A commonly debated subject through many fitness professionals comes up for discussion when we move into Level 4 Qualifications. 

Moving from training clients into Athletes opens many more doors for both exploration and reservation. So when it comes to stretching, does it enhance performance or hinder?

In Dan Pratts Article, ‘A critical review on the acute effects of various stretching methods on performance’  gives us some background into the subject: “Research into the use of stretching and warm-ups for athletic performance is known to have begun in the 1930s and to date, it has been suggested that the main acute benefits of stretching for athletic performance are to increase performance and to reduce the risk of injury. These acute benefits to performance are believed to occur due to a number of factors, such as an increase in the range of movement at joints, enhanced muscular coordination and a reduction in muscular resistance to movement” Pratt, 15

Pratt makes a clear point that there are lots of effecting factors that can enhance the overall athletic performance, however, upon research, the literature regarding pre-workout warm-ups and stretching are difficult to find. Therefore does it come down to the personal experience of the trainer, using their prior knowledge to modify and adapt exercises to suit the client? What your opinion?

Pratt goes on to discuss the type of stretching, volume and intensity of the stretching, therefore, effects the outcome of the pre-workout stretching has on the athlete. 

In his findings, Pratt goes on to discuss:

“In the field of modern-day athletic performance, it has been suggested that stretching has possible benefits over the longer and shorter term, including a possible role in the reduction of injury risks.” Pratt, 18

He concludes:

“It is likely that neeither mechanical nor neuromuscular mechanisms, which may be affected via stretching, will be altered significantly enough to have any detrimental impact on performance. This review does not suggest that static stretching protocols should replace the more active protocols currently used rather it advises that if static stretching protocols are to be used – for example in sports requiring enhanced ROM , they  should be carried out prior to an active element and some time before performance, so as to reduce any  fears over reductions in performance levels” Pratt, 18

Pratt makes a valid point in his discussion and gives us a sample of how we can progress forward in our learning of Strength and Conditioning in athletes. Want to read more? Check out the link below to Dan Pratt’s article.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us.

Want to learn more about how you can develop and train Athletes? Become a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Coach with FIT TRAINING

Dan Pratt, A critical review on the acute effects of various stretching methods on performance, ACUTE EFFECTS OF STRETCHING pg: 13, 18