every year we treat 20-30 runners during the running season for injuries that could have been prevented with these types of stretching techniques.
Stretching is one of the most overlooked aspects of injury prevention for the casual runner. It’s completely understandable as there is plenty of conflicting information out there on stretching and effective techniques.
General Rule for Stretching
The first and most common mistake is stretching to the point of feeling pain! This is particularly common in my age group (40+) as we were often told by well-meaning PE teachers – no pain, no gain! This is, unfortunately, a recipe for disaster when it comes to stretching, especially warm up stretches as it puts undue pressure and tension on the ligaments and tendons. This can lead to strains in the calves, hamstrings and groin.
Any stretching should feel like mild tension in the muscle – not pain. So, take it gently and warm up to it. You want to decrease your chance of injury not increase it.
Before you start your run, the best types of stretches are dynamic stretches that get your muscles primed for movement and warm them up. This is opposed to static stretching which helps the muscles relax and elongate – what we don’t want before a run. This process is backed up by several studies showing that dynamic stretching decreases injuries in runners and sports that include running and jumping. Dynamic stretching has also been proven to increase performance versus static stretching – another win!
The following video shows a perfect demonstration of 5 dynamic stretches that will decrease your chances of a running injury occurring.
As an aside, if any of these stretches give you any initial pain or discomfort, book in at Feel Amazing and get that checked out, as it could be an injury waiting to happen.
This is where the traditional static stretch is good. It helps cool the muscles down, decrease post exercise stiffness and soreness and increases muscle length. This is important as the muscles shorten with running. The following video shows a good stretch routine to do after your run.
If you haven’t been stretching at all in your training thus far, I highly encourage you to get on board with these examples. Both before and after your training runs as well as on the big day. I love seeing each and every one of you, but I do hate to see preventable injuries, so give stretching a go!
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