• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 12 comments on Stretch Before Exercise? Not So Fast.

  1. This is in more lamen terms however essentially it states how static stretching reduces your performance. There are a lot of articles about how stretching does not prevent injuries as well.

  2. I will second what Stacey said. My group was told to stretch, so I did, even though I don’t normally. We did Indian runs up a hill, and I had to be excused early…due to a pulled muscle. I always ignore trainers who say to stretch before the workout. That’s just plain stupid.

  3. I don’t know how you can take this information seriously with things such as ‘ According to this research, runners run more slowly, jumpers jump less high, and weight lifters lift more weakly’. I could string better sentences together in primary school.

  4. I find that when I do not do static stretching before a sport or activity, I am far more likely to get sore muscles. However, when I do stretch before an activity, I rarely get sore muscles the next day, or if they do get sore, it is far less severe. It does seem that right after stretching, I do feel slightly weaker so there might be some merit here. For reducing sore muscles and injury, I would highly recommend static stretching; especially if you’re doing a workout that you haven’t done in a while.

  5. I work for a large fulfillment center in Texas. We do pre-shift and post lunch mostly static stretches. About the only thing “dynamic” we do are the squats. There is a lot of walking.

    In my position I use my arms and go up and down a “ladder” a lot, including being on my knee[s] on the floor. Other positions do not seem to need the ladder [really a tall step-stool] as much, but they do use it but they use their arms a lot more. The stowers have a need for speed.

    The counters [my position] accuracy is more important than speed, but speed is still somewhat important, but I don’t need to be near as fast as the stowers of which I was once one, but was no good at it, so they trained me in counting at which I excel, when I concentrate.

    So, what are the best stretches for us stowers and counters?

  6. why does this article have conflicting statements?

    “Recent studies caution people away from stretching before workouts”

    “I suggest that people go through a dynamic stretching routine instead of a static stretching routine prior to exercising.”

  7. Alright, if i have to choose between thousands of years of documented martial arts all agreeing on stretching before class and which come from cultures where proactive prevention is prioritized over merely addressing symptoms as they occur.

    Same reason I do not believe in punching with glove. Boxing warn that punching may damage phalanx while all other martial arts have been punching bags, boards and other surfaces for millenium and actually strengthened their punches (Wolff’s law) rather than damaging them.

    Lesson is: it’s about knowing the proper technique. Sure, if one does not know how to punch he may damage himself punching gloveless and likewise, if someone doesn’t know how to properly stretch depending on the type of workout that he wants to perform, he may not benefit. However, if one knows what he is doing it would be beneficial.

  8. I remember being In grade school being told to stretch before track and field. I noticed as a child that it slowed me down so I stopped and remained active without stretching.

    I’ve never had a body related injury and I’m in my mid 30’s.

  9. I compose music and chart choreography for dancers. What I saw as stretching and warming up for dancers was a lot simpler than exercise guru thoughts. So I adapted it to my weekly fun running stretch. Becoming a dancer a little bit for running (5k every weekday) made it a lot more fun. Imagine occasionally effortlessly putting a foot down as the track rolls along while you pass those who have tried to push over trees for “warmup”.

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