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Impact of stretching on the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners

updated

Tags: stretch, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle

One article on PainSci cites Baxter 2017: 5 Main Reasons Athletes Stretch… All Flawed

PainSci summary of Baxter 2017: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

This is a poorly written narrative review that confirms my bias that stretching is pointless or even slightly harmful for runners. My bias is based on the same evidence they cite, and quite a bit more besides; their rambling, unfocused analysis added nothing for me, unfortunately. But their conclusion is scientifically justified: “The literature suggests that stretching poses no significant advantage to endurance runners. Acute stretching can reduce running economy and performance for up to an hour by diminishing the musculotendinous stiffness and elastic energy.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Stretching, either prior to exercise or at the end, or both, is typically carried out by all individuals undertaking sporting activity whether they be elite or recreational athletes. The many forms of stretching available to the athlete, either passive or active, have long been thought to improve performance, decrease injury and generally be advantageous to the athlete. This review examines the current state of the literature and evaluates what athletes can and should do with respect to this controversial topic.

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