The benefits of stretching are well known... or are they?I was always taught that stretching before any sporting activity is essential in order to avoid injury. But some research is now suggesting that it does not actually help at all.
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My personal favourite is to use Tandoku Renshu as warmup stretching, closely followed by Ju No Kata (see video below). I find stretching at my age to be essential if I am to do any Judo at all. Forget about an injury, if I am going to just simply be able to move with any kind of freedom on the mat, I need to get those muscles moving or I'm not.
However, in his article 12 Benefits of Stretching – Backed by Science Brad Walker shows that, although in my case it might get you moving there is little evidence to show that stretching immediately before your preferred activity actually prevents injury.
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This may come as a surprise to you as I know it did to me. However, as you can see by the title of his article he is not advocating that we should stop stretching altogether. What he goes on to show is that even if there is no immediate benefit, there is a significant benefit over the long term.
The article is well worth a read and may change your approach to stretching over the long term, particularly if you are a competitor.