For a long time, we have been told that stretching is an essential component of every workout—and so we’ve all done stretching. Before games, all of our favourite athletes stretch. In school, before we play sports, we’re taught to stretch. 

The questions remain, however—is it necessary to stretch before a sporting event? Is it essential-utilised specialised to be flexible? Should therapists, coaches, and trainers advise their clients to stretch?

Here, we answer the most pressing questions about the universal practice of stretching:

Stretching and Preventing Injuries 

Running enthusiasts begin their run with a stretch of the hamstrings, quadriceps, and other muscles. They may be doing this to minimise the risk of injury while running, but they likely were not reducing the risk for injury.

Stretching, specifically static stretching, does not prevent or reduce the risk for injury. However, research has shown that it does have a latent protective effect—but it is multimodal. This means that stretching has a protective effect if combined with an active warm-up and other exercises.

It is acknowledged that there may be a psychological advantage to stretching . Sports athletes often depend on habits and routines — but studies do not provide the basis for stretching as an effective way to avoid injuries.

Stretching and Improving Performance

Static stretches included in warmups have been shown to impair performance and even cause severe damage.

The overwhelming majority of sports involve some kind of explosive movement. Whether throwing, leaping or sprinting with maximum effort, the stress on an athlete’s muscles and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) are highest during these swift actions.

The amount of force an athlete can generate during these motions is determined by the power of the muscles involved and the elasticity of these muscles and connective tissues. Consider your muscle’s flexibility as a very effective rubber band cannon.

When you stretch the rubber band, energy is stored, and when the strain is removed, the power is released (the rubber band goes flying). Muscles and tendons store energy similarly—a brief stretch of muscle results in a strong contraction of that muscle.

Each of us has encountered rubber bands that have lost their flexibility. Static stretching may distort your tendons and ligaments permanently by transforming them into loose rubber bands.

It is critical to maintaining a certain degree of stiffness in your muscles and connective tissues while performing high-speed, explosive motions.

The Caveat: Stretching Does Not Speed up Injury Recovery

Stretching does not help with recovery or promote general healing, including delayed onset muscular pain. Stretching isn’t the only way to increase mobility. Mobility often increases gradually as a result of the pressures of the activities you engage in.

Our bodies are astonishingly adaptive and robust. Static stretching often produces only short-term benefits. It is most likely related to changed feelings rather than changes in viscoelastic muscle characteristics.

Instead of concentrating on static stretching to reach a reference standard or the amount of mobility you “should” have, focus on your particular requirements and progressively increase your active motions. Strength and endurance training may both enhance mobility and give you dynamic control over it.

Should You Stretch?

It depends. In certain instances (gymnastics and cheering), broad flexibility is required, while in others, more specialised flexibility is needed (Olympic lifting and hockey goalies).

The repetitive demands of the sport, rather than static stretching, account for a large portion of this adaptation. Our bodies adjust to the pressures we put on them over time.

Stretching is often utilised to accomplish legitimate objectives such as injury prevention, injury recovery, and performance enhancement. There are more effective methods to achieve these objectives.


You should make an educated choice if you critically examine the evidence and consider both sides of any issue. In the case of stretching, the evidence just does not back up its claimed advantages. Hopefully, this has educated you in ways that will help you make a difference in your life and understand why your body functions the way it does.

If you wish to learn more about injury prevention and rehabilitation, Invigor Health is always here to assist. We offer you online physiotherapy for discomfort, as well as preparation for any physical endeavours. Book a session today!

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