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Thursday, July 8, 2010

1. Passive stretching before training & racing slows you down

The purpose of stretching is to allow muscles to recover by “switching off “& allow nutrients to “enter “the tissue. Muscles require downtime to metabolize the effects of hard work & repair/grow stronger. Tests have shown that passive stretching actually slows down muscle speed (sequential firing) & recruitment (the number of muscle fibers available to do the work required). Passive stretching may even destabilize certain joints, like the hip joint, & lead to injury during the training session that follows the stretching session. Studies have shown that people who stretch passively are more likely to get injured than those who don’t! In later blogs I will explain how a Dynamic Warm Up Procedure is a far better way to go to gain optimal results from your fitness. So if you want to stretch passively, do so after training & even here, I recommend that you actively stretch for a far better result, i.e. allow the muscle being released to primarily control the activity.
In a recent study with collegiate cross country runners, those with the shortest hamstrings were the best runners in every case!
To my mind the muscle groups that need to be “released” & returned or set at optimal “loadability” levels after training as far as running is concerned are the hip flexors, the soleus & the quads.
Bobby McGee – Bobby McGee Endurance Sports


  1. We were at a track today where the high school football coach actually St
    STOPPED the kids running during their warmup, bawled them out and told them they needed to be "stretched out" because their workout was timed 40yard dashes! He then took charge and put them through 20
    minutes of static stretching.

  2. wow, thanks for the read, hope there is coming more regarding "passive stretching before training and racing slows you down"

  3. Hey Simon, Yup, the amount of myth out there is frightening. Did you see Sandrock's post on intervals? Seems like sub 4 was better than sub 3:45 & what we learned in the early 50s was far more relevant than what we know now;)
    Ungku - good to hear from you. These are just snippets; let's try to get my DVD, (Triathlon, The Run), to you

  4. yeah where can i get the dvd, isit on your website?

  5. Intervals? Yes, Gerschler, Stampfl et al had it taped 50 years and more ago!
    But it's funny that virtually the ONLY part of their systems that modern coaches and runners gravitate to is the 8-10 x 400m. They forget the other stuff they were doing back in the day. And have no appreciation of the rest periods involved.

  6. Yes Ungku, it is available from the website. We'll happily get one out to you.

  7. Simon it seems that few people "get" the distinction between exercise physiological principles like muscle endurance & coach principles like speed endurance. The basis for "recovery" is most often central or lactate based in ex.phys. while the neuromuscular connection with specific speed is far more complex & includes the mental & emotional as well. Add to that that coaching theory on recovery is highly individualized & "invented" based on anecdotal experience of clever guys like Horwill.

  8. Love this right here! ALl my years running I would do some of the same.

    Passive Stretching