Stretching Does Not Prevent Muscle Soreness

An article in the British Medical Journal shows that stretching before and after exercising does not prevent next-day muscle soreness or injuries. Researchers in Australia reviewed five studies, involving 77 subjects, on the effect of stretching on muscle soreness. Data from two studies on army recruits in training show that muscle stretching prevents one injury every 23 years. Yet most coaches think that stretching prevents injuries because most coaching instructions are developed by observation, not controlled studies.

Muscles and tendons tear because the force on them is greater than their inherent strength, so the prevention of injuries should be aimed at strengthening muscles, rather than stretching them. Stretching can make you a better athlete. Longer tendons allow a greater torque on a joint to generate more force to help you run faster, lift heavier, throw further and jump higher. Stretch to become a better athlete, not to prevent injuries. More on stretching

Stretching before or after exercise does not prevent muscle soreness or reduce risk of injury: systematic review BMJ Volume 325 pp 468-70, 451-2

Checked 2/23/13

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