The first time I heard this information, I was a studying Kinesiology at the University of Illinois many years ago. I was bewildered! Growing up playing basketball and running Cross Country, we always stretched before we were active. We wanted to prevent injuries. Little did I know, the evidence at UIUC suggested that was a huge mistake. However it was not until I studied Functional Neurology that I finally understood why. It has to do with the part of the muscle tendon that senses tension which are called Golgi Tendon Organs. You have heard of those heroic tales of a person lifting an entire car to save the life of a child trapped underneath? To do this, their brain has to override the signals coming from GTO’s that are screaming “this is too much tension, too much weight!”. Normally, GTO’s are designed to protect us from injury. When we perform static stretching before we work out, we are activating GTO’s and warning our muscles about tension. This has a net effect of decreasing strength.
A better strategy is to warm up with the exercise you are about to perform and perform dynamic stretching. Watch this video for more information.
Myths about stretchingAn exercise scientist explains what everyone gets wrong about stretching.
Posted by Tech Insider on Sunday, November 15, 2015