Archive for January 7, 2010

More Stretching Mythology?

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Media, Random Thoughts, Training on January 7, 2010 by mboyle1959

A recent NY Times article once again questioned the value of stretching. A Facebook link posted by one of my friends brought the article to my attention. To be honest, I am amazed that writers can make the jumps in reasoning that they make with so little knowledge. In my opinion the author makes three huge mistakes in the first two paragraphs.

1- The author studied distance runners. These are at best an interesting sub-group but have no real relationship to most team sport athletes.

2- The study used the sit and reach test as the indicator of flexibility. Any strength coach or fitness professional knows that this is a poor test as the test actually looks at movement across multiple segments. To call the sit and reach a hamstring test is really a display of ignorance. The truth is it as test of relative flexibility, which is often a problem ,not an attribute.

3-  Last but certainly not least the author states that the test measures elasticity. Flexibility, even if their measurements were valid and reliable, and elasticity are not nearly synonymous.

The end of the article gets slightly better but, not much. What the author fails to grasp is that the key is not the gains in flexibility but, the losses of flexibility over time. Bottom line, neither the article or the study is very good.

PS- Don’t forget the MBSC Winter Seminar on January 30th.  This will be a great event with talks by myself, Eric Cressey, John Palof and Brijesh Patel.