Stop Stretching!

Stretching is perhaps one of the most controversial fitness subjects of present day. Passionate debates arise between those who perceive the benefits of stretching and those, like me, who think stretching is one of the worst activities you can partake in, especially if you’re already injured. It’s a tradition that’s hard to break because so many of us have the stretching necessity ingrained in our heads as we’ve listened to coaches, trainers, professional athletes, researchers, and doctors throughout our fitness lives. Although research shows stretching has no value and may actually cause harm, people find it difficult to “Just Say ‘no’ to stretching.” Now, to clarify, I’m primarily talking about static stretching – that’s the “stretch and hold” type of stretching. Dynamic stretching is different as it promotes natural movements and range of motion that typically isn’t harmful if done properly. I’m all for moving natural and natural/normal range of motion of joints and muscles but I don’t think that we need to call this “stretching.” Read on to understand my madness…

I don’t stretch. I’ve never advised any patient, athlete, or anyone who cares about their health to stretch. I am in very good health and have very good fitness. Although I don’t stretch at all, I’m rather flexible. This is because flexibility is a reflection of health and fitness, not stretching. I had two interesting experiences over the past couple years with coaches I hired for a bit to help me with my swimming and cycling techniques. The swim coach noticed I was not extending my arm out far enough in the water and therefore not grabbing as much water as I could be. Essentially I was not making myself as long as I could be and streamlining through the water. So he pulled me out of the pool and showed me what to do on land. He commented on how I was too tight and needed to stretch my arms out more to get the length I was looking for. But when I was able to do on land what he wanted me to do in the water he was amazed I could lengthen my body (arm) out so much. I was not inflexible, I just had poor swim technique, and that needed correction. My cycling coach was also surprised when he was checking my flexibility to adjust my bike position. His initial comment was that I must stretch a lot as I was pretty flexible for someone who can remain in a bent over aero position on a bike for five or more hours. I still don’t think he believed me when I told him I never stretch. I did stretch a lot in high school – before cross country practice, a lot in wrestling practice, and on my own. I was injured a lot. When I wasn’t injured, I was still having some muscular issue somewhere. Now I subscribe to my no stretching, no injuries program.

Stretching Weakens Muscles

The thought that stretching relaxes and is therapeutic for tight muscles is not only a misconception, it has never been proven. It actually weakens muscles, and that’s definitely not a good thing. Muscle tightness is due to an imbalance. The imbalance lies within the neuromuscular system – so it is a reflection of the nervous system via the muscular system. The idea that many physicians, therapists, coaches, and athletes have that you need to stretch a tight muscle to relax it and exercise a neurologically weak muscle to strengthen it is incorrect. It sounds nice, but your body doesn’t work that way. Clinicians who evaluate muscle function in athletes observe that stretching a muscle could make it longer and increase flexibility but this resulted in a reduction in function from a loss of power. “There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told the New York Times. “The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout.”

A study done at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Texas compared changes in muscles that were stretched and not stretched in the same person. They found that stretching one muscle can also impair another muscle that was not stretched, possibly through a central nervous system inhibitory mechanism. That means that stretching (and weakening) a muscle in your left leg could weaken a muscle in your right leg that you didn’t even stretch!

Other studies show adverse effects on lower limb power, sprinting ability, and vertical jump.  These abnormal changes induced in a stretched muscle can last for an hour or longer, and some clinicians have demonstrated that stretching can cause prolonged muscle problems that can last days and weeks. Yet despite these findings, track sprinters, high jumpers, and other athletes that rely on jumping power including basketball players still feel the need to stretch.

Some people don’t agree with the fact that stretching causes muscle weakness because they don’t feel weak after stretching. This is because most people feel the tight part of muscle imbalance and usually don’t feel muscle weakness until it begins affecting a joint or unless it’s severe enough to reduce muscle power. So you might feel your hamstring to feel tight and the need to stretch it, but typically the weakness is in the antagonist muscle, in this case the quadriceps. Stretching the hamstrings will further weaken that “tight” muscle and perhaps temporarily provide symptomatic relief, but the problem will only continue to spiral downward.

So what causes muscle imbalances and the feeling of tight muscles and the need to stretch? Well, muscle imbalances occur for many reasons but ultimately there is some stress to the nervous system, either systemically (throughout the entire body), or locally. For example, if you injure your hamstring this may inhibit the function of that muscle so it hurts. You may perceive the weakness as pain in the area or you may have pain and/or tightness on the opposite side, in the quadriceps, as it tries to compensate for the hamstring weakness. You inclination would then be to stretch the quads to “relax” them, but the problem is really in the hamstrings; that is the area that needs to be addressed. Doing hamstring exercises won’t strengthen the muscle because that doesn’t effectively deal with the injury. So you can do hamstring curls or some other exercise all day long and it won’t turn the hamstrings on any more than stretching will relax the quadriceps.

Typically in this case, the best thing you can do to turn on the hamstrings is apply deep pressure manipulation – also known as origin-insertion technique or trigger point therapy – to the areas of injury and the tendon attachments. Stretching does not help injuries because it elongates the muscle fibers. That is not helpful or healing for injured muscles. When there is an injury, the fibers are already elongated and pulled away from another or in some other configuration than what they should be in order to properly heal. Stretching will only make this worse. Using trigger point therapy can help those fibers line back up and heal properly. Feel around with deep pressure throughout the muscle, from the belly to both ends, looking for very tender “hot” spots. Hold them and/or rub them out with deep pressure in a slight circular motion for 15-30 seconds. Your therapist or doctor may need to assist you with this and they may need to perform other types of therapies to help your injured muscle heal and “turn on.” Please note that this is not advice to necessarily treat yourself. Use common sense. If you have a major muscle pull or tear, or obviously if you aren’t healing, you should seek the advice of a professional.

Flexibility is a Reflection of Health, Not Stretching

Then there is the systemic issue where an individual muscle, or group or muscles, feels very tight. Maybe your whole body feels tight and you have a stretching routine to “loosen you up” every morning. In this case, there is something affecting your entire nervous system, and the muscles are reacting to whatever the problem is. Most often these are dietary/nutritional problems. If there is a lot of inflammation in your body, perhaps from eating too many processed vegetable fats such as corn, soy, safflower, and peanut oil, this can result in tight muscles throughout your body. Eating any amount of partially hydrogenated “trans” fats can also result in a similar problem. A high carbohydrate diet, especially one containing refined sugars, can also make your nervous system more stressed and your muscles feel tight. Too much caffeine, and especially the excitotoxins MSG and aspartame (Nutrasweet) often will give you the muscle aches and tightness along with many other health problems. Of course, stretching will not help any of these problems though it may provide temporary relief.

Hormonal imbalances can also make your nervous system react in such a way that you have muscular tightness and feel the need to stretch. Women who have estrogen dominance (and low progesterone), and men with low testosterone levels may experience a tight lower back and hip region, giving them the inclination to want to stretch those areas out. Thyroid and adrenal gland hormone imbalances can result in similar problems too.

Your fascia – the connective tissue that holds everything together in your body like Saran Wrap – can sometimes be tight because of an injury to the body but also due to low vitamin B12 levels. This is common in vegetarians who often lack B12 which is found in eggs and animal products. Also individuals under significant stress will lose the necessary intrinsic factor in the stomach needed to properly absorb B12 – resulting in tight connective tissue and muscles – and the need to stretch. As with the other cases, fixing the cause of the problem, in this case the stress situation or the B12 deficiency will “loosen up” the muscles, not stretching.

But what if you’re not injured? The same rules apply. Typical stretching routines will still weaken muscles and promote injury. Consider why you need to stretch. Or do you enjoy stretching and want to do it? Wanting to stretch because it is relaxing to you may be okay, if done properly, (as described below). Many stretches we were all taught in gym class and by our coaches are not only useless, they’re harmful. Joint instability and muscular weakness often results with many of these types of stretches – think about that Hurdlers Stretch – it’s perhaps the worst one out there.

Yoga Is Not Just Stretching

Yoga? Let’s first say that yoga and stretching are not the same thing, yet many people associate the two because that is how it has unfortunately evolved in many areas. Most yoga classes today have students trying to force themselves into a yoga pose they are not ready to do and they overstretch. This is Westernized yoga and not the way it was intended to be. Yoga is intended to relax the entire body with certain poses and deep breathing resulting in inner harmony and focus on one’s self, not to stress your body out by stretching it in shapes you are not ready or able to do. So yoga may be beneficial if performed in a controlled fashion, within your means, and within the yoga philosophy.

Stretching Exceptions

Dancers and gymnasts are perhaps one exception to anti-stretching. For many of these individuals, stretching is necessary to some degree as their activities require a larger range of motion than is needed in order to perform their activities. The static stretching for these individuals should still be handled very carefully, ideally contracting the antagonist muscle to prevent overstretching. This would mean if a dancer was working on a bar and stretching his or her hamstrings, he or she would contract the quadriceps muscles, hold for up to thirty seconds, and repeat for at least three times. An active aerobic warm-up for at least 10 minutes is essential. However, I can say from my experience with professional dancers they always feel the need to stretch more than they need to because of underlying problems – most often dietary inadequacies, nutrient imbalances, and injuries make their muscles “more tight.” Once the underlying problems are resolved theses performers feel much more limber and less of a need to stretch, yet they’re much more flexible.

We associate flexibility with health. This is true to some extent but more does not necessarily mean better. If you can’t touch your toes while standing with your knees locked out it doesn’t mean you are not healthy. Sure there is a “normal” but it is hard to say what that is and it’s different for everybody. If you can’t touch your knees while bending forward you’ve got a problem somewhere – or too short of arms! More important is the balance and symmetry between muscles, including side to side. If your right leg can be stretched out to the side 90 degrees and your left can only go 80 degrees then that indicates a problem. You’re probably thinking the problem is on the left because that is how we were taught to think; but not necessarily so. Sometimes the area, in this case the leg, can be too flexible and once muscular and nervous system imbalances are corrected the 90 degree leg might only go to 80 degrees. And often when this happens the person feels more balanced and limber. So don’t think more is better. Balance is better.

Stretching may increase your flexibility, but you will most likely be weaker and the results are often short-lived. Saying that stretching reduces injuries or improves endurance performance, (the two main reasons given for stretching), is like saying certain shoes will make you run or jump faster. Many continue to make both these claims, yet neither has ever been proven, and many still buy the shoes and stretch with them on. Stretching is not exercise and not a warm-up before a run or any activity. Aerobic activity is the best warm-up as it increases flexibility in a safe way while improving oxygen utilization, lung capacity, and fat burning.

To quote Jack LaLanne, “Have you ever seen a lion stretch before it attacks?” Animals don’t [static] stretch in nature, more on that here. I guess we can call their natural movements “dynamic stretching” but I prefer to call it natural movements. Moving naturally via natural range on motion is perfectly fine, and encouraged. However, if you’re performing these types of activities and you need to do several repetitions to “loosen up” then you should consider why that is so – there is some underlying muscle imbalance. High knees, butt kicks, and other similar exercises performed after an aerobic warm-up are natural movements; some feel they should be classified as “stretching.” Essentially, if you are moving well throughout the day you are always stretching to some degree.

So balance your muscles and your entire body by balancing your life with proper exercise, diet, and other lifestyle factors. Stop drinking that Kool-Aid propaganda and just say “No!” to stretching!

Update – January 2012: Here’s a good post at Sweat Science that discusses a 2010 study done at Florida State showing that trained distance runners became about 5% less efficient if they did static stretching before a run and a recent study done by the same group that suggests that dynamic stretching does not affect (good or bad) running endurance performance in trained male runners.

Check out the new 100% organic cotton American Apparel “Only Bozos Stretch” shirts.

10 Reasons Not To Stretch – Some funny and true; some funny and not all that true.

Comments

  1. Bryanna Johnson says:

    As far as trying to do a little trigger point therapy on yourself, is something like the Grid foam roller a good thing?

    Thanks for all the info!

    • Yes, those are very good.

      • How in the world can you write an article such as this, only to quickly endorse SMR on a foam roller?… what a disappointment!

        • Chris, the reason is because the article is called “Stop Stretching!” and SMR (self myofascial release) is NOT stretching, but breaking up fascial adhesions which can be very beneficial. I don’t “endorse” a foam roller but for some it provides benefit if they can’t see a therapist or work out the fascial trigger point manually themselves. That is what I am endorsing. Your point is not understood.

          • My point is that your article was thorough and detailed, however your “yes those are very good” response to the reader’s question about using a foam roller seemed a little irresponsible…

            Think about this:
            Consider exactly how large a “trigger point” is /might be – compare it to the size of the surface area of the foam roller applied to the area…
            Are you sure that “trigger point” is the only thing being addressed? Of course for some this may be just fine, and for others SMR may be just about as precise as dialing a phone number with my fist and insisting that although I pushed all the number buttons, only the intended ones were affected…
            Well direct pressure via SMR is often affecting more than what you intended (just like stretching, SMR it requires a thought process, proper progression and precision… if you even need to do it at all).

            Direct pressure via SMR or massage etc DOES passively alter the length of the muscle – it’s a passive stretch without a change in joint position. How can you be so cavalier about SMR when it’s possible that in some people it may have the same detrimental effects on ‘muscle balance’ and ‘neurological control’ as stretching?

            Lastly, recommending that people treat themselves if they can’t get to a therapist is irresponsible and scary. If I can’t get to the hospital should I just take some pills I know nothing about?

            I’ll stay tuned for your next article when you list the detrimental effects of cigarette smoke, only to demonstrate your bias/ignorance below the article by telling a reader cigars are ok.

          • Chris, clearly you feel the need to be heard, which is why I approved your comment(s). My answer of “yes those are very good” was to the woman asking if the foam roller is good for “a little trigger point therapy.” Yes, for that, they are.
            However, you seem to want to blow this up and talk more in depth about foam rolling and trigger points. That is not the intent of the article; figuring out why someone needs a therapy, in this case stretching, is. I also note this as a response to another comment if you scroll down. The same can be applied to trigger points as if someone needs to treat themself every day. Yes, trigger points, like any therapy, require some thought process, but that doesn’t mean that someone should not be allowed to try treat a problem they may have especially since many people do not have access to good therapists. A foam roller might help them reach a spot they could not otherwise get to or get the depth they need to with their hands. I do not see the “lengthening” of a muscle via trigger point therapy to be anywhere near as a problem as stretching. I’ve tested this repeatedly. Now if they’re rolling their body all over a with the foam roller, that is a different situation.

            And you’re comparing working out some trigger points or some self therapy with going to the hospital? That’s out of control. We’re not talking surgery here.

            Sure you can stay tuned for the next article, but it sounds like the SockDoc philosophy is not for you.

    • Doc,

      There are stretches and then, there are stretches. That said I remember stretching to the point of feeling that “burn” and even pain at times, and there are also very quick short stretches that don’t hurt at all.

      Take for instance cats/dogs and many animals instinctively stretch (very quick and gentle) and they don’t seem to be in pain.

      Are short stretches a bad thing too? By short I mean under 5 seconds and no pain. I’m definitely against long painful stretches.

      Thanks,

      • It depends on how you’re stretching rather than short or long. Sure holding a Hurdler’s stretch for 5 seconds is much less harmful than 1 minute – but it’s just that – less harmful not more beneficial.

        • Yeah you just mention the disadvantages in stretching, really well supported, but not a single advantage, and of course animals stretch, obviously not just before hunting or fleeing lol! I totally disagree with the article’s title and the claim that “stretching promotes injury”. At some point you are really objetive, but now and then you just “satanize” stratic stretching. Great source of information anyway.

  2. Simon King says:

    Spot on, Doc. Couldn’t agree more. And very well explained.

    Muscle function is mostly under reflex control and the Law of Reciprocal inhibition demands that when you put one muscle under stretch or tension, you must inhibit it’s antagonist, so stretching causes weakness and potential for injury.

    I wish more people would study the basic muscle-controlling reflexes, the myotatic, withdrawal, reciprocal inhibition and crossed extensor are a good place to start.

    Simon King DIBAK
    Chiropractor

  3. Mike Grillo says:

    Doc,
    Agree with all in this article, it drives me nuts to watch everyone at the gym stretch cold. Personally I warm up then foam roll, then after my workout I will roll again but with a lacrosse ball. In your opinion is this overdoing it? Also occasionally I will have my workout partner do some PNF stretching on whatever muscle groups we covered that particular training day, your thoughts? Thanks Doc, keep up the great articles!

    • Hi Mike, that’s okay but if you feel the need to roll so much then there’s something not right. You shouldn’t be so tight that you have to do that every day, especially pre and post-workout.
      Thanks!

  4. Michael says:

    Couldn’t agree more about not stretching when injured. That has done nothing for me except to reinjure myself.

    Glad to see a profesional reinforce my own experience.

    What do you think about the trend toward dynamic stretching as a warmup? Do you consider dyanamic
    stretching in the same boat as static stretching?

    • If stretching is done in a controlled manner (not forcing or straining muscles and tendons) then it can be fine. If you’re using it as part of a warm-up, it should be preceded by the aerobic activity as I discuss.

  5. hi doc,
    thanks for this article it is very informative. Just wondering though, you mention dynamic warmup- what should be done after a work out? This is often when I stretch, should I not be doing it then either? and if not, what should I do to combat just general tired muscles – I tend to get sore quads after doing intense exercise like RPM for example or Body Pump and squats.

    • If you want to stretch because it relaxes you then do that after a good aerobic workout. If you feel like you need to stretch and think that it combats your general muscle tiredness then that’s a problem (because it won’t do that). The muscle tiredness is from other reasons, not lack of stretching – consider easing up on the workouts or looking at the other factors involved as I mention, specifically nutrition and muscle imbalances in the problem areas.

  6. Matthew says:

    I read this and i come from a heavy gymnastics background as well as influences from various martial arts. I do parkour and freerunning as a hobby. i know that static cold stretching is bad for you, and it is best to stretch after warming up with an aerobic workout, i sometimes warm up my muscles using more yoga type excercises and not just forcing myself into a stretch. But at the same time i need a larger range of motion for what i do than alot of other sports, so i do train my flexibility by means of stretching on a almost regular basis. because if im not flexible and i go for some moves i will most certainly tear something by not stretching beforehand, or not be able to even do that movement at all. I would like to hear your advice as far as maintaining and advancing on flexibility but not weakening the associated muscles.

    • There’s a fine line between how much you may want to stretch (through a functional ROM) and not stretch for the activities you’re talking about. I too have been training parkour recently, and just got back from a 5-day MovNat retreat. We never stretched – we “loosened up” with aerobic exercise and going through full range of motions of various muscles and joints. If you’re going for a jump from one wall to another and you need to extend your leg further than it should, having stretched it to a certain degree prior is not going to prevent you from pulling a muscle fiber. What is going to prevent that is that the muscle is functioning properly, which is what I discuss in the rather long post here. If you can’t do the movement at all, again, there is something inhibiting the muscle, or of course there is the case where your leg or whatever body part you’re trying to put in a certain position just might not be able to get there. I stayed flexible, fit, and injury-free at 5-days of training MovNat and did not stretch once – before, during, or after.
      I know it’s a hard habit to break!

  7. Hi Doc, i am a college basketball players who trains twice a day about 4 times a week and once a day for 2 days a week doing workouts like lifting weights 6 days a week on top of basketball everyday and most days twice either playign full court games or skill work sessions so i basically train about 18 hours a week. I have always been big on stretching but never static i use a dynamic warmup and maybe get on the foam roller before and i ussually use a type of stretching called active isolated stretching (ais) also known as the Mattes Method where you only hold a stretch for 2 seconds about 8-12 times after i workout and maybe i will get on the foamroller if i have some sore spots, so im confused if your article fits me or not since i am training so often and have to be recover as fast as possible if so basically what youd be saying to someone like me is when im done lifting on my legs and im really tight from it that i should just leave when im done with my last set and not foam roll and stretch when i have another workout i have to be ready for on the court just a few hours later? also groin injuries are very common in basketball players because of all the heavy defensive sliding and qucik changes of direction i always thought if my groin was more flexible then it would not get strained because i wouldnt put myself into a rom i couldnt handle is this train of thinking worng as well? I am really curious to know the best way to take care of my body and be the healthiest and best player i can be.

    • Hi John, good questions here. Basically the idea is this – if you NEED to stretch because your muscles or joints feel tight, that is a problem and most often due to muscle imbalances rather than lack of stretching. If you’re holding a stretch for 2 secs and just going through normal ranges of motion, that is most likely fine. But if you’re trying to push a limb, joint, or muscle past its normal range to “get a good stretch” that is most always harmful – you don’t gain flexibility that way – you gain flexibility by obtaining a healthy & fit body where the nervous system is not creating an imbalance in mechanics resulting in “tight” muscles. So if you want to recover faster (as everyone does) then you have to look at the whole picture of health – eating well, training properly, low stress, etc. Stretching does not have a place here unless you’re performing it properly and to relax and after a proper [aerobic] warm-up.

      Yes groin injuries are very common. I see a lot of them with the soccer players I treat too. But the only correlation I see is between increased stretching and increased groin problems, not less. Increased flexibility in your groin does not equate to less injury, regardless of how those muscles need to be used. Actually, the most common reasons for muscle imbalances in the groin area I’d say are due to improper footwear (altering gait and vertical jump too in b’ball players) as well as increased stress demand from high intensity workouts as well as other stresses a college player has to deal with (such as your studies).

      I hope that helps clarify some things for you!

    • Aaron J S says:

      I have read some of the article above and I am still reluctant to believe that stretching is actually bad for the muscle. It seems that the best runners, many of whom are professional runners, who know a large amount about running still continue to stretch before they run. Obviously what everybody does is many times not what you want to do but for these people(pros) in particular it raises questions. 1st How much reliable research/empirical studies actually support not stretching before runs and / or harming the stretched muscles. 2nd Why is it that we see the vast majority of serious runners, some of whom have coaches to advise them, continue to believe in stretching?

  8. Scunnered74 says:

    Hi Doc! Thanks for the article.

    About 12 days ago I began a whole body work out that is pretty intense (Jillian Michaels DVDs), after a few years of complete inactivity and muscle loss. Since I began this exercise routine have noticed a need to stretch all areas of my body even down to my fingers (although I don’t crack anything – just stretch) and I know this has to be related to my working out because I’ve never felt this way before beginning exercising again. The stretching feels good and so do the workouts. I feel like I’m gaining strenth and shaping up even though it’s only been 12 days. Anyway, I’m conserned about the need to stretch many times a day. What do you think this is from?

    Thanks again!

    • Glad you like the article, thanks. The reason you need to stretch so much is because you’re training too hard. You’re stressing your nervous and musculoskeletal system out so much you’re creating muscle imbalances. You’re on the verge of being injured. After a few years of inactivity you’ve got to build up the aerobic system, as I discuss throughout the SD site. Your body can’t handle so many intense anaerobic workouts so early in your training.

  9. After I lift weights, my muscles feel significantly weaker. But after recovering they get stronger. By the same token, my muscles do feel weaker if I stretch for quite a while–but won’t they rebuild to my benefit?

    • Your muscles should not feel significantly weaker after any exercise – weights or cardio-type workouts. If they do, you are causing muscle imbalances from improper technique or exerting yourself more than you should be at the given time. No, they won’t “rebuild” after you weaken them. Training = working out + rest. You rebuild during rest, but not if you skewed the equation too much by excessive working out.

  10. Matthew from Brno says:

    Thanks SockDoc,

    I have just read yur article and also agree with you. Last year I was told I had aggravated my achilles tendon (though I also had pain in my calf it was overlooked) but as soon as I feel better I am compelled to stretch my calf as told by every athlete and doctor I meet and it only makes my situation worse. Last year I only recovered when I stopped stretching my calves completely.

    Now I have another bout of the same. When I go to a different doctor they say there is no evidence of tendonitis, and I am not even sure that I have a problem with my tendon – only with my calves. I use the stick and also use trigger point therapy on them. I have just had a 4 week lay off of running, only to start stretching and the pain is back in my calf. My tendon is a little lumpy but there is no pain.

    I realize it is difficult to give opinions here but could you advise me if you think another lengthy rest is necessary or just to wait until the pain in my calf is gone (usually 3-5 days) and then restart slow running with no stretching?

    As I said, I would really appreciate any help. I have already been out of action for almost 2 months – and am hoping to compete in my thrid ironman in July.

  11. Matthew from Brno says:

    Hi Sock Doc,

    I decided to write here this time as I stopped streching on New Years Day and was quickly able to start running (almost) normally again. So I just wanted to add my voice to your stop streching campaign!!

    My calf/achilles problem quickly cleared up when I stopped streching and I felt great when running, so I was quickly able to increase my mileage (maybe a little faster than I should) but after each run I felt tired but not in pain. I now can feel no pain in my calf unless I poke it in the area where the trigger point was. I also changed out of my Asics and started to run in my other pair of running shoes which are flatter, with less support.
    Anyway, I wanted to ask another bit of advice. On Thursday I ran about 80 mins and towards the end of the run I got not exactly a pain, but discomfort on the sole of my foot. Last time I recovered from this problem (trigger points in soleus which seemd to be tendonitis) I used to get a numb foot when running and shortly after. It cleared up over time. Yesterday I ran again for about 60 mins and the feeling started to return near the end.
    I have the trigger point therapy book, and think I found another trigger point in my flexor digitorum longus/top of gastronemus muscle near the back of my knee. Is this kind of pain consistent with trigger points here? After massage in this area it seems to relieve the symptoms for a couple of hours.
    Should I reduce runniing volume again? I would prefer not to, obviously :-)
    I only ran 3.5 hours this week, last week 2.5 hours. I don’t intend to run longer than 3.5 hours.
    Is it ok if I keep an eye on it and do massage in this area?
    Once again, I know it is difficult to tell me over the internet but appreciate your opinion…

    • Good to hear you’re doing better w/o stretching.

      Trigger points can be anywhere. It’s really not necessary to know exactly what muscle you’re on unless you’re trying to diagnose something (as I am when I treat someone). In the back of the leg you may be on the flex dig long – the gastroc – maybe the tib post, it really doesn’t matter. Just work out wherever it is sore.

      What IS important though is that if it’s on the back of your leg then it’s probably from the new position/gait now that you’re out of the Asics. Maybe the 80 min run was too much in the new shoes. You don’t mention what you’re wearing but I’m hoping they’re not a zero-drop very “barefoot” style shoe. Hopefully you went to a transitional shoe such as a Nike Free or a NB Min Road. Or even a NB Min Trail would be good.

      You’re not going to lose fitness by backing off the volume while you heal. Use your best judgement. If you have pain after 50 minutes, then maybe keep the runs to <45 til’ you’re healed up.

      • Matthew from Brno says:

        Hi Sock-Doc,

        Sorry I realized that I didn’t reply. Thanks for your message. My calf is now feeling much better, though I have to admit that I didn’t really lower my mileage much, but it didn’t feel bad enough to cut my run short. I did about 75 mins. I still have a bit of a dull ache in the sole of my forefoot at the end of the long run though and it lasts about a day. I wonder if it’s from doing a bit too much. In answer to your question about shoes-I am running in a pair of adidas adizero tempo, I don’t know how you feel about them but I looked at pics of the shoes you recommended and they are a similar height of heel. They are lightweight shoes. I have noticed that I am running more on my mid/forefoot than in the Asics and maybe this is why my foot is aching. But it feels much more natural too. I have run in this type of shoes before but never used to do my long runs in them.
        Do you recommend using lightweight running shoes for all run training?

        • Typically minimalist type shoes are “lightweight” so yes that is what I recommend if you are ready for them. The closer to barefoot the better – though the terrain (rocky trails) may mean you need a thicker sole. And if you’re coming off of typical running shoes you of course need to transition.

  12. Hi Doc

    How do you recommend people treat tight anterior hips from too much sitting? The only solution I’ve seen is to stretch them. Foam rolling and lacrosse balls don’t do much for me because the muscle is right over the hip bone.

  13. Certianly I can’t be the only commenter to disagree?

    I have psoriatic arthritis and crohns, which flare up more days than not. It literally feels like 20 guys beat me up, especially around my rib cage and muscles. When I forget to stretch and go for a walk or swim, I always feel worse. However, when I do disciplined stretching after a short warmup, I actually feel better. From my experience, stretching is a godsend. Plus it’s free and I don’t need an instructor.

    And two decades ago, before I had the chronic issues, I played football. We had an excellent trainer who made sure to warm us up and cool us down, always including stretching. That certainly increased our flexibility, something I also noticed while throwing javelin for track and field. My range of motion increased and flexibility improved performance. Whenever I trained on my own and skipped stretching I pulled a muscles or pinched a nerve at least a quarter of the time.

    • Thanks for the comment John. You bring up a valid reason where one can benefit from stretching, and one I tried to touch upon in the article. It’s not that that there aren’t many people such as yourself who benefit from stretching – I’d actually say there are a whole lot of people who do, and if they don’t stretch they don’t feel as good as they do when they do stretch. But it is the “why do I have to stretch” that is the most important. For you, the psoriatic arthritis and the crohns is most likely a huge part of this “why.” With both diseases, as I mention in the links to my DRG site, you’re dealing with a lot of inflammation, (among other issues, of course), and that inflammation will have widespread effects to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These autoimmune conditions almost always have an underlying food allergy, heavy metal toxicity, or some other cause/offender (such as MSG or Aspartame toxicity) provoking the immune response resulting in pain and inflammation, and your “need” to stretch. Is stretching better than popping some pills (or more)? You bet. And if that’s what it takes then I say stretch, stretch, and stretch more. But you’re not really addressing the underlying condition. In my experience these problems can be dealt with at the source so you don’t need to stretch, though if you still want to then you’re actually not causing some problems that you could be now from stretching, because you’ll naturally be more flexible.

      One of my examples and exceptions that I note is the professional ballet dancers who I see (see the testimonials on this site) who now stretch significantly less once they have cleaned up their diet and other health issues. Not only do they stretch less, (but yes, still stretch), they are MORE flexible, and LESS injured.

      I hope that shines some more light on this stretching subject!

  14. I think you should do some research into collagen tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos and hypermobility. Some of the newer research on these conditions may have you broaden your viewpoints and recommendations, or at the least, add new dimensions to your thinking. For instance, many of those dancers you talk about, may in fact have hypermobility as an underlying condition. Or many of those with inflammatory conditions (which you attribute to food allergy), may in fact have more to do with genetics than diets. Diets can certainly help, but genetics may play a larger role.

    By the way, I’m not suggesting you’re wrong. You sound like a smart guy and I believe the more people who become aware of underlying problems like Ehlers-Danlos, the more we can truly understand about the structure of the billions of expressions of our genetics.

    • Bendy, I appreciate the comments. Yes there are exceptions, and Ehlers-Danlos may certainly be one of them. Genetics do play a huge role in many diseases, but also a lot of these genetics can be influenced and manipulated (for better or worse) to various degrees via diet and lifestyle modifications. I can’t specifically comment on Ehlers-Danlos, as I have not seen a patient with the disease.

      Not all inflammatory issues are from a food allergy, but some are, and many can be provoked by a food sensitivity. Sure many dancers may have some hypermobility issues, actually I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them do; it’s probably part of what makes them good (genetically) at what they do. But change their diet, habits, and fix old injuries and muscle imbalances and amazing things happen – they need to stretch significantly less.

  15. Megan Zetter says:

    Excellent and informative article. Thank you!

  16. Besides following a low-inflammation diet and/or reducing stress, is there any quick solution to increasing B12 intrinsic factor?

    • Meat and eggs would be your best option for B12. Or of course supplementation. I see methyl B12 to work better than the common Cyan or Hydroxyl B12. Also, a common sign of B12 deficiency is a MCV >90.0 in a typical CBC w/differential blood test. Greater than 90 could indicate B12 of folic acid deficiency, most often.

      • I was wondering if it would be at all possible to elaborate on this a little?

        My MCV is currently 92 and my B12 is 301…

        1. The “normal” range for B12 is 200-900pg/ml. In your opinion, how high should B12 be?
        2. When you say “B12 of folic acid deficiency” what do you mean?

        Thanks,

        Ethan

        • 1. The B12 blood test, in my opinion and a lot of experience, are useless. I’ve never seen an abnormal one though plenty of people are deficient. A better test is a urine test called a FIGLU Test, which not many run.

          2. That should say B12 OR (not of) Folic. The reason is this: Red Cells (RBCs) mature in your bone marrow and get smaller as they develop. If they mature improperly and are released too soon, then they are released too large giving a high MCV – mean cellular volume. This is also known as megablastic anemia, though it’s usually not called that unless the MCV is over 98, if not 100.

  17. Greg from LR says:

    Hey Doc,

    I am 22 years old, more active than average, but very inflexible. I’ve played sports my entire life and inflexibility has always been a problem (according to my coaches), but I have never sustained a significant injury. I would like to become more flexible so increase performance and be less at risk for injury. What is the healthiest way to increase my flexibility without stretching?

    Also, I recently started wearing orthotics to combat foot pain related to walking or standing for long periods of time (very flat footed). The orthotics definitely make it more comfortable to stand or walk for long periods of time, but now it hurts to wear any other shoe. I’m open to going back to no orthotics, but what is your recommendation for people like me with very flat feet or general foot pain with any shoe?

    Thanks

    • How is inflexibility a problem in your sport? Can you elaborate on this. If you’re not injured, then you may be just fine. But the way to naturally increase flexibility.

      But wait! Your 2nd paragraph says you’re waring orthotics because you have foot pain – so you have an injury! Check out the orthotics post. I recently updated it with info on flat feet. This is very individualized, but you need to start walking barefoot as much as you can and start weaning off the orthotics.

  18. Don’t eat food!
    No wait, don’t eat bad food.

    Don’t stretch!
    No wait, don’t do bad stretching.

    Good way to draw attention and increase web traffic, but the titillating title tactic is a turn-off.

    “Stop static stretching” may not be as catchy, but it’s more honest. ‘Stretching’ isn’t a technical term. I think for most people it connotes yoga-type movements and dynamic stretching as well as static stretching. If the goal is to educate, then this distinction should be made clear from the get-go, in the title, especially since the comment section has made you aware that a lot of stuff is only half-read at best.

    Still, thanks for the article, and the follow-up humor.

  19. What about the fact that animals have much higher circulating levels of thymosins and much lower myostatin expression? Doesn’t that make their muscles much more pliable and flexible than humans? If a dog gets cut, they heal much faster than humans do due the fact that they have such high levels of thymosin beta 4.

    Is there a way that we as humans can raise our natural levels of thymosins? Is there a way that we can minimize our myostatins?

    • I can’t comment on that Guy; I don’t know enough about it. Though if it is a consideration it would lead to an assumption that different mammals are more flexible than others, but that would still be “natural” for each individual mammal. I would not think it is a factor though unless a human had a gene mutation affecting the thymosin or myostatin, and I don’t know how common or uncommon that is. But feel free to share any knowledge on your end.

      • In my limited understanding, thymosins, and specifically thymosin beta 4, are higher in other mammals than humans. Greyhounds and thoroughbred horses have been studied for this gene since it supposedly is a predictor of faster animals. Thymosins are responsible for healing due to their effects on endothelial cell differentiation, angiogenesis, keratinocyte migration, and collagen deposition. Higher levels of thymosins are linked to lower injury rates in these animals, hence making them a better investment for serious investors. Thymosin beta 4 in particular is responsible for relaxing the muscles, which is likely the reason why we do not see animals stretching. Their high levels of thymosins probably keeps their muscles loose, and their fascial tissues likely are not as susceptible to adhesions as humans’ tissues.

        Animals are much more independent than humans are when it comes to injuries. If you or I suffered a serious wound, we would likely need medical intervention to close the wound, but if you look at other mammals, they can sustain quite serious lacerations and they heal rapidly. I remember when my puppy stepped on a nail that literally went through her foot. I called the vet, and he said to wrap it up and bring her in first thing in the morning. By the next morning, she was almost completely healed. The vet’s words to me was, “God certainly made them more resilient than he made us.” Had I suffered a similar injury, I would’ve required immediate medical attention, and it would taken me weeks to heal. Ironically, it was this event that got me so interested in why animals heal so much faster than we do.

        I may be jumping the gap here and overreaching, but I’m wondering if the very same things that make animals heal faster than us also allows them to stay more “supple” and overall healthier tissues than us as well.

        As for myostatin, we have this gene that actually inhibits muscle growth. But mind you, that gene can also act on muscle healing. Myostatin is a secreted TGF beta protein that acts primarily on skeletal muscle by binding to the activin type II receptor. Animals have lower levels of myostatin than humans do and hence they gain muscle easier than humans do. Just look at how well muscled a gorilla or lion is. Yet, do you see them working out? Humans by comparison need alot of stimulus to induce muscle growth. But even a lion in captivity is muscular and powerful. And even a small chimp is capable of literally tearing the limbs off of a human.

        I don’t know where I’m going with this since this isn’t exactly about stretching or loose vs tight muscles, but I suspect that there might be some kind of parallel as to why animals stay more flexible than humans. I don’t know if it’s because of thymosins, myostatin, or some other mechanism, but I do believe that there is something about animal biochemistry that sets them apart from humans.

        Anyways, the Jack LaLanne just really caught my attention, and I thought maybe there was more science as to why you don’t see lions stretching. I can only speak based on what I know about dogs, but even then I’m reaching for a comparison of healing to muscle flexibility.

  20. Forever Student says:

    Doc,
    I’m mostly interested in your opinion of post-exercise stretching. I agree that physiological research has shown that stretching causes excessive elongation of muscle fibers. This temporarily weakens the fibers, reducing strength and increasing the probability of injury. Static stretching should never be done before activity. However physiological research HAS shown that light post-activity static stretching increases blood flow, flexibility, and decreases recovery time.
    Additionally, and this is just an interesting tidbit, I’m not sure if you own a cat or dog, but my dog stretches all the time. Usually after laying down and resting for a long time. And I see my friends’ cats and dogs stretch as well. Granted Dog-stretches aren’t 30-second holds, more like 2-second holds, but the point is that Yes, animals DO stretch.

    • I still don’t think that static stretching is beneficial post-exercise, other than perhaps the exceptions (dancers, gymnasts) as I mention. I still feel that as with a warm-up, aerobic activity and natural movements (dynamic stretching as some call it) are always best. I know of some studies that show that static stretching post exercise provides absolutely no benefit for decreasing muscle soreness; I am not sure on the parameters you mention, but I am interested. If you could point to those studies where static stretching has been shown to increase blood flow, flexibility, and decrease recovery I would like to check them out. One thing I am curious of with such studies is the comparison/control groups – dynamic stretching, aerobic cool-downs, or crashing on the couch afterwords?

      And yes, on your dog/cat, as I mention towards the end of the post animals of course do stretch but they don’t static stretch – they move naturally.

      • Peter M. says:

        1) I have also come upon statements that while it is quite commonly accepted that stretching done PRIOR a workout makes little sense or difference (they didn’t go as long as saying that it will cause more harm than bring benefits) but it is still important to stretch AFTER an activity. The reasoning would be that physical exertion and muscle work make them “tense” and contracted so it’s important to stretch – maybe not so much to elongate (loosen, expand) them excessively but to actually bring them back from the post-workout, tense, contracted state to their “normal” state. If not, then the next workout would begin with muscles still somewhat “contracted” after the previous workout (assumption being that everyday activities in between consecutive workouts – since often of much lower intensity – don’t “loosen them up” too much) and the next workout would still diminish their range of work etc. up to the point of injury or losing flexibility and reducing range of joint movement etc.

        I’ve also heard opinions (from a pretty good sports orthopaedic surgeon) that it wouldn’t also hurt to moderately, prior to the workout, stretch only the muscles that “bend something” such as the hamstring, back calf muscles and that muscles in the front of the hips (the groin area?) responsible for raising thighs forward (sorry if I’m unclear, English is not my native tongue) – and then do a full stretch procedure on all major muscle groups (both the “benders” and the “straighteners”) after the workout.

        From reading your thorough and informative article I can already presume (am I right?) that it if indeed there would be any excessive tension or contraction of some muscles, it would not really be because they’ve just worked hard but rather because their antagonist muscles are too weak (imbalance) so the contraction and tension are distributed unevenly and don’t “level out”. After all, if all muscles are firm in harmony, the bones will not let them contract indefinitely :)

        2) Some sources describe and recommend the PIR (post-isometric relaxation) method of static stretching. So it would not be a typical “stretch and hold” situation. In the PIR procedure, one would gently stretch a muscle to the point of first signs of pain or tension (“pull” feeling). Then one would hold this position and apply gentle tension (up to about 20% of normal force, for about 8-10 seconds) to the muscle. This is supposed to overcome the neuromuscular feedback mechanism and make the muscle expand – which one actually feels since the feeling of tension or pain disappears. This is followed by relaxing the muscle (still holding the same position). Next, one stretches the muscle again, again to the point of the first pain or “pull” and so on. The cycles can be repeated up to the point at which pain or tension do not subside – which means that the muscle has reached its final relaxing potential.

        What is your take on this?

        3) Your criticism is mainly – as you write – towards static (stretch and hold) method but you seem to be saying that dynamic stretching “if done properly” can be beneficial. Would you please elaborate on this a little? What would be the best “natural movement” stretches? Should they be performed prior to the workout of following the workout (vis-a-vis warm-up and cool-down)?

        Thank you for all your great input! I live far from US but really benefit greatly from the site :)

        Thank you very much.

        • 1) I don’t agree with stretching before or after. Physical exertion makes them “tense” is a misnomer – if you’re training to the point that they are abnormally “tense” then you’re doing something wrong. I don’t see how stretching after a workout is going to benefit a workout much later. If your muscles aren’t recovering on their own, something is not right.
          I don’t agree with that ortho surgeon. Sorry. They’re great at surgery, and nothing personal to him/her but most surgeons are great at what they do, but they know as much about prevention and treatment as I do about surgery (that’s not much).
          Yes on the 3rd paragraph.

          2) I think PIR is not as bad as static stretching. If you’re going to do it I’d make sure you contract the antagonist muscle.

          3) As I note I think that term dynamic stretching is a silly term. It’s natural movement – squat, bend, lift, etc… we don’t need to call this stretching. I’m a fan of MovNat (movnat.com) and I think they should be performed everyday. It doesn’t matter when.

          REMEMBER (for everybody): the main point of the article is to put in your head: “WHY DO I NEED TO STRETCH?” – that’s the message here. Don’t just blindly do something because someone told you so or your heard it is good and everybody is doing it.

          • Peter M. says:

            Thank you, Sir, for your kind and informative reply. I totally agree with your comment on narrow “focuseness” of many medical professionals.

            Talking of PIR – I understand that you mean simultaneous, slight contraction of the antagonists? E.g. PIR-stretching the hamstring should be accompanied by contracting the quad a little at the same time?

            Thank you again for all good info throughout this site, which I digest with real pleasure.

          • You’re welcome and yes on the PIR question > contract the quad.

  21. Wow, finally someone who agrees with me! I could not figure out static stretching for the life of me when I was running track and XC in high school. Then again they also coached me into a very long stride which caused all sorts of issues. Now I’m running naturally, barefoot at times, much better form, and no stretching! Mostly because I’m lazy, and I’d rather spend my time running rather than stretching. I think what has been key for me (very rarely am I ever sore after runs) is a good warm up and cool down.

  22. What’s missing here is the fact that most people’s bodies are OUT OF ALIGNMENT due to bad postural habits, too much sitting, and poor cultural messages about how to use our bodies. Stretching to regain alignment — not stretching for stretching’s sake — is completely necessary unless we want to continue to walk, jump, and run with poor alignment — which is what causes injury.

    • Well, though stretching will never correct a misalignment more than temporarily. You can’t stretch an over-facilitated “tight” muscle and expect it to become normally facilitated or inhibited.

      • So how else would you recommend to re-align a misaligned body – please don’t mention diet :). Also can you recommend a good book/ resource on range-of-motion exercises to increase flexibility.

        • I recommend a healthy lifestyle and seeing a doc or therapist who knows how to address “flexibility” issues, if needed.

  23. sock-doc, I started running about 2 months ago and about 2 weeks ago i started doing calf raises all the time, and walking on my toes and heels which i read only was good for preventing shin splints since i had some pain but then went away, but ive also been stretching a lot, but i like what i read here and im going to stop… right now im having what i think are shin splints in both legs but more in my right one so im taking it easy… my question is: is it good to keep on doing the calf raises and toe and heel walking?? i feel like it helps, i think my muscles are getting stronger in that area… im also switching to nike frees which are closer to minamilst and will ease into them… im 21 btw, thank you, i think all you say in videos and articles makes a lot of sense…. one more thing, so you dont stretch at all? ever?, not even for cooling down?

    • I don’t see any reason to keep doing those calf raises and they won’t prevent shin splints, or correct SS if you have them. Neither will stretching. No reason to do heel walking. No reason to do toe walking – these are all silly drills. Walk and run naturally (barefoot or in minimalist shoes, whatever you are ready for) and check out the Shin Splint post and video on this site. The Nike Free are good. Get the 3.0, not the ‘+’.

      And no, Sock Doc never ever stretches. I move a lot though in full range of motion. I would never hold a static stretch; that’s absurd.

      • thanks a lot for replying… one more question though, won’t the calf raises at least make my calves stronger which is good, or is running enough of exercise for the calves?.. and i already got the +3, so maybe in the future ill but the 3.0.. thanks a lot

        • They only will once the muscle is working correctly, and if it’s injured then it isn’t. You can “turn on” a muscle with exercise. It will never happen. Once the injury is corrected then you can do exercises. But calf raises will only get you so far – run hills, run barefoot – so much better.

  24. Just so you know you’re not alone on this: as far back as 1998 the dutch exercise fysiologist Gerard van der Poel published the result of a 10-year literature study on this subject. Maybe the dutch olympic commitee NOC-NSF has an english translation, I’ll ask. If not I can summarize and translate the main points if you want. The literature list alone is 7 printed pages :). Maybe there’s something interesting in it…

  25. Matthew from Brno says:

    Hi Sock-Doc,
    I wanted to write again as I have another question for you.
    I have been running pain free for 4 months and now in my final prep for the start of the tri season but last weekend I pulled a muscle in my pec trying to remove the pedal on my bike!
    After two days I massaged the area with my finger but I made it hurt more. At the weekend it was even difficult to breathe without pain (although not impossible – I ran a half marathon on Saturday). It is also hard to get out of bed in the morning.
    The doctor said I have probably torn the muscle and has told me to start a stretching routine as soon as the pain reduces but I wondered what your approach would be to this. I am hoping to take part in my first tri in 2.5 weeks but am frightened to swim although I am still cycling and running.
    What do you think is a sensible approach to returning to swimming?
    Many thanks for your advice

    • Well that sucks.

      A torn muscle and he says stretch? Unbelievable. Of course I would never give that advice.

      Try looking for another trigger point in that shoulder area not on the pec where you injured it. BTW – I’m assuming you were using a pedal wrench and if so, then your pecs aren’t very active during that motion unless you were really pushing (down) hard. You sure it’s your pec?

      • Matthew from Brno says:

        Not sure, but that’s where the pain is. I was leaning over my bike, using the wrench in my right hand and bracing the left pedal with my left hand (probably stupid I know) so yes, I think I was pushing down with left arm and pulling up with right.
        I realized earlier in the week that this area has not felt right for a long time, not painful but there has been a general tightness there. Can you advise any areas to check?

        I posted this somewhere else first – sorry if you have to read it twice!

  26. Mike Sakata says:

    Hi Sock-Doc,

    I’ve had a problem with quadriceps tendonitis since doing squats without warming up properly a few years ago. I play lots of volleyball and feel it every now and then playing or going down stairs. Most of what I’ve read concerning preventing recurrence recommends stretching the quads and I have found that helps when I’m doing it regularly. However, I was wondering if there might be a typical muscle imbalance which can lead to quadriceps tenodonitis? I like to stay away from static stretching as much as possible doing dynamic warmups and such, but not sure what to do about the tendonitis? Ideally if there is an exercise or something else which could help in prevention I would prefer that to continuing stretching.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  27. Thank you for this article. I used to stretch a lot and got lower back pain from tight hamstrings (sometimes extremely painful and couldn’t stretch much past my knees) so I stretched more and more. Since January after reading this I haven’t stretched once. I feel so much better – to make my point, I did a 100Km mountain bike ride yesterday and can bend past my toes today with no pain anywhere. I have been recommending no stretching to people for weeks now but all I get is weird looks! To anyone critical, just give it a go for a month before ridiculing it. Thanks again.

    • I love to hear this stuff – thanks for sharing!

      • Peter M. says:

        “I love to hear this stuff ” – well, then I hope a little update from me won’t hurt your ears :)

        When I started running (a comeback after quite many years off, in the meantime an anterior cross ligament surgery and a complicated calf fracture right above the ankle – both on the same leg) my legs protested in a variety of ways when forced to the long-forgotten activity (I did recreationally bike a lot but that’s a different type of burden on the muscles). Muscle soreness here and there, knee pains, ankle pains… I was really worried if I could keep going and the prospect of abandoning running was looming on the horizon. I gradually worked up to about one hour of continuous jog but still was coming back home sore and exhausted. And then – cold turkey – did the PIR stretching.

        Then 3 things happened – largely as a result of my perusing natural running resources, including this site:
        1) I started using a heart rate monitor;
        2) I decided to follow the Maffetone’s formula and the “take it easy, build the aerobic base first” approach;
        3) I stopped stretching entirely.

        Well… for now, it’s been working very well for me. The HRM immediately told me that I had been simply going too fast during the previous runs, putting too much workload on the body in the anaerobic (or mixed) zone. So now I’ve been doing my runs (much of this is still easy trotting along) without red face with pounding veins or gallons of sweat, with no pain or soreness and with sheer pleasure of moving outdoors. I can very quickly recover after every run. Of course, it’s not about competition but leisure and recreation – but in this area and for my specific individual purpose I can easily answer the WHY question to stretching by saying “well, I don’t really see any good reason”. Thanks, Doc!

  28. ChiRunner says:

    Hi Doctor;

    I’m dealing with a recurring calf injury, I understand trigger points and am massaging the area regularly, it is deep in the belly of the calf muscle and radiates down to my heel. There is alot of information on your site and I am trying to figure out the best way to, not only, get back to train for my ultra, but treat the injury so that it is not a constant ‘weak point’ (I push my pace on hills and the calf muscles strains then quickly pulls). Nutritionally I am a vegetarian, and am wondering if the B12 deficiency may be part of my issue.

    Thanks

    Kathleen

    • B12 deficiency could be, but so could a protein deficiency or a carbohydrate excess, or a fatty acid deficiency. Could be overtraining too…lots of things to consider.

  29. Doc,
    About a year ago, I began switching my running style to midsole striking (although I continued to wear support running shoes) and ran pain free for about 6 months. Then I had achilles tendonitis for which I followed physical therapy’s orders with stretching/ice/ibuprofen. It didn’t work. Finally, I did the opposite of the instructions and foam rolled my calf and it was better quickly. More recently, I developed knee/hip issues from tight glute/hamstring. I am seeing a chiro who is doing trigger point once a week but also recommending stretches (which I ignore). Sometimes I foam roll as well. I also am working on some dietary changes after having learned a few things on your site, which may be part of the reason I keep getting injured. Thank you.

    However, I just started wearing Kinvara 2 in the past couple weeks and now I have a sharp pain in my foot. Maybe I did too much too soon?

    I thought I might have broken one of the little bones but from the descriptions I’ve read, it doesn’t seem that way (it’s not tender on top). But it’s very sore to the touch on the under side of my foot in the middle of the arch (when I press firmly). It hurts when I run and if I stand flat footed but not if I stand on my toes. Is it soft tissue damage? Is it likely I can do some home trigger point with a golf ball or my thumb (it’s very painful so I lose confidence in it being best for me) or does this sound like something that needs professional care? My issue is that I haven’t agreed with their diagnoses/treatment in the past but I don’t want to make it worse. Thanks for any suggestions!
    Best, Sara

    • I’ll have a foot video soon but I go over the foot a bit in the other videos – including the Knee Video; check them out.
      Re: The Kinvara – could be too soon, or could be that style/model just doesn’t work for you.

  30. Roby Mitchell M.D. says:

    The “zero tolerance” title is misleading. You obviously advocate stretching in some circumstances. Most people normally think in only 2 dimensions-its good/bad,black/white. More thought than that is more intellectual energy than most want to expend. Priming the thought process of the reader with that title leaves little room for the discernment expressed several paragraphs and replies down. Yoga is extremely beneficial.

    • Sure – I would agree there but I wouldn’t call it “misleading”. A title “Stop Static Stretching but Do Natural Movement and Let’s Not Use the Term Dynamic Stretching and Yoga is Okay if it’s Not Just Stretching” – a bit long :)

  31. Uttam Rajan says:

    Hello Doc,

    I have been reading a lot of the information you have discussed about AT and also watched your 9 minute video. I have AT from over training my body by running too much. I want to get back to running ASAP so what do you suggest I do? I eat very healthy. Should I just use The Stick and Trigger Point Therapy to help? Also can I lift weights or should I just eliminate everything that I am doing and just rest my legs? Thank you for your advice.

    Uttam Rajan

    • Check out the video as well as the Sock Doc Training Principles and other articles on overtraining.

      • Uttam Rajan says:

        What video are you referring back to in particular?

        • The Achilles Tendonitis Video as well as the Trigger Point article & video.

          • Uttam Rajan says:

            Sox Doc,

            How do I know when I can start doing exercises on my leg again? What do you recommend I do to get back to running?

          • I can’t advise you when it is safe for you to go running again since I don’t know the extent of your injury. That is best left for you to decide as well as your doc or therapist.

          • Uttam Rajan says:

            Are there any signs of when I know that I am able to start doing activity again?

  32. Trying yoga toes for foot health. any experiences with them?

  33. Marcel P says:

    Hey Soc Doc, I’m pretty new to this no stretching philosophy although it makes a lot of sense, my only concern is that if i’m not stretching before high intensity exercise, what should I be doing? I would assume that I should perhaps be increasing blood flow to the muscles I plan on using, for example for a squatting workout have a nice anaerobic workout perhaps on the bike followed by a few sets of squats with no or little weight. Is that accurate? Is there anything else I should be doing? I tend to get a lot of that “Tight” feeling post workout, usually the day after, or after I play sports or run, should I then increase the length of my cool down? I am really interested to find out what I can do to prevent this post workout soreness and avoid pulling or tearing muscles during explosive movement without stretching, looking forward to your response!
    Another thing to add to my above comment, I typically don’t run and the training program for a new hockey team I am training with includes a lot of running, we run about 8k every second day, after about a week of that I developed some ITBS and can’t run now. I feel as though I should be treating it but if i’m not doing stretches for the surrounding muscles, what should I be doing? I do roll out the area daily should I continue to do that?

  34. Quite informative, my favorite part is was the quote about seeing a lion stretch before it pounces.
    I just have a few brief questions. You’ll have to excuse me as I have not had a chance to read through all the comments yet.

    1.) A day after strenuous activity, it seems that stretching is almost relaxing for the muscle, should I stop this and let the muscle remain in a contracted state?

    2.) When I have a calf cramp, the trainer always puts me on my back and stretches it out, should I just let the muscle do its thing or do you know of another way to massage the muscle back to norm?

    3.) One other thing, up until my mid-teens, almost every morning I had the urge to stretch out in bed or soon there after. Not a specific muscle but just my arms up and legs down. I figure this to maybe just a symptom of growth? Similar to the butt-kicks and high knees you mentioned, a more nature and unstatic stretch?

    Thanks, I look forward to your thoughts.

    • 1.) A day after strenuous activity, it seems that stretching is almost relaxing for the muscle, should I stop this and let the muscle remain in a contracted state? Your muscle should not be in a “contracted state”.

      2.) When I have a calf cramp, the trainer always puts me on my back and stretches it out, should I just let the muscle do its thing or do you know of another way to massage the muscle back to norm? I would use deep pressure for a cramp, though sometimes stretching it helps relieve it. But you should not always be cramping and stretching.

      3.) One other thing, up until my mid-teens, almost every morning I had the urge to stretch out in bed or soon there after. Not a specific muscle but just my arms up and legs down. I figure this to maybe just a symptom of growth? Similar to the butt-kicks and high knees you mentioned, a more nature and unstatic stretch? If you have the urge to move that is normal and healthy – if you feel “stiff” then that is a problem – usually something nutritional – fatty acid imbalances are common.

  35. Dale Brown says:

    Hi Doc, great article!

    I’m kind of new to the no stretching philosophy, but it all makes sense to me. I have a question about muscle imbalances. I practice martial arts and have very tight hamstrings. Does this mean that I need to in turn strengthen my quadriceps? The tight hamstrings seem limit flexibility and I believe this causes knee pain. Wouldn’t weak quadriceps muscles cause the hamstrings to tense up and in turn cause a muscle imbalance thus limiting flexibility? Thanks

    • No it doesn’t mean that because just as you can’t stretch to inhibit (dampen) a tight muscle you can’t exercise to facilitate (turn on) one either. But neurologically weak quads can tighten your hammies – and that could be from a pelvis imbalance or digestive problem – most commonly anyway. Calf issue perhaps too. Check out the trigger point post for more on this.
      http://sock-doc.com/2012/04/trigger-point-therapy/

  36. Hi Doc
    I am a competitive cross country ski racer, and about 7 months ago I injured my back downhill skiing. Prior to the incident, I had never really stretched at all in my life, and after the injury I realized all of the muscles in my body are super tight,and I have many muscle imbalances, causing my pelvis to be twisted. My physio got me static stretching ( with warm muscles) for 30 min every day for about the past 5 months, which didn’t really help at all. I’ve recently started using a foam roller and doing trigger point therapy with a raquetball, which I think may be helping a bit. I should be training about 12 hours per week, but my back pain has limited my training to about 5 hours per week. Do you think I should keep on stretching?

    Thanks

    • Of course as you know from reading the article I am against this type of static stretching, especially during an injury. It hasn’t helped you anyway, so why would you continue. Since you’re seeing improvements with the trigger point work you should keep doing that and then hopefully find a chiropractor, rolfer, or massage therapist who can help you sort out those muscle imbalances.

  37. Mallory says:

    As a dancer, I find it very beneficial to stretch when injured. I’m not talking about hard stretches, just slowly getting back into the flexibility I normally have. I have pulled my hamstring before and I just slowly go back into the splits, not in the same day but in a month or so, if not longer. Stretching is very important to me because as a dancer, I have to go beyond what a normal person can do, if a normal person can lift their leg at 90 degrees then I have to be able to lift my leg 180 degrees and stretching allows me to do that. I do experience a lot of pain but in the end it makes me a better dancer. I know that if I stretch too much that it will take a toll on my body but in the end, I would rather be a little uncomfortable than not be able to do the thing that I love

    • Yes and this is the case I make in the article and see in the dancers that I treat. But the healthier you are the less you will “need” to stretch to keep your dancing flexibility. Thanks for the comment!

      • Teresa Hynes says:

        Hello Doc,

        I read your comments with interest. Since a diagnosis two years ago of ‘Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction’ almost every health professional I have seen insisted on static exercises, usually for a 30 sec hold. Several pairs of rigid running shoes + orthotics haven’t alleviated the pain on walking.

        Recently, I purchased a pair of ‘Fitflops’ and stopped exercising as my feet were too tender & inflammed. Since then, I am walking pain-free without Orthotics or exercising.
        My question is – will I pay for this later? i.e. disregarding the experts?

        I don’t understand how these lovely soft sandals are supporting my feet.

        Thanks for your articles.

        Teresa

        • Well I’ve never heard of FitFlops so I had to look them up. I sure wouldn’t wear them but good for you that they perhaps got you out of pain and you don’t need orthotics. Maybe the stopping exercising helped too? Anyway, my advice would be to try now to get out of those FitFlops and truly strengthen your feet. If you have problems w/o them then they are supporting your feet, not actually strengthening them – and that’s a problem as you know. If that’s the case, then slowly wean off them as I describe here: http://sock-doc.com/2012/04/lose-your-shoes/

  38. Josef Duplessis says:

    Interesting information, except for the bogus stuff about vegetarians and persons who consume lots of carbohydrates being more prone to inflammation. What? Do you have a hidden agenda here for Atkinson or Paleo diet or something?

    • Actually it’s very well known that excess carbohydrates result in excess insulin which results in inflammation. This is biochemistry – not “bogus” stuff. If you don’t know what you’re taking about you can either ask or investigate on your own rather than comment in such a way.

  39. Wow, I found your site while I was searching for shoes for overpronation. I was amazed the more I read! I have “flat feet”/ overpronation, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, painful feet, legs, hips. I have had this for years. I have gone to physical therapy and the next step is orthotics according to my doc. I only wear Dansko shoes (I’m a nurse and on my feet all day at work) or orthaheel shoes and my feet and legs still hurt. I never go barefoot because of pain and what my doc and therapist told me! My calf muscles are so tight and knotted! I thought stretching and doing yoga were helping me. I tried running last year but the pain was not bearable. Sorry, to ramble on but I am amazed at the possibility of actually finding a helpful solution to my problem. I will start going barefoot in my home and see how it goes. 1.Are you familiar with Triggerpoint Performance Therapy and their products? If so, is it okay to use their products?
    2. I am having alot of pain in my legs and feet now. I usually do stretch and it helps with the pain. However, I have learned on your site that is not good for my muscles. Won’t the walking barefoot make it worse? I am looking at a full work week on my feet and trying to imagine how to get through it without stretching and ibuprofen.
    Thank you!!

    • I have patients who are also nurses and they were Vivobarefoot or some other low to zero-drop shoes. Dansko are terrible for your feet.
      Please read the articles in the “Start Here” box in the upper right homepage corner – especially Healthy People = Barefoot People.

      • Thank you! I will try a zero-drop shoe. I have been walking barefoot in my home all this week but wore my Dansko’s to work. When is a good time to go to a zero drop shoe for work and exercise? Do I need to go barefoot at home for a while longer before I try all day in a zero drop shoe at work? I am still having pain in my feet, legs, and hips and knee. I am working on the trigger points- I have a lot of trigger points in my gastroc muscle and around my hip. Thank you so much for all the wonderful info on your site. I want to start the aerobic exercise soon but not sure how much I should do barefoot or with minimalist shoe this soon. Any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!

        • Susan – it’s all individualized. Best free advice I can give you is to read the articles I mentioned. The Healthy People = Barefoot People answers these questions.

        • Susan – Excellent advice from Soc Doc. Having similar problems (though no two people are alike) may I suggest that you take it really easy when trying to go barefoot. If it makes you feel worse, ease off or stop – it may be too much of a change for you at present.

          Given the amount of pain you are experiencing & the misalignment problems, it seems evident that your nervous system is in overdrive & also sending out wrong messages to your muscles (pain is experienced in the brain, it is also the nervous system that moves muscles).

          My best advice for someone with your concerns is to seek guidance from a practitioner experienced in working with the nervous system, not just muscles. For example, visit http://www.zhealth.net and look for the most highly certificated practitioner (trainer) in your area. You can also email the folks at zhealth with any questions. I have no affiliations to zhealth, but am getting better outcomes working with my local trainer than I’ve had with anything else I’ve tried up till now. Good luck!

          Joanna

          • Joanna- thank you for your response. I did visit the zhealth site and it does make sense that my nervous system is in overdrive. Unfortunately, there is not a certified trainer in my area. I have emailed zhealth and will probably try their products at home.

            Sock Doc- are you familiar with zhealth and their products?
            Thank you again for your websites; I am learning so much to regain my health.

          • Yes I have and I’ve heard good things. I have a much different treatment approach but I think the people at Z-Health are worth a shot.

          • Susan – I think there are Z Health Trainers that do Skype consultations. Trying to fix it all yourself may be a little tricky. Otherwise other approaches that dialogue with the brain such as Somatics are also worth a try. This practitioner seems very experienced & does both personal & Skype consultations. She also has a book & DVD out: http://essentialsomatics.wordpress.com/. Best wishes, Joanna

  40. Nothing but respect... says:

    Sock Doc,

    I’ve read a couple of your articles after finding information about shin splints on youtube. You make many great points about the necessity of spending more time barefoot and I have always wondered about the value of stretching.. The way that you think outside of the “box” is great. Your patience and graciousness while being subjected to numerous personal attacks speaks highly of your character.

    Thanks for all of the free information!

  41. Hi I am a mixed-martial artist who has been doing stretching exercises one hour per day for the past few years because of the necessity of us martial artists to be able to kick not only higher than the opponent’s head, but also perform many flexible kicks in order to maximize our tactical choices in a fight. In the past I can only kick as high as the mid torso area, but now I can kick anywhere above anyone’s head.

    But is it true that stretching does weakens the muscles? Because comparing the amount of concrete blocks I can break with my leg when I first started stretching and now, not only is the kicking power of my legs not affected at all, but I can actually break a lot more blocks now. And in my fights with opponents, I really do not see any indication that my kicks are getting weaker over the years of stretching.

    So I am kinda confused when this article says that stretching weakens the muscles?? If that is the case, then maybe all Shaolin monks should just stop all of their daily stretching regimens altogether lol. But trust me, I’ve seen a Shaolin mark fight within a ring with an opponent, and his strikes are very powerful for his weight class. For them, they begin stretching from a very young age, and I seriously don’t think their muscles are weaker after years of stretching into their adulthood.

    -Victor

    • As noted in the article and comments, there are “exceptions” and martial arts is one of them. The weakening is a neurological-type weakness not necessarily a strength-type. Though I can’t personally comment since I don’t know how you train, I highly doubt you’re stronger (breaking more blocks), from stretching. That is a result of your training.

      But realize you still need to be careful when you stretch, though it definitely may help you with your flexibility so you can kick someone in the head :)

      • Dale Brown says:

        Hey guys, for what it is worth. I stopped stretching altogether except some occasional dynamic movements that mimic my kicks. I have not noticed ANY loss of flexibility. What I have noticed is that before my joints felt weird, and weak. Now, it seems that the muscles are bearing the load instead of the joints themselves. According to Thomas Kurtz, static stretching before the actual workout is very bad because the “limits” are neurologically weakened and your range of motion is no longer limited by the weakened muscle, but is limited by the joints themselves which is very bad. This seems to line right up with what the SOC-DOC is saying. Another thought is that what good are self defense techniques if one has to stretch before combat? Shouldn’t a person’s kicks be ready at a moments notice? Just some thoughts, but as for me, I avoid static stretches at all costs…just my 2 cents…

      • No I did not say that stretching makes me stronger. I said that stretching does not in any way, weaken the power of my kicks throughout all my years in martial arts. Ask any Muay Thai kicker who has trained(and stretched) for his entire life to execute a standard turning kick to a punching bag, and you will clearly see how there is not the slightest hint of any loss of muscle power…even if there were to be this so-called “neurological-type weakness” affecting him.

        Does it mean that if I had never stretched in the past, beginning from when I very first started martial arts, I would actually have tons more strength within my punches and kicks etc right now? Because I am really confused when I read the section that says “Stretching Weakens Muscles”.

        What about those crazy Shaolin monks who can bend their arms or legs around like a contortionist out of their intense stretching regimens, and can yet do one index-finger pushups, or stuff like one-finger handstands? You can easily find youtube vids of these stunts which often requires extraordinary power, endurance and will-power.

        • Remember the point of the article is to look at why you may need to stretch – and why so many do and area actually causing problems. Naturally flexibility is not about “stretching”, it’s about the health and balance of your nervous system. So as I note in some individuals, including the professional dancers I see, some static stretching may and often provides some benefit. This is true in your sport too. But more is not necessarily better and the healthier you are the more naturally flexible you will be. If you have health issues and/or stretch too much beyond your means, (which is completely individualized), then you risk injury. Stretching inhibits the muscles for various periods of times – some only seconds, some much longer. This is what I mean by “weakens”.

          There are always going to be exceptions, though rare. Contortionists have unusual abilities and the average person who tried to stretch their way into such shapes would only become injured. Of course you can get into the realm of spirituality and a higher level and do amazing things such as the monks you mention – and I’d attribute that to altering physiology much like a free diver can go to extreme depths and hold lower their heart rate to 15-20 BPM or monks can change their core temperature to amazing degrees. But in these cases (of flexibility) you’re not going to see these individuals simply just stretch day in, day out, until they can do these amazing things. Their flexibility (not stretching) is part of their overall enhanced physiology.

          I hope that helps you out.

  42. Doc,
    Great article! But I am still worried about my inflexibility, so I have a few questions to ask…

    I am not a very flexible person. In fact, since I was in Primary (Elementary) school, whenever the teachers made us stretch during Gym lessons, I would struggle badly (I couldn’t even touch my toes when my feet are joined together). Till today, even when I became pretty athletic, I still couldn’t do a full stretch and touch my toes, unlike most people. My teammates could easily stretch and find my inflexibility amusing.
    Now, stretching (static) became a chore to me as it hurts whenever I stretch, to the extent that I neglect/forgo my stretching sessions after my training sessions.

    Will my inflexibility do harm to me in any way? Are people flexible naturally? Do I still need to stretch regularly to prevent injury (as claimed by my coaches)?

    • Some people are more naturally flexible than others. Being inflexible is only going to harm you if there are muscle imbalances associated with it – and that may be hard for you to determine on your own. You should NOT try to stretch your way to more flexibility though – that’s why it hurts you and you will only increase your chance of injury. Don’t think that more flexibility = greater fitness or health because it doesn’t. And it definitely will not decrease injury rates.

  43. Hi there I just spend 10 minutes reading your theory, I have a question, I want to learn Kung fu, or even just be move flexible, I want to be able to stand on one leg the other one agasindt the wall and touch my chip on it, if stretching is bad how will I achieve this ? Some people in the king fu class can touch my face with there foot and I’m 6ft 2 . I want to be able to do this but how when. Now stretching is bad for you like most things in life. Thanks.

  44. Doc,
    I come from a bodybuilding background. I’m curious when you say about over training.
    A lot of bodybuilders lift heavy weights and do many sets targeting individual muscle groups and it seems
    The normal thing to have sore muscles for one or two days after while recovering, would you class that as overtraining?
    Obviously this is due to lactic acid build up, would stretching not help clear this, it certainly can make the muscle feel less sore afterwards.
    I do understand that tight muscles can be caused by muscle inbalance, certain muscles working harder to support a weaker muscles. But general muscle soreness is totally acceptable yeah? Its a part of recovery when trying to build muscle.
    What’s tips could you give to make recovery easier or help with lactic acid build up? Would you see this as more of a dietary or medical issue?
    I completely understand that stretching weakens a muscle and it should be ignored especially before lifting heavy weights as this can lead to injury. I just thought it could help with recovery (lactic acid build up). And I definitely don’t over train lol.
    Thank you for this brilliant post

    • Hi Matt. I would not call DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) “overtraining.” Actually when I lift, depending on what I am training for at a particular time of the year, I also look to be somewhat sore for the next one, or two days max.

      This soreness is NOT due to lactic acid build-up. That is (was) a huge myth and one that has been pretty much debunked now. Lactic acid is out of your system within the hour, often much sooner. The sore muscles you’re feeling are due to your body REPAIRING the micro-tearing in the fibers due to the training. It has nothing to do with lactate.

      Basically: Train hard = tear fibers = body repairs = muscles & other tissue become sore during the repair process. This is all necessary so you rebuild, repair, and get stronger. So stretching never (and I mean never) will help you shuttle lactate out of your blood. Can it make you feel less sore afterwords? I don’t think so. Maybe very temporarily since it is mechanical stimulation and that type of stimulation can block pain receptors so maybe that’s what you’re feeling. But stretching cannot speed up the repair process (and therefore make you less sore); actually I’d say you could stretch too much and increase damage and be more sore.

      As a bodybuilder you’re obviously more concerned with training anaerobic (Type II) muscle fibers but actually if you do some aerobic (Type I) training then that will help with your lactic acid processing (clearing your blood quicker), though again this lactic acid has nothing to do with DOMS. It will most likely help with recovery too. Compression of an area after a hard anaerobic workout/strength & conditioning can help with recovery also.

      Hope that helps!

  45. Thank you for replying to my questions and correcting me on some issues. I’ve been seeing a physio recently as I’ve got tight muscles in my shoulder. It started off in the front of my shoulder (bicep tendon) and has gradually spread to the rear of my shoulder and my neck to. I’m starting to think that I have a weak right pectoral muscle so my shoulder is over compensating for it, as it is bench press type movements that seem to cause the most pain. I’ve tried taking time off, my shoulder then seems better but soon after returning to the gym the pain comes back!
    The trouble is I’m not sure how to isolate my right pec to make it stronger without involving the right shoulder, that is if it’s my right pec that is the problem.
    I’m going to see a doctor sometime this week. I’m gonna ask for some blood tests and maybe a scan to see if there’s any underlying issues with my shoulder, I’m not sure what else to do.
    Thank you again

  46. Hi sock doc,

    Question: I was doing a hurdlers strectch and trying to touch my head to my outside knee that was pulled back to mu side and I felt somthing pop on the opposit side of my body in my lower left back near the start of my buttocks. I now have a terible pain in my lower left back over the last two days, along with weak leggs and it is hard to stand straight up.

    Please advise

  47. Kieren Geaney says:

    Hi Sock Doc,

    Thank-you for sharing the great content on this website. I have found it very useful – especially the common foot injuries video. I’m a distance hobbyist runner who has recently started barbell training. While I agree with what you have said about stretching, I think you could have defined exactly what you mean by “stretching”, as in the bad stretching. I know you need a headline to draw people in depending on how you stretch determines whether it’s good or bad.

    For example, I agree that holding a static stretch, like straining to touch your toes, is bad. When you reach for a stretch like this you take the muscle out of it’s natural state and you can feel it start twitching, trying to contract. Holding this pose is ignoring your body, not good – obviously.

    Dynamic stretching can be seen as good. It keeps elasticity and often these are done through a range of motion which keeps things as nature intended. Picking stuff up is what your body was designed for and a squat and deadlift will stretch most muscles in your legs and it’s important not to ‘hold these poses / lifts in the stretch position.

    What makes static & dynamic stretches different, apart from the duration? Tension – that’s what.

    You can have good ‘static stretches’. As you mentioned, yoga does this. The key point in my opinion to making a static stretch safe and beneficial is for the muscle to be under tension. It should be working and contracting slightly – weight bearing if you like. Keeping that muscle working while stretching it prevents damage from over stretching which I think is the real issue with static stretching.

  48. I find advice saying stretching is bad or everyone should stretch just plain stupid. There are certain athletes that definitely get plenty of mobility out of their chosen movements and stretching is simply not necessary. But to say no one should stretch is extremely short sighted in my opinion. Martial Artists, gymnasts, hand balancers, dancers NEED stretching to achieve the great amount of mobility required, this is not a debate you will not find a single successful trainee from those disciplines that did not put in HOURS worth of stretching in.

    Powerlifters, bodybuilders and others that train with weights without doing a sport NEED some kind of stretching/mobility program. Yes mobility exercises generally provide more bang for the buck for these guys but certain muscle groups can tighten up for these guys that only static stretches can get.

  49. Hello. A few days ago, I discovered your site and per your advice I began using TPT on my calf areas to try to relief the daily pain I have been experiencing in my feet/heels for several years now at an ever increasing rate of intensity. The results thus far have been absolutely amazing-thank you so much! Now on the road I believe to ridding myself of this issue, I began to think TPT might also help with some other aches and pains I have in my body. I know the muscles at the top of my back/shoulders are always full of knots which can’t be good! Would it be accurate to refer to these knots as trigger points? I have been thinking for along time I should get messages at try to work these out but just have not done it. While you mention self TPT and using chiropractors, biofeedback, etc., you make no mention of massage therapy. Do you think this type of therapy can be useful in identifying and treating various trigger points in areas that are hard for one to reach & treat themselves and if so, is there a particular “type” of massage you would recommend asking for when seeking out this type of service?
    Thank you,
    Angela
    BTW, I have also started addressing my poor nutritional, relaxation etc, habits which I realize have not been doing me any favors and need to be corrected for overall health.

    • Yes you can call those trigger points and yes I’m a big fan of massage therapy. There is not a particular type, you just need to find a good therapist – someone who knows how much pressure to apply and just doesn’t mash hard and beat the hell out of you. Also some massage therapists (docs too) aren’t confident enough to get into certain areas that often need work – front of neck, axilla (armpit), and upper adductors (groin).

  50. Hi Sock Doc,

    My question concerns treatment of stiffness post surgery. I’m about four months out of an open operation that removed scar tissue off my inguinal nerve on both groins (happened playing soccer). My right one feels great. My left one no longer hurts but is pretty stiff, strangely on the outside of the hip, and a little on the inside along the healing ridge (just inside the illiac crest). I’ve been stretching the damn thing for months and stopped the moment I read your article! Obviously the tightness is related to the surgery (I had none there prior to the surgery). Should I just focus on trigger point therapy and natural movements? Or might stretching, perhaps some dynamic, benefit this post surgery stiffness? So I guess my overall question is whether your advice is the same for those recovering from surgery? My diet is also Mark Sisson-perfect so I don’t think that’s an issue. Thanks for your help!

    • Yes, focus on the trigger points and natural movements. “Dynamic” stretching – pretty much same thing as natural movements. I see plenty of post-surgery problems, including groin/hernia issues. You gotta work out that scar tissue and any compensations that have developed.

      • Alright, thanks. I would also note that it’s now been about two weeks since I stopped static stretching. I already feel better! I went surfing yesterday for the first time since my surgery in cold water for 2 hours with absolutely no pain or stiffness, which is incredible. Could be a coincidence, I guess, but I do feel like this – massage and dynamic stretching/natural movements – is really working. Thanks again!

  51. I’m amazed at how little we know about our own bodies and how little sports science has advance on key areas, specifically knee and leg injuries. So that’s why I’m thankful for articles like yours and new studies that question what we’ve accepted as ‘fact’ for so long.

    I developed that most mysterious of sports injuries, the so-called “IT band syndrome” in the winter of this year and have been struggling with it ever since.

    It’s so-called because it seemed to appear in a different place each time, with no rhyme or reason and no warning. If it died down on the outside of the knee, it would appear farther up along the IT band. Sometimes I’d get pain on the Achilles, sometimes the outside of the knee. It felt like my whole legs were just breaking down.

    It is incredibly frustrating since nobody really knows what it is and how to heal it.

    There is SO MUCH speculation! In 2012!

    So I ended up trying what was recommended but also other alternatives. I stretched, static stretching with a ‘leash’, dynamic stretches before a run, had therapy with massage, and went periods without stretching at all.

    From what I experienced after each method, I’ve found that refraining from static stretching and focusing on massaging the affected areas seems to work the best. Also staying mobile when you have to work at a desk and getting plenty of time to walk around.

    Static stretching appeared to be counterproductive as every time I’d do it the muscles would immediately become sore, tight and even stiffer than before. It took me a long time to figure out the connection (if indeed there is one) since everybody and their mother is literally telling me to stretch, stretch, stretch.

    Can you blame me?

    The worst days of this injury are far behind me fortunately. Yet it still clings on stubbornly and I fear it will only creep back the more I continue to run on concrete or anywhere not on an elliptic machine. However I have been running farther and longer increasingly and this is a good sign. Yet I still think I should take at least a month off to really take care of this for good.

    This leads to the final option that many seem to be recommending these days; focusing on ‘muscle balance’. My legs are stronger and more developed than my upper body. Since I’ve been going to the gym regularly after the initial injury, I am wondering if there is truth to this.

  52. Leo Schlesinger says:

    Dear Sock Doc,

    I’m a long term stretcher considering quitting and was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to. First, a little background on me.

    I’ve stretched religiously since I was 10 (now 27), ever since doing so with my karate group. I now stretch 3-5 times a week at the gym, thoroughly each muscle I intend to target (anaerobic, mass gaining sets, 6-10 reps to failure over an hour). I recently took up MMA and was concerned by how little the instructor stretched us – and how many injuries I was picking up: ankle tendon leading to calf and hamstring seem to be most vulnerable.

    so the question is, how do I quit? Should I just go cold turkey, start lifting lighter weights and build back up again, reduce my stretching until I dont do it any longer, or another option?

    Thankyou, Leo

    • Hi Leo – remember the main point of the article is to look at WHY you stretch – and why you always need to stretch. So training, lifestyle, diet – all factors as I mention. You might find some real benefit in some deep tissue work – a good massage therapist or rolfer.

  53. Hi! really like your website, much good information :) this article is really good! I do yoga, and love it, so I was a bit skeptical untill I read the part about yoga! the problem in the western world is that we want results to fast and that we do things to show off! in yoga-temples in India there is no such thing as competition, you do it for your physical and spiritual health! In the beginning I had to remind myself all the time that it wasnt an competition, now at last I can do the exercises without comparing myself to the others!

    thank you for good and interesting articles!

  54. To quote Jack LaLanne, “Have you ever seen a lion stretch before it attacks?”

    Jack LaLanne has obviously not spent any time observing cats, large or small. Watch a cat as it wakes up, or just gets up after lying around. It stretches.

    There may be certain ways of stretching that are bad for you, but regularly moving through your full range of motion is stretching that maintains your ability to move through your full range of motion.

    Medicine is still more art than science in many ways, so there may be something to this web page that I have not discovered but I have not been impressed by the information I have seen as it flies in the face of my experience.

  55. Vladimir Kelman says:

    To me, there are some good points there, but it’s a bit on the extreme side.
    The most balanced advice I’ve heard is to do dynamic stretches (joint mobility) routine before strength exercises and running and to do static stretches after strength/conditioning/aerobic endurance workouts.

    P.S. What you’re saying about yoga makes sense, but I would also mention more dynamic Prasara Yoga and Scott Sonnon’s approach of combining yoga with strength training.

  56. hey there doc. quick question, what would you say is the best way for an active person to get more flexible?

    • Quick question but long answer because as you know from reading this and the other articles on this site, flexibility is a reflection of a healthy nervous system, not stretching.

  57. Hi Doc,
    I’m 24yrs old male & i do dyanmic stretches before my run or any workout like a soccer match with friends or weight training. And I end my workout with static streches is that ok or should i leave static streching altogether.
    And if i leave static streching what would be the best way to end my workouts?
    Please help,
    Cheers
    NITIN

    • I believe that using natural dynamic “stretches” after a proper warm-up (aerobic) and even after a workout are the way to go. As noted in the post, I don’t see much use for a true static stretch. End your workouts with an aerobic cool-down and some easy movements.

      • Thanks a lot Doctor for taking out time & replying. You’re a blessing! !! I’m learning so much from you & Dr. Mark, and I’m already feeling the differnce in my workout its amazing.
        Thanks a ton for being great :)

  58. Hey Doc,

    I enjoyed reading this article. My question is I have had pelvic pain for 7 years (started when 21 now 28), and recently I have discovered that there are multiple factors involved like the hips/glutes. Wouldn’t some stretching be needed to get the pelvis back to a neutral position? I have worked squats/lateral band walks in among other types of Egoscue exercises.

  59. Hello, Im fifteen and have had a lower back tightness and ache for 6 months. What do you think this is? Ive tried chiro, physio and all of that and they cannot fix it.

  60. http://goo.gl/jBsta

    “… there are many, many studies conducted, and most of them do not actually prove the things people think they prove.

    The study that apparently “proved” static stretching is bad was performed on runners doing some really silly amount of stretching prior to full-intensity sprinting. That’s not really how you properly program training – of course the results weren’t good.

    For just one example, it’s pretty well accepted recently that static stretching of hip flexors prior to jumping will increase vertical leap by reducing inhibition of the hip extension motion.

    My point is simply that you can’t make generalizations about most people should always stretch.

    Long and intense statics are typically contraindicated prior to full-intensity work, but that’s simply not the full story, so it doesn’t do us much good to repeat these things as if they were always true without understanding that there are various ways to stretch and various reasons why you might want to use certain stretches in a particular situation.

    Stretching is not one thing – it’s a set of tools with wide applicability.”

    • Hi Vlad, the point of the article is that you should understand why you need to stretch so much, or at all, to reduce pain or even feel like it improves performance. When I read those studies about the improved vertical jumping I always wonder what are the limiting factors on those individuals in the first place so they do not have better flexibility; and if stretching helped so much, then why? And did those results last?

      I don’t feel like I’m making generalizations at all. I’ve gotten that comment more than once here and it always comes from someone who has benefited from stretching. Again – I ask why they do. I run a practice where I see static stretching to pretty much harm close to 100% of the time. There are exceptions – and I note them in the article – as you do in this comment I believe by mentioning “particular situation.” I agree, but I don’t just read the studies but have my hands on people all day, every day, and as with most studies so many are flawed and they are not using active and hopefully healthy people like you and I.

      I am also for those “dynamic stretches” pre and post exercise; also mentioned.

      I hope this helps you understand my point better. The only thing I’d ever consider changing in this article is perhaps the title. I didn’t intend it to be misleading, but eye catching. Hey – it’s a blog, not a book. So for those who think that about the title, get over it.

  61. I can see your logic here and I want to agree with you, but I want to know, how would you argue the book Stretching Scientifically by Thomas Kurtz?

    • Haven’t read it but based on the cover I’d ask what’s the goal – to be more flexible & healthy or do a split like a gymnast needs to do?

  62. On the recovery list from unexpected back surgery (microdiscectomy of extrusion from L5-S1 – never had a known back injury until that one day that all heck broke loose) and shoulder surgery (biceps tenodesis and decompression due to a volleyball injury-may as well have that fixed since I was down with the back). Surgeries six weeks apart. Recovery going really smooth until this ROM issue with shoulder. Six weeks out and PT decided it was probably time to “make it move” when the usual static stretches weren’t getting the shoulder to full ROM. ROM improving, but shoulder strength totally shot and back all of a sudden WAY particular about everything. Thinking these aren’t unrelated but maybe short term static stretching necessary to address scar tissue and immobility (4 weeks worth) for shoulder? Thoughts and alternatives? Very active prior to injuries and anxious to return.

    Thanks for the article – will pass this on.

    • I would never do that but you’re not my patient I think it’s a huge mistake trying to move something like that to break up adhesions like so many incorrectly think. Sorry but that’s all wrong thinking there.

  63. I am a gymnast and stretching is key in flexibility. There is no way anyone could do what I do if they were not extremely limber. I would love to see you tell gymnasts they do not need to stretch but drop down into the splits in a routine. If it is not practiced it won’t magically happen. There has to be an exception. Ever since I was a child I have been pushed into door frames to become more and more limber. Plus have you seen what a gymnast’s body looks like…. we have muscle.

  64. Hi Steve,

    I’m a runner and I haven’t stretched since you posted this article and am very seldom injured, i’m sure as a result of this and other advice you have provided which I follow.

    I am working on my running economy and form at the moment and following some study and self examination I have realized that I have issues with my posture – anterior pelvic tilt and excess lumbar lordosis caused in part by tight hip flexors. I have been sitting down for 8 hours a day for the last 10 years which is inevitably the cause of this issue and have recently been spending time at a stand-up desk to help the problem and working on strengthening my glutes and hamstrings.

    The temptation to stretch the hip flexors is strong as i’m struggling to find any trigger-pointy areas in them to work on, apart from the psoas which I cant really self test for triggers or treat myself??

    As I understand it, this is a really common problem so it would be good to hear your thoughts

    Thanks!

    Andrew

  65. This is completely stupid… Stretching is good as long as its not a pain stretch. Over stretching is harmful but mild stretching isn’t harmful at all…

    • I think your comment might just be the stupidest one yet. It’s just so clear…

    • Let’s assume, just for fun, that mild stretching isn’t harmful at all… that doesn’t make it beneficial!

      Besides that, using terms like “stupid” shows me there’s not much room in your mind to learn from others. If you have a valid point, back it up with decent arguments, I’d like to learn from you!

      A point that has been made often (by Sock Doc as well ofcourse), is that you should considder the goal of stretching before starting. I couldn’t care less if I could deliver a high kick to someones cranium nowadays, thats past… right now I just need to be nimble when running through the woods and climbing ropes etc.

  66. Perry Rose says:

    I do find it kind of odd that I read so many articles from health specialists who say to stretch the bottom foot. I have also read from so many who say that it has cured them of it or it has helped.

    Could it be that they would have been “cured” much faster if they didn’t stretch? Could it be that it was the other things they were doing, like resting, that actually did it???

    Anyway, thanks again, there doc, and I love your site.

    • Yeah, well people get “cured” sometimes from strange treatments and doing nothing too. Personally I don’t see many of them actually correcting the problem, but they’ve removed the symptom. That’s what I see in my office when I see these patients anyway.

  67. this mourns my heart, you made me feel so horrible, I HAVE to do physical therapy. PLEASE reply what your opinion is about physical therapy, so my heart doesn’t die. I can’t believe you didn’t talk about it and no one has commented on it either, I searched the words on the find bar. I don’t know how to think any person is wrong when they have an opinion because I’m such a weak person. I don’t know how to not forget about your post and not have a bunch of pain about it.

  68. Hey Sock-doc,

    I understand the “no stretching” concept very well, and I’ve stopped any of my static stretching. I’m a long time distance runner so that’s throwing away a lot of what I’ve done in the past of course. What I’m really struggling to understand though is how to get more flexible. I’ve historically been inflexible, having a hard time sitting indian style, never able to bend over and touch my toes or the ground without bending at the knee, ect ect. I’ve looked at your stretches (http://sock-doc.com/2012/09/move_naturally-dont_stretch/) and I’m struggling to even do them. For instance the full squat I cannot do with my heels flat on the ground. If I squat all the way down with my heels flat, I can’t help but fall backwards. I have to be up on my forefoot a bit to squat all the way down. If I just squat down as far as possible with my heels flat, I’m leaned over way forward as well.

    Basically what I’m saying is, you seem to talk a lot about what not to do (which is great), but I’m really truly struggling with what TO do, to be more flexible.

    • Hard to say what may personally help you Mike, but overall flexibility is a reflection of health, as you know from reading this. If you feel that all that is taken care of and not a factor, you might need some deep tissue work to help you out.

      I didn’t think I talk only about what NOT to do; a big point of the other article you reference here is what TO DO. If you can’t do the full squat then go as low as you can for now, it will (should) improve over time. Or put a 1-2″ board under your heels and you’ll go lower. It’s not going to happen overnight. Takes a lot of work.

  69. Hello,

    I have had bad posture beginning in my teenage years, and continued until now (21 years old), I learned faulty movement patterns and developed supraspinatus and biceps tendonosis, it has been hurting for 1 year now.

    My PT tells me that my Pecs, Sternoclediomastoid, and Upper traps are over-active and shortened, and that my serratus anterior, lower trap and middle trap are weak and inhibiited. I am trying to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the overactive muscles, but I am having limited results.

    1.How can I retrain my neuromuscular patterns so that I am using the correct muscles?

    2.Are my Pecs, sternocleidomastoid, and upper trap really shortened? As in, have they lost sarcomeres in series as a result of being contracted since my teens? will stretching increase the length of these muscles so that my shoulders aren’t protracted forward at rest?

    • Stretching will never lengthen those muscles, at least in the corrective sense. Check out some of the rehab exercises I show in the Shoulder Video and also look for muscle trigger points in the affected areas.

  70. I didn’t finish the article, but I just wanted to say I still think stretching is definitely necessary for some athletes. Ballet dancers are encouraged to stretch as much as possible, from light hamstring stretches daily to splits 5-6 days a week. Ballet dancers who are also this serious about stretching are very serious about ballet in general, and they train 4-6 days a week so losing power isn’t a huge concern. It is also common knowledge that extreme stretching is not done in class, and it is not encouraged to do extreme stretching before class because it temporarily weakens your muscle. The extreme requirements of flexibility in ballet can not be achieved from a massage therapist or ROM stretches. And while I do need to finish the article, stretching usually just feels good for dancers. If we never stretched we would be too tight to walk! The pain in my legs has been so intense, daily tasks take extreme effort. Just thought I would mention this.

  71. Hey,

    I am a big advocate of all that you are saying: eat right, live a healthy lifestyle, and know the why behind stretching and do not just stretch because it is the common thing to do.

    However, I am an athlete, and I think we can both agree that being an athlete (especially one that relies so heavily on anaerobic strength and power) is not the ideal lifestyle for optimal health. I tend to be injury prone. The injuries usually will involve a muscle strain or will be caused due to overuse. Anytime, I really start to increase my training, especially strength training, injuries start to pile up. I don’t believe in stretching especially for my sport. With that being said, I have a couple questions:

    1. Is it possible to avoid injuries, but still increase one’s training as an athlete? and how would you recommend going about that? Is there any one way to fend off muscular imbalances considering the importance of muscular balance in injury prevention?

    2. I know that you were mentioning the importance of hormone optimization, and I personally think that a lot of my injury proneness is a result of the thyroid issues that I have (hashimottos disease and consequently hypothyroidism)… Do you think that is a reasonable assumption? I actually heard that someone who is predisposed to hashimottos disease will actually have it triggered by a gluten intolerance since the protein structure of gluten looks so similar to that of the thyroid gland, causing the immune system to attack healthy thyroid tissue. Have you ever heard of that?

    Kind of went on a little bit of a tangent there, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Greg

    • Hey Greg. Sure of course it’s possible to avoid injuries. You should read my story here on this site. I’ve participated in 20 Ironman races and countless other races and although I’ve had aches and pains at various times, I’ve never been injured to keep me from racing or training. How do you not get injured? Well, that’s a long in-depth answer, but a big part of it is the reason I wrote the Sock Doc Training Principles; check that out if you haven’t yet.

      Yes, the #1 reason today for a low thyroid is Hashimotos and the #1 reason for that is supposedly a gluten intolerance. Though I’ve seen, and do see, plenty of patients with Hashimotos who have other immune system problems. But yeah, you’ve got to deal with the immune system and not just treat the thyroid as is the conventional method.

  72. Brittany says:

    I have very tight hamstring muscles and calf muscles that restrict my range of motion quite a bit. According to you I should be strengthening the antagonist muscles (quads and tib anterior)? Is this correct? I do try an eat a balanced diet, with fruits and veggies – so I am betting that my problem is not completely nutrition.

  73. Are there certain yoga DVDs that you would recommend?

  74. Barbra L. says:

    For arthritis in the wrists, it is suggested that one hold their hands above their heads and create two inward-facing fists and clench while pulling them inward and downard towards the inner wrist. This is to stretch out the muscle that runs along the back side of the hand and up the arm, which makes sense since the arthritis is being caused by that muscle pulling the entire hand/wrist upward and causing pain in the inner wrist.

    Do you have any suggestions for an exercise besides stretching that would help in preventing premature arthritis from further developing into a worse condition?

  75. Hi Doc,
    very informative,appreciate the input.i am a long term athlete/ martial artist who has migrated to the world of Pilates and consequently have been reading up on Kinesiology and looking at the way I have approached things.

    One of my concerns has always been the excessive flexibility many seek outside of their normal range of motions called for in daily life.In your opinion,is it possibel that excessive stretching could directly lead to injuries/conditions due to lax musles/ligaments?

    I ask this as I often wonder what the benefits are of popping into full splits or deep spinal extension.As I have become “wiser”,I question the risk reward of acheiving hyper flexibility and if it indeed could be a direct/ possible cause of hip/knee joint deterioration.

    Any thoughts?

    thank you,

    Allan

    • Yes, excessive stretching can do that and it does often. If someone is well conditioned and using some extra stretching to gain that little bit extra in an already established flexible body, that is not a problem. The problems arise when most out there (the 99%) want to stretch, stretch, and stretch more to achieve something that their body is not ready to achieve because their health and fitness is so poor. These people can’t even do a proper full squat (butt to ground with heels flat) yet they want to start doing crazy stretches regardless of their terrible mobility and movement patterns.

  76. Hi Doc. I just wanted say this is a very good article. I just wanted to tell you that I do spring track and parkour. But when we were doing 100, 200, and 300 meter sprints my hamstring started to hurt after practice. My coaches said to do a lot of stretching but when I saw this I don’t know if I should stretch. So how can I make my hamstring better Doc? Thank you.

  77. Hi doc
    I have been having a pain in my knee I don’t know if its to do with stretching but when I run it hurts
    I Am a profeinall javelin thrower and its starting to hurt what should I do ??.

  78. Michael Litchfield says:

    I agree and disagree with this article. I think that light stretching and proper warmup before intense activity is very important. It definitely mitigates many types of common injuries such as hamstring pulls etc. But I also agree that too much stretching before an activity can temporary weaken a muscle by eliminating some of its elastic principles. This is why many coaches have now preached about the importance of stretching AFTER workouts rather than before. In a sport like running, where speed is an equivalent of stride length and stride frequency and all other things equal, a dynamically flexible athlete will probably have a greater stride length than a non-dynamically flexible athlete. I would also guess that on average flexible people tend to be dynamically flexible as well. – a non-flexible runner

  79. Christopher Johnson says:

    Obviously a very hot topic and some interesting points you make in the article. Anytime someone references Mal McHugh I know they’ve done their homework. He is the person who was responsible for me moving to New York City and taking a job at Lenox Hill/NISMAT…brilliant researcher!!! Curious to see if you read two of our latest manuscripts re: the role of neural tension in hamstring flexibility and in stretch induced strength loss. These papers stemmed from us arguing about the fact that there is much more than just the hamstrings being stretch when one goes to stretch this particular muscle group. I will attach the URLs to the abstracts below. Enjoy…lots to discuss…you would probably also like the work of Peter Magnusson who was formerly at NISMAT as well. Hope you are well otherwise!
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20738821
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439335

    Onward,
    Chris

  80. Hi Sock Doc,

    This may have been answered above, but I didn’t read of the comments and now read search (ctrl+f) method presented itself. Anyway, I’ve been running for about 7 years, I originally statically stretched before runs, until I learned about dynamic stretching. The switch helped a lot, but I have continued to statically stretch after runs (at the recommendation of coaches). My question for you is, should I stop this habit an replace it with static stretching as well? If so, do you have studies that show why you should NOT statically stretch post run? It seemed like you mentioned studies that showed how static stretching did not help/provide benefits, but nothing that said that it actually hurt/hampered performance.

    I like the article and find it very interesting. I’m always looking for way to improve my running and fitness, thanks for your help!

    • I have not looked for any studies for post-run. Honestly I see no reason for this. People think you need to stretch to “elongate” your muscles after you run. Why? Because they shortened up – to what degree? You can’t just stretch them after a run and expect that to counter the shortening of the run (whatever degree that is) and you’re good to go. Static stretching after a run isn’t going to keep muscles lengthened any longer. If you’re healthy, fit, and moving properly then you won’t shorten and tighten up muscles and tissues to the point where you need to static stretch after running.

  81. I’ve had pain in my shins for almost 18 months now. I have been a runner from age 11 to age 47 and never had shin splints before I got bad advice initially and was told to bike, a sport a don’t care for. I overdid and then the doctor put me in an ortho boot. I had phsyical therapy to strengethn the opposing muslces. I thnk thta it was too much too soon. I have tried rest, calciunm supplements,several physical therapists and finally shockwave therapy. I just finsihed a course of seven off these. The pain is only getting worse. Inactivity seems to be just as bad as too much activity. It is hard for me to find the right balanace or the right answers. I also have fasciculations in my claves that are benign The pain is persistnet but not unbearable. bon scan suggested calcium re-uptake bilaterally but not stress fractures. it doens’t look liek comaprtment syndrome either, though I have had no definitive tests. I can’t help but wonder at this point if it is not some sort of neurogenic pain. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. BTW, I am stretching on the advice of the chiropractor who did the shockwave. I think that i will go back to doing yoga which does not seem to aggravate anything Your thoughts woudl be greatly appreciated.

  82. Hi i am a middle distance track runner at the college level and have always had serious lower leg problems which mainly consisted of the inner side of the shins. I was wondering your thoughts on that or if any advice to treat that problem? What can i do to relieve the pain? Also i wanted to hear what you think of foam rolling or using like a rolling stick on your muscles? Thanks so much!!

  83. Taylor Overmiller says:

    I’m a current NCAA D-II Track & Field/Cross Country athlete (with experience at the NCAA D-I level as well) and can tell you without a doubt that stretching (both dynamic and static) is beneficial. I’ve had hamstring tendonitis come and go for seven years now and have tried nearly any and all methods of recovery; I didn’t begin really healing until I quit massaging the hell out of it and started up a yoga program centered around stretching (diet stayed the same throughout). I agree that dynamic stretching should be performed instead of static stretching before workouts, but much of your argument is inaccurate and deceitful. You said yourself that stretching increases range of motion, proving its effectiveness. Longer muscles have a far lower chance of becoming strained and hyperextended than short, unstretched muscles do. And your analogy with the shoes is totally false. Lighter shoes do equal faster running – why do you think elite runners are so worried about getting the lightest spikes possible? No competitive runner wants to lug around more weight than they have to. I don’t care what any doctor has to say, Olympians still make time to stretch during their warm-up routines, and until a non-stretcher’s performance can exceed theirs then your argument holds no weight.

  84. Hi,
    I have started doing a lot of PNF streching, and often feel very good after working through the PNF streches. Would you consider PNF streches harmful as well? Or do they fit under the category of natural movements?

  85. Should then there be no post workout static stretching? Or would you recommend something else after running? Active/natural stretching? Thanks! Awesome read!

  86. I’ve been running a while and have found that when I don’t stretch, I get hurt. Every time. But now I’m being told not to stretch? I’m confused.

  87. Great article! I abide by the same rules. I’ve had a lingering groin injury from rec soccer for a while now, and I’ve noticed stretching helps relieve pain short-term, but that the joint feels ad my runnig form feels “sloppy” afterward. Now I just do a dynamic warmup including a lunge matrix, and it feels much better, and my groin injury seems to be improving even though I’ve been increasing training volume and intensity.

  88. Hi Doc,

    My husband injured his L4, L5 years ago and from the MRI, it is showing that the discs are herniated and are protruding out, touching on his nerve and thus resulting in sciatica. The doctor suggested that my husband should go to a physiotherapist for some stretching exercise in a correct manner so that the disc is being “pulled away” to a direction which is not touching on the nerve that causes sciatica pain. After 3 sessions, he felt better and there is no more tingling sensation on his back. He has stopped the session now, and every now and then he will do some stretching exercise at home, in a way that will lengthen the back. (the method is by lying down on his back and hug his knees for a few seconds). He feels relieved after doing that.

    Do you think this type of stretching is safe and should he continue doing it?

    Another thing is, we have a habit to turn our waist to each side and crack the muscle on our back. Is this harmful?

    Thanks for your advice, doc!

  89. Dr. Glenn Stephens says:

    You don’t stretch? I’d like to know how fast you run, how much, any competitive results and to see your actual running.

    Whether athletes should static stretch aside, range of motion development in younger athletes and maintenance in older athletes and persons is very important. There are many ways to skin that cat, even if not by stretching.

    My bet is that the Doc isn’t fast, doesn’t run much and has a short choppy stride.

    • You’re an assuming fool.

    • “Dr.” Stephens,
      Maybe you should read about the bio on sock-doc you can get to by clicking “about soc doc”.

      “I have competed in 20 Ironman races as well as countless other triathlons, as well as bicycle races and running races – trail and road. I am a six-time qualifier and finisher of the Ironman Hawaii World Championship Triathlon. I’ve been an All-American Triathlete twice, in 1997 and 2004. Currently I’m focusing on trail running and MovNat training, and I am a MovNat Certified Trainer. With my experience training and racing competitively for over 20 years, I have unique qualifications and insight as both a competitive athlete and a doctor. So yes, I talk the talk and walk the walk.”

      Pretty Legitimate to me

  90. Doc,

    Thanks for writing articles like this to open up what is a very controversial, and mostly brain-washed subject. However, I do have to agree with some who say it is a tad poorly written. I think you would do very well to at least add sources to studies that you mention. It would really solidify your writing and comments on this topic.

    Thanks again!

    – Mike

  91. Dr. Stephens, aren’t you a dentist???

    Anywaaay–I don’t stretch. There is no reason to. I have a good diet, my muscles are already warmed up simply from walking and standing around, and I watch my stress level.

    I also jog slowly for a few minutes before running.

    I run around 100 miles a week. Noooooo problem.

    I guess people who think stretching is necessary just don’t get it–no matter how plainly it is explained.

    I have to chuckle at some people who say that stretching helps with injuries, like tendonitis.

    Uhhh, you don’t stretch an injury, and stretching doesn’t control inflammation.

    It’s like they are in their own little world.

    Sometimes I feel sorry for you, Mr. Sock Doc. :-)

  92. Kevin A. says:

    Hello Sock Doc,

    I’m a marathon runner that has been dealing with runner’s knee the past 3-4 months and have been trying to figure out how to get rid of it completely. I notice that it has been a cause of iliotibial band and hip flexors being really tight. You mentioned that stretching that also be a way of weakening the muscles and causing some overuse? I am very curious as to what kind of self trigger point therapy I could be doing here at home that would help. Yes I do stretch a lot and I’m almost wondering if that could be my problem. I noticed my IT band got even worst or even tight just a few days when I did my long run because I did that one stretch; whereas, if you’re laying on your back and and bring your left leg all the way over across your right stretching the whole IT band. I’m just a bit confused as to which trigger point therapy I could do for my IT band. Being on a budget and on the way of being laid off I can’t really afford to much treatment of seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist.

    Thank you.

    • As a physical therapist, I recommend the perform tri-plane stretching. I’m against Sock Doc’s article. Stretching, if the mobility and flexibility is impaired, is one of the best ways to manage injury. Using tri-plane stretching, which is stretching in all 3 planes of motion forward/backward, side to side and twisting. Our body functions in all 3 planes. In order to adequate load a muscle it should have flexibility. What is lacking is retraining (strength exercise) the muscles after a stretch. Yes, it’s “weaker” but the muscles and proprioceptors need to be retrained to learn how to use this new range of motion.
      In regards to you ITB syndrome, I would stretch your iliopsoas and your calfs in all three planes of motion, foot straight forward. Then perform some lunges after with the opposite hand reaching the front knee. Typically lack of motion is other joints puts the knee at risk for injury. When motion is limited in one joint, the next joint typically makes up for it. The body can compensate but only for so long.
      I have numerous success working with runners ( as well as patients with long standing back pain) by performing a whole body screen and stretching the muscles that appear tight then retrain with exercises. 3 minutes of of 12k after a client has been running at an elite level for > 20 years of running… 30 seconds of 5k after > 15 years of running… Both after 1 session, the races within one to two weeks of intervention.

  93. Perry Rose says:

    Janet, you really need to learn more about nutrition.

    If the mobility and flexibility is impaired, that means there is an issue with the diet, among other things.

    If I don’t have enough potassium, as an example, my muscles are going to let me know.

    Oh, but wait, I guess I should just stretch.

    Stretching is just a “band-aid.”

    You have to get to the root cause why muscles are acting like that in the first place.

    Sounds like you skim read the article, the comments and the Dr.’s replies.

    And, again, you don’t stretch an injury–no matter how slice it.

    “I have numerous success”??

    If they don’t take care of the root problem, I doubt it.

  94. Good article Dr.
    Sorry for my English I’m from Guatemala, I love this study. In my experience, I was a professional racer in Guatemala, 3 years ago, my coach was angry with me for almost no stretch and did it for lack of time. I trained twice a day, weights and track. and all my friends I never had an injury in my muscles… Try to eat well, and avoid soda, junk food, anything that would harm me… Support this … experience it. I could not tell if it works with other.

  95. Hi,
    I am 17 years old and am very much into sports. I go rock-climbing twice a week (4 hour sessions) and I go for one long cycle ride (about 80 km at a steady pace) a week. However I am extremely inflexible. This is quite a limitation especially while climbing because climbing requires a large range of motion. I did try yoga for a few months to help improve my flexibility but I found that it wasn’t helping too much (mainly because the instructor did not encourage me to stretch anything beyond what I was already easily capable of stretching). I though at first that this might be because of genetics (my brother who is a very competitive runner is also very inflexible) but both my parents are flexible (my father used to be a gymnast). My nutrition is no different from most of the other people I climb with. I have lots of rice and lots of white meat and pulses. I dont really eat a lot if junk food, but I do drink a lot of soda. If stretching is, as you say, bad for the muscles, how do I go about improving flexibility.
    Also, I have found that light stretching before a long, hard run or an intense workout is the difference between being sore the next day or not. Is this just psychological?

    Thanks

    • Well certain stretching is bad for the muscles, but the idea is to figure out why you lack flexibility. Work on your diet. That means no soda; good place to start. Check out the natural movement stretches I show too. No, it’s not psychological.

  96. Hi. Although i agrea with alot of your article you must take into consideration that most of people sit for 8 plus hours a day at work. This means that certain muscles ie hipflexors, glutes med will shorten as a result. Static stretching should not be done before exercise but as a prehab protocol (like a gym workout)under controled conditions with foamrolling ext. The prehab should not necessarilly be to improve but to regain normal ROM. There is without a doubt alot we dont know but to not stretch at all across the board is a dangerous assumtion.

    • That’s fine if you don’t agree but I’d still never static stretch these people. Actually these are the people (those computer – cubicle people who sit all day) are the ones most likely to be injured by static stretching. You think their muscles will “lengthen” but doing static stretches and nothing else? Maybe short periods at best. These people need to be getting out of their chairs, squatting, and moving more.

  97. Hi doc. That is where the prehab protocol or strategy comes in. Static stretching is not the main thing but part of it. Never stretch more than 60% int. I am sure this can be debated for hours and as far as research nothing has been proven without a doubt. I believe in evidence based practice but also practice based evidence and i have seen some value in static stressing. It is not what you do but how you do it. Thanks anyways for the article.

  98. I can relate to working at a desk…

    and no stretching is necessary.

    After work I don’t stretch before my jog, which I mix with running. There is no reason to since I don’t move the muscles that much different than when I walk around the office, and at home before jogging/running.

    I’m not going out doing a split, and other movements like that.

    Sure, there is more stress when working the muscles harder, but that is when proper nutrition is important.

    I know that our muscles, tendons and ligaments need proper nutrition to keep them healthy, elastic, and whatnot, and stretching doesn’t do that.

    My muscles are already warmed up ready to go after standing on them for a while before jogging and slowly going into jogging before going full force.

    I would think all of this would be common sense, but I guess not.

  99. Sock-Doc,

    I’m 36 and I started trail running about 8 months ago. I’ve worked my weekly average up to 50-60 miles a week and 2000′-4000′ vertical gain per run. For the first time, I started to notice some hamstring issues 3 weeks ago after running with an experienced ultra-runner who is an avid stretcher pre/post run. He mentioned that I should start stretching to stay limber for longer runs. So I joined him in stretching after our first run and noticed my left hamstring felt strange and over the next few days (my first “running” induced injury). I kept stretching, before and after runs. I realize now that I over stretched the muscle tissue. I felt that I needed to “loosen the muscle up”, but it never felt any better. I took ice baths, soaked in epsom salts and did a little foam rolling here and there. I was still running on it, as it never really made it any worse. Then I read this article on Tuesday and stopped any type of static stretching before or after my runs. 5 days, and 4 runs later, after using a tennis ball, foam roller, deep tissue massage, proper hydration and much better nutrition, my hamstring is nearly 100%. Unfortunately I’ll be running alone again since the runner I had been training with pulled his groin muscle on Wednesday, he’s now sidelined for a few weeks.

    Thanks for the article. Really informative. Going running.
    J

  100. Martial Arts Enthusiast says:

    Hi Sock Doc,

    I have been training in martial arts for a number of years, primarily Ju-Jitsu but also Muay Thai. I have always been instructed to stretch my wrists in order to perform locks and grapples more effectively, as well as increasing flexibility in general and strengthen my grip however having read this article I have come to understand that this may have caused weakness and susceptibility to injury especially when combined with striking. Firstly, what type of dynamic exercises do you suggest using to replace the stretches that I have been doing? Secondly, I have always found it difficult to do leg raises with completely straight legs despite my attempts to develop core strength. In the same vein it was suggest that I stretch to reach my toes and over time this would improve. I believe that I have moderately good core strength but it may be likely that this is weakness rather than injury. Are there any dynamic stretches that could improve this?

    Thanks in advance

  101. kimberly says:

    Hi Sock Doc,
    I am reading all the articles on your website with a hopeful, but kind of scared heart. I have been struggling with Plantar Faschiitis since December and it has taken me out. I used to be an athletic person (running, spinning, boot camps), but now I would honestly be satisfied if I could simply walk again. At the advice of a physical therapist and podiatrist, I have done many of the things you advise not to do – stretching, icing, wearing the boot at night, never going barefoot, orthotics/superfeet – and some other things I don’t think you’re opposed to – massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, yoga, swimming and foot wakers. My diet is pretty aligned with the one you suggest though as a vegetarian, I will increase my B12. I, am willing to try some of your suggestions, though it is scary, because everyone else basically advises the opposite. Any suggestions about how to start transferring over out of my inserts, quitting the stretching and icing and starting to go barefoot? Should I stop wearing the boot at night? Also, I have hashimoto syndrome (so far a-symptomatic as far as I know). Do you think it could have anything to do with this problem?
    Thanks!
    Kimberly

  102. Awesome article. Couldn’t agree more. Wish more people would hurry up and get on the bandwagon with this idea. Especially hyper-mobile women (like me). So much less injury now after years of focus on stability, not flexibility (static stretching).

  103. Interesting article. After a long run when the muscles are sore what should we do? Should we perhaps do some eccentric stretching instead of static? Or would a massage / foam roll session be better? Or simply do nothing?

  104. Hi Doc,

    I’ve had tight groin muscles as long as I can remember but the martial art that I practice places quite high demands on leg flexibility. Now, I do know for a fact that stretching increases flexibility (for the time being, let’s set the matters of reduced strength and injury proneness aside) but I always tend to overstretch groin muscles when I do aerobic exercises. It happens less when I do static stretching, as in this case I’m more attentive to sensations in the body, but, occasionally, it does occur nevertheless. Question is — how do I improve my groin muscle flexibility, diet aside? By doing dynamic stretching with the antagonist muscles? What are they in this case?

  105. Hi,
    This is a great article! I am a massage therapist and yoga teacher. I work on athletes quite frequently and the issue of stretching vs. yoga comes a lot. I like what you said about the two. I find that when people committ to a yoga practice, the health of their muscles increases too, because yoga helps train the body/mind to stay relaxed and it stays relaxed for overtime. Just like we train our body/mind for physical fitness and sports strength, we to have to train our body/mind to relax. Body/mind health also great affect the ability of someone being able to receive a deep tissue massage as their muscles will be able let go and relax. I find sometime that athletes are wired and keyed up and have a hard time allowing themselves to relax, so we talk about yoga and programming relaxing into their mind/body. It helps with training and performance in a big way.

    Thank you for the this article, refreshing!

    Peace and Blessings,
    Cheri

  106. Dear Sock Doc,
    1. I want to know how about stretching my both legs for a larger degree between my legs.I am learning martial art and i want to have better flexibility to lift my legs.
    2.Other than that , any exercises that are the best for making our muscle flexible properly?
    3. and any treatments that i can do by myself for the painful muscle to heal more quickly after some exercises?

  107. Jennifer B says:

    Really? I’ve had chronic upper back tightness and pain for YEARS……I’ve gone to physical therapy, push therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, you name it and they’ve ALL been telling me to stretch, stretch, stretch and none of it has ever worked or made me feel any better! It’s affecting my daily life even more lately, and guess what I’ve been doing almost every day? Yes, stretching. The only therapy that does seem to work a little is massage, but I can never seem to find a person who will use enough pressure to make much of a difference. Can you tell me if there are specific tests that can be done to check for hormonal imbalances? Last year my doctor requested what she called “basic hormonal testing” and she said everything looked fine. I’m desperate to find help (or to learn other exercises I can do that might actually HELP), but the answer from everyone I see just seems to be to stretch. Do you happen to have any suggestions on where I might start to finally get some much needed relief? Thank you so much for your informative article!

  108. Matt Guthaus says:

    Hi Sock Doc,

    Very interesting article. Do you have references for the research results that you cite so that I can get a more in depth discussion of the results? In particular,

    “Although research shows stretching has no value and may actually cause harm…”

    “A study done at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Texas…”

    I am also interested in other journal articles that you know of with similar results.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  109. Chris Johnson says:

    Stretching in position where the neural elements aren’t loaded result in a rightward shift in the length tension curve…ie stronger at longer muscle lengths. Stretching under neurally loaded positions results in strength loss of the hamstrings with no rightward shift in the length tension curve.
    Refs:: type in McHugh MP, Johnson CD ( me) and neural tension.

    • Thanks Chris. What did you guys do in the study to induce “neurally loaded positions”? And the stretching was a passive-type static stretch?

  110. KAROLINA says:

    Oh yes, of course, all those trainers in the NFL and NBA and MLB and NHL are all idiots. You, random person on the Internet, you must be right! Thanks!!

    For the love of fuck I hope no one ever in life has ever taken anything you’ve ever said seriously. Please leave the Internet.

  111. KAROLINA, did you know that more and more athletes are now watching their diet more and stretching less?

    They are realizing that they do not need to stretch after all.

    And read the replies to this thread from runners and joggers who do not stretch–and we put more stress on the body than the pro athletes do.

    At first I was curious why Dr. Gangemi would put up your post. Then I realized that he probably just wanted to show an example on how dumb some people can be when they speak before thinking.

  112. Swimming Coach says:

    Firstly, thanks for give us scientific reasons for common thoughts that the coaches have had since years.
    But, what about swimming? I agree that with technique workouts you can get a perfect technique, but some special movements could improve the swimming efficiency with more range of motion of the main joints used like knees in breastroke kicking or shoulders in arms recovery in butterfly. In your opinion, could we consider this as an exception like gymnastic or dancing?
    Thank you so much.

  113. Martin Huis says:

    Hi Sock-Doc,

    I just started doing Parkour/Freerunning and I’m in the basics.

    At the moment I’m stretching for 15minuts each day, a full body stretch routine. I found it on youtube from a expert freerunner.

    I do get the feeling that the stretches work, but I don’t want to loose the strength that I have right now. For warm up excercises I do a QM rountine.

    Is it really possible to do kick ups, back handsprings, flips and more tricks you’ll need to be flexible for, without stretching?

    Hope you can help me!

    Kind regards,

    Martin

    • It’s absolutely possible if you’re moving well, and you’re healthy enough >>> you will be naturally flexible, though you might find that some movements which give you more range of motion combined with strength benefit you for the more advanced skills.

  114. Lauren M. Smith says:

    Thanks for the vindication! My entire dancing career I got in trouble with the ballet master for refusing to stretch before performances. It always made me feel weaker and now I know why. I used to just throw on my pointe shoes and chargeout there and felt great, but they gave me hell for it. So I just learned to pretend to stretch and everyone was happy.

  115. Hi Doc,

    I just started stretching first time in my life because of a back problem.
    I started having lower back pain. After going to doctor and physiotherapist, the diagnosis was a bad posture, arched lower back. One main reason seems to be long sitting, e.g. office job in front of computer, which makes the hip flexor muscles shorter, combined with weak abs and gluteus muscles, this bad posture occurs and is the reason for my lower back pain.
    Besides strengthening gluteus, hamstrings and abs, I was advised to stretch my hip flexors. Stretching the hip flexors have an important effect on correcting a lordosis.
    After reading your article, I wonder how else can I make my hip flexors longer if stretching is not good?
    Or, what would be your recommendation to correct this kind of bad posture?

    Thanks!

  116. Rich Simpson says:

    Im always sore for days after playing tennis…i have knots in my fascia, so i stretch. Also, i use a foam roller. Is this soreness inflammation or lactic acid build up. How do i eliminate all of this,

  117. Ty Crabtree, D.C. says:

    Dr. Gangemi,
    I agree with some of your points on this topic and like your overall approach. I am interested in learning more about it and was wondering if you’d be willing to share some of the research studies about this topic, particularly ones showing that static stretching creates weaknesses, but I’m interested in as much as you can provide. Thank you.

    • If you scan through the comments you’ll see a bit of that discussed. Aside from that all the research will be in the upcoming book, which will also expand greatly on this topic – hopefully out this fall.

  118. Nicholas Symon says:

    This is ridiculous. Granted, most people don’t understand how to stretch properly, but it is just insane to tell people not to stretch. At least for young athletes still growing, who I can speak for, you DO lose a large range of flexibility if you don’t stretch.

  119. MachoMachu says:

    Hi Doc,

    I’m 14, I weigh just over 7 stone, and I’m 5 foot 4. I play rugby every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with my rugby club. I also do horse riding every Friday for an hour, but i experience pains in both sports on a regular basis.

    In horse riding i feel a slight tightness in my lower ankle, and I think this is because we are taught to keep the stirrup on our toe and push the weight down into our ankles. Before this article, after each lesson I would rotate my ankle and it feels OK, but I cant be sure if this is the right thing to do.

    In rugby the pain I get is a lot worse. I get a sharp pinching pain in my hip, seemingly at the joint. It forces me to stand aside from training and i try to walk it off. When I’m walking, every 4 or 5 paces, I raise my knee to waist height on the injured side infront of me, and rotate it outwards and then inwards. Is this the right thing to do?

    My Dad and my coaches are putting it down to growing pains and i was wondering if you feel the same?

    Your article was brilliant, and thanks for your help :)

  120. Vangelis says:

    There is no way to do Taekwon-Do without stretching…

  121. Hey Doctor,I just wanted to ask you…..are butt kicks considered aerobic activity?…and I also have a foot injury..can I still stretch by touching my toes?Also what should I do before working out with weights…just aerobic activity like jogging?

  122. Michael says:

    I have always been quite inflexible and more so after coming back from a injury five years ago. As in can’t sit down and touch my toes, grab my arms behind my back etc. I have been encouraged to start Bikram but am avoiding doing so. I tend to agree ‘intuitively’ that my lack of stretching is not from not stretching but from some muscular imbalance. I also had Rheumatic Fever as a young child which affected (then) my joints (spefically hip) and it can’t be a coincidence that my worst spot is my hip flexors. I also tend to be on the muscular side even though I don’t use weights. If I do an exercise like boxing for a few weeks I bulk up.

    Is there some therapy you would recommend that could identify imbalances and solutions vs stretching for 90 minutes a day in a heated room in positions I can hardly look at let alone do?

    Thanks for a great article!

  123. What about stretching for the martial artist? I admit when I was young, high kicks required little stretching. I am 51 and wish to regain that ability. Is this asking to much?

Trackbacks

  1. […] (“strengthened”) by exercise, which is what most are taught. I discuss this a bit more in Stop Stretching. Muscle imbalances occur due to nervous system dysfunction which can be the result of injury, pain, […]

  2. […] proper exercise, diet, and other lifestyle factors – read ways to do that in the entire article here. Stop drinking that Kool-Aid propaganda and just say “No!” to stretching! Stretching is for […]

  3. […] http://sock-doc.com/2011/04/stop-stretching/ This was written by admin. Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012, at 10:40 am. Filed under tech. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Post a comment or leave a trackback. […]

  4. […] Originally Posted by bill1234 1. I'm sure he did a variety of things, although I'm not sure on what the difference is between a pull up and chin up. 2. Yes. 3. It is very necessary to do a variety of stretches. 4. It is best to stay loose, so however you stay loose is what you should do. 1.pull ups= overhand grip, chin ups-underhand grip(better for biceps etc) 2.this Person says: taht dynamic stretchign before workout is ok! like animals, but about static : he says tahts bad.. Stretching Is Dangerous!: Don't Stretch For Better Health […]

  5. Stop Stretching? | College Prep RHF says:

    […] A friend of mine was working with a world-class coach six years ago, and the coach forbid any of his athletes to stretch, saying that stretching leads to injuries.  I found this accusation quite insane at the time, but after further research, I quickly learned that the coach was not only correct, but years ahead of his peers in this philosophy.  My current philosophy is I don’t do any static stretching (hold and stretch), except for when I stretch my hips and my quads.  To warm up for a run, I simply start running at an easy pace.  Once I conclude a run, I’m done; and occasionally, I will do some dynamic stretching (stretching through movement like leg swings).  I no longer hold static stretching as having any value in terms of training and peformance.  However, I do still do some static stretching when I’m taking a yoga class, and the value here is more mental than physical.  I’m not saying to stop stretching, I’m just saying become informed.  This blog post does a great job with information, have a read (I also copy and pasted the article on here just in case the link breaks):  http://sock-doc.com/2011/04/stop-stretching/ […]

  6. […] I just read a really interesting article titled Stop Stretching.  You can read it by clicking here.  The article is very interesting and goes into detail about why stretching can be harmful , in […]

  7. […] Okay, see the article here. […]

  8. Stretching. Your Friend or Enemy? | United Pole Artists says:

    […] Click here to read! […]

  9. […] takeaways (that have stuck with me) from the article by the Sock Doc and why I’m reconsidering my thoughts on stretching. Keeping in mind the […]