I have read several articles citing researches claiming static stretches are no good before a warm-up. Or calling stretching useless claiming it to be not beneficial for physical performance. Well, as usual, I beg to differ and below mentioned is my latest study which proves it contrary to any of these researches. I have no scientific tools to measure. I base my conclusion on the following:

a) How players/trainees felt post training – whether they felt properly warmed up, light and mobile?

b) How they felt the next day – any soreness/stiffness or discomfort next day/s?

c) And whether they found their body responding well to their sport requirement?

Fair enough!?

On regular practice days I would generally start training session with dynamic stretching/active exercises(walking – lunges/high knees/ leg swings etc and light backward jogging) to take players through their range of motion simultaneously by working on all major body sections. This is followed by physical ground training which is sport specific followed by standing dynamic stretches for the upper body – some of these sometimes can be categorized as static. Against the rules I know!

I then finish with mobility drills which I call a ‘final check’ where we test out all the major joints/muscles by getting into different movement patterns before players hit the nets/ground. Since my warm-up is heavily focused on range of motion/mobility – sport specific again most days; players respond back next day with no soreness.

However, there are days when I would start with static stretches. Surprisingly to some, players response to training after static stretches was better than usual day. They felt light through out the session.

One of these days, post the previous day travel and an hour of bus journey to the ground in the morning; I made players start with some static stretches (not the ones showing in the title pic) before the warm up and players responded by calling it the ‘best’ warm up post their practice. They felt at their physically best… 😊

Conclusion: Going by the book/research is good but not always! It depends a lot on your body condition and how you have used your muscles in the last 24 hours. If one feels stiff, then by all means, get involved in light stretches before you bring your muscles under the hammer again. Your body tells you everything that an outsider can’t!

Going back to my long-distance running days, I recall doing the same. There would be days when I would hit the turf straight out of bed; and other days, I would involve myself in stretching first.

Do what your body require even if it means getting involved in static stretches. There is no rule that should disallow your body requirement.

#training #research #sports #travel #muscle #stretching