Stretching Exercises: Myths and Misconceptions

Stretching Exercises: Stretching the Truth

And now, it\’s time for some high-quality fitness information. This week, it will be about static stretching exercises.

I often see trainers doing stretching exercises with their clients, or people doing stretching exercises themselves, thinking it does them some good. But what does practical experience say about stretching exercises?

Static stretching exercises are the most common form of stretching. That\’s the kind of stretching where you extend a muscle and hold that position. But what is that really doing? The truth is that you really can\’t change the length of a muscle, because every muscle has an origin and an insertion. These are spots where a muscle connects to a tendon, which connects to a bone. You can\’t re-attach the tendon to a different place on the bone, so static stretching exercises really won\’t do much to lengthen your muscles.


Stretch a given muscle statically for too long of a time, and you\’re starting to stretch the capsule of the joint, which you definitely don\’t want to do because it destabilizes joints, and causes its own set of problems. Some people (certain athletes and misinformed laymen) actually do stretch to that point, but pay for it later on.

Is that to say that static stretching exercises are bad for all people, all the time? No. They definitely have their applications, and correctly applied, they have benefits. For example, if you have a tight muscle, and you want to weaken that muscle temporarily, static stretching exercises can work. For example, the hip flexors tend to be a muscle group that is tight in many people. So if you were to stretch out your hip flexors for 30 seconds before doing a sprint or a maximal vertical jump, your performance would likely improve.

There are of course other methods of stretching (like dynamic, passive, active, PNF, etc.), and when each is used at the appropriate time, they can have benefits, but that\’s a topic for another newsletter.


Like It? Share it.

If you like this blog post, please share it on facebook and LinkedIn, tweet it on twitter, and pin it on pinterest.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top