If you’ve been stretching before you work out, you can start carving out more time for your post-workout beer.
That’s because static stretching as a way to warm up has all but been debunked as an effective way to prevent injury and improve performance. The static warm-up — that is, holding a stretch for several seconds — has steadily fallen out of favor over the last few years.
Now a New York Times article summarizes recent studies that show static stretches not only lack benefits, they can actually impede performance. An excerpt:
The numbers, especially for competitive athletes, are sobering. According to their calculations, static stretching reduces strength in the stretched muscles by almost 5.5 percent, with the impact increasing in people who hold individual stretches for 90 seconds or more. While the effect is reduced somewhat when people’s stretches last less than 45 seconds, stretched muscles are, in general, substantially less strong. tweet
What to make of these findings? You can stop taking working out so seriously. And replace that time with stretching for your next beer.