What is the Proper Protocol for Stretching “Cold” Muscles?
Dear Dr. Millett,
I am impressed with your work on sports injury prevention. Using the suggestions from your articles and website, I have increased my pre-skiing stretches, especially after lunch. Do you have any recommendations for the proper protocol for stretching “cold” muscles? Do you suggest I stretch them before skiing, or after an easy warm-up run?
I consulted with my head athletic trainer, Brandie Martin, who was the former Athletic Trainer for the US Women’s Ski Team. Here are our suggestions:
Pre-Exercise stretching has not been shown to decrease injuries, however it has not been shown to increase injuries either. I would suggest that Mr. Bredy does a 8-10 min warm-up of light aerobic exercise then begin sport-related dynamic stretches (core activation is always good too) before hitting the slopes. An added exercise maybe a quick bout of explosive dynamic plyos (squat jumps or fast-feet) to help activate his muscles before he skis. Dynamic stretching before activity may increase performance while static stretches before activity may decrease performance (this was shown in a study measuring short sprint performance).