Health: Is stretching completely pointless before exercising?

Stretching offers no advantages in terms of the risk of injury
Proper preparation before sport can significantly reduce the risk of injury, but many active people obviously resort to the wrong preventive measure. Because, for example, stretching has no demonstrable preventive effect against injuries, sport scientists from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena reported.

In addition to warming up, stretching before doing sports is one of the preventive measures that many athletes want to use to reduce their risk of injury. In fact, with the right preparation, the risk of injury during sports can be reduced, the sports scientists at the University of Jena emphasize. However, stretching or stretching is not a useful preventive measure.

Prevention strategies in footballers examined
In a current study, the sports scientists examined the injury prevention of football players and compared it with the latest scientific findings on the various preventive measures. The results of your study were published in the specialist magazine "PLOS ONE". Professor Dr. Astrid Zech and her colleague Kai Wellmann surveyed a total of 139 professional and young players between the ages of 13 and 35 from a club that operates at the federal league level on the prevention strategies chosen. A particular focus was on ankle injuries.

Stretching without demonstrable benefits
According to Prof. Zech, more than 91 percent of the respondents stated that they stretch their muscles before training or playing and "assume that this will prevent injuries." However, "there is no scientific evidence that this stretching as Prevention measure works. ”In the end, this even reduces jumping and sprint performance. The so-called sensorimotor training, which is also carried out by more than half of the players, is actually advantageous. In these special warm-up exercises, injuries are effectively prevented by jump, balance and stabilization units.

Coordination problems pose a risk of injury
According to the researchers, the causes of injuries are also misjudged by many athletes. Prof. Zech reports that in her experience, for example, coordination problems of the individual player often cause ankle injuries, but only about seven percent of the soccer players surveyed would have regarded them as a risk factor (a little more in the professional area with twelve percent). These injuries in particular can be prevented by clearly defined exercises.

The causes of the risk of injury are often misjudged
In particular, the injuries that occur without outside influence could often be avoided with appropriate prevention, the scientists emphasize. However, many exercises that players do with the conviction that they prevent injuries have no scientifically proven effect. When assessing the causes of injuries, external causes such as opponents and the external conditions (e.g. the space conditions) were mentioned. However, the players also referred to intrinsic factors, i.e. causes of injury from their own body, such as fatigue and muscular problems or the coordination problems already mentioned.

Injury prevention needs to be further strengthened
The current study results "have shown us that the perception of injury prevention needs to be further strengthened," emphasizes Prof. Astrid Zech. The soccer players agree that appropriate preventive measures must be an important part of their training and that the World Association FIFA also supports and funds programs. "But players and coaches should be even better connected to current results and bring the appropriate openness and attention," said the expert. Zech also hopes for more research in this area. (fp)

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Video: 10 min Full Body Cool Down Stretches for Recovery u0026 Flexibility (January 2022).