Pre-Workout Stretching Offers No Injury Prevention Benefit, Study Shows

Studies found stretching before running may not prevent injuries

New research explains that performing stretching exercises prior to running will not decrease injury risks at all.

Many researchers have been working to adequately monitor how, or if, stretching affects running and whether or not it should be performed before exercising. Various theories exist, including that stretching before working out may actually increase injury risks as muscles are not adequately warm to be stretched.

Most of the studies that have previously analyzed stretching have monitored gymnastics or wrestling athletes, neither directly related to recreational running.

For the study, more than 2,700 individuals who were older than 13 and ran more than 10 miles per week were assessed.

Runners were placed in two groups — group 1 stretched major muscle groups associated with running (hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and Achilles tendons) and individuals in group 2 did not stretch.

All runners continued running as they would previously, even those in the stretch group. Runners then reported injuries to researchers.

The study discovered injury rates near 15 percent for both groups, alluding to the fact that stretching may not prevent injury when performed prior to exercise.

Experts suggest maintaining a routine, as individuals who usually stretched and were assigned to the non-stretch group, noticed higher injury risks.