Does Stretching/Warming Up Actually Help?

More than 10 million sports related injuries
occur in the world every year. To avoid this, athletes and coaches alike are using a variety
of pre-competition techniques to decrease injuries and increase performance. But, what
does science tell us about stretching and “warming-up”? Many studies have looked at how stretching
can affect athletic performance, and it turns out…it depends on the activity! Sports such
as figure skating and snowboarding, which require a wide range of motions to impress
the judges, certainly benefit from an athlete’s flexibility. But for power sports like speed
skating and bobsledding, too much stretching may actually cause a temporary decrease in
muscle strength. The overstretched muscle becomes less responsive and can stay weakened
for up to 30 minutes. Although athletic competitions can be strenuous,
there is little evidence to suggest that stretching before or after a competition decreases muscle
soreness. Some studies have even noted that extreme flexibility can lead to an increase
in the range of stretching without pain. And if you can’t feel pain, the body doesn’t know
when to stop pushing; as a result, injuries can occur. Another large study of athletes
found that the least and most flexible participants were 2.5 times more likely to incur an injury.
So when it comes to flexibility in competitive sports, it’s most beneficial to be moderately
flexible. A well designed ‘warm up’ is also extremely
beneficial. The term itself comes from the positive effects of raising the temperature
of your body before a competition. Slowly increasing physical intensity prior to a sport
increases muscle temperature, ultimately allowing your muscles to contract more forcefully.
More forceful contractions, equals more strength and power. Furthermore, slowly adding movement
to your muscles opens up the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily throughout
the body, and decreases the strain on your heart. Finally, as your blood temperature
increases, your blood cells actually hold less oxygen. This loose oxygen is then free
to be used by your muscles, increasing overall endurance. Science says, it’s important not to over “stretch”
it when it comes to flexibility, but physically “warming up” your body before each specific
sport might help you burn the competition. Don’t forget: we have a new video out every day during the Olympics. Can’t wait? Our amazing partners at the CBC already have five of the videos up now for you to binge on. Just head to to watch them before anyone else. Link in the description. But we also want to know your questions for this special series. Use the hashtag ScienceSays and let us know your burning Olympic questions. And subscribe for more awesome science videos!

100 thoughts on “Does Stretching/Warming Up Actually Help?”

  1. I'm calling this guy out as part of the illuminati, stretching has been proven for centuries to relieve stress among other before/after work out benefits. How am I supposed to believe this guy over years of other research??? I will not, nor can not.

  2. i know that it is nothing about the Olympics, but do something about ballet, there you have flexibility and strength all the time, it would be nice 

  3. Thank you, I always thought stretching was ridiculous. Warming up makes sense. I mean there is a big difference between a nature stretch, healthy and important and what we purposely do before and after a workout. I have been told it helps reduce injury, but it seems many people are injured while stretching.  

  4. ughhh my taekwondo trainor dont know this she always want me to be much flexible as possible so i can kick higher but if i can say i cant anymore lol thats the highest kick i can do i am on split when im doing my highest kick 

  5. OH! I totally didn't know you guys were Canadian! You're MORE awesome now! 😀
    Keep up the great work!
    (Calgary, AB)

  6. warming up has to account for fitness level of every athlete/participant. The more fit you are the quicker your body adapts to exercise. The less fit you are, the body requires at least 10-15min of exercise at 70-75% of your max effort. The reality is that someone can overdo warming up and start fatiguing glycogen stores and therefore diminishing performance for the intended event/activity. Listen to your body.

  7. 1. yes and i know why because when i was lifting weights and doing cardio 7 days a week in high school i was stiff as hell and slow in punches and kicks
    2. now i stretch 2 hours a day and work out a lot at the gym when i have the time but recently i havent been stretching because of college but i am taking a yoga class which we stretch for 2 hours so i make up for it and my punches and kicks have vastly increased in speed because of my gym routine
    3. but recently for the past 6 months going on 7 months i have been doing push ups and squats at high, medium, and low positions and am still very flexible even though i only stretch for 2 days out of the week instead of 7 days
    4. i cant wait until i have the time to do my gym routine again
    5. BRUCE LEE is the perfect example of what stretching can do who is also my fitness goal

  8. how much does studying actually help in tests? is it more important to be good at studying or to be naturally intelligent?

  9. I'm not very flexible at all but I stretch every day a little bit before and after each exercise.  Is that too much?

    Sometimes it feels really good to my back and legs.

  10. I once had an abdominal muscle injury. I took a break for 2 months so that I know that it would heal completely. I then started abdominal exercises again and added an abdominal stretch at the end. It decreased my injury related muscle soreness after the muscles healed.

  11. This video says streatching dose not help aginst muscle pains after training . but all my life i have been learned that it dose. what to belive?

  12. Im on a gymnastics team and my coach makes us stretch before its not because she doesn't want us to hurt ourselves its so we can get more flexible

  13. Iam personally a powerlifter but I know from personal experience and my PTs that flexing for a strength exercises is pointless, if u are involved in heavy athletics bodybuilding powerlifting strongman etc u dont need to stretch before work out/competition as it will not improve your strength performance. Thou this is legit for light athletes runners etc.

  14. Yes, too much stretching can be bad for you but only if you over stretch your muscles. If you over stretch your muscles then there will be a decrease in muscle strength this occurs because once over stretched the same muscle become unresponsive for up to 30 30 mins.

  15. Throughout my life I have played a number of different sports and I have also done quite a bit of weight lifting and working out at gyms. The coaches that I had always stressed how important it was to stretch and warm up before we practiced or started our weight lifting. So, since I was taught that way I have always thought that stretching and warming up were very important so I didn't get hurt. It does make sense though, that if you stretch too much before certain things it can decrease your muscle strength. Now that I am no longer actively playing a sport, I typically go to the gym to work out. I have gotten into a habit of not stretching anymore before I work out because it didn't really seem to be helping, but I still warm up a little before I get started. If I am sore I tend to stretch to help with it and typically it does help loosen me up a bit. I agree with the video though that the more flexible you are the easier you could get hurt. I knew someone in high school who was extremely flexible and she was always getting hurt. I still think that warming up before you start to do any kind of exercise is very important. It warms up your muscles and get your heart pumping and helps your body get prepared for whatever you are going to do. I completely agree the warming up before exercise will help your body more than if you don't.

  16. Darn, I was really hoping that you would say and give scientific evidence that stretching doesn't help so I could show it to my P.E. coach!  Guess I'll have to wait at least until college to not have to do warm-ups/P.E.

  17. I'm naturally very hyper mobile and did / hope to continue acrobatic gymnastics but because of my flexibility I used to over stretch with out feeling any pain (as mentioned in the video) and have recently found out that I have bi-lateral pars defects in my spine (spinal fractures) and am out for 5 months at least :(. Let this be a lesson to not over stretch 🙂

  18. This particular episode of ASAPScience seemed quite boring and unappealing to me. Then I realized there was no background music.

  19. That really bothers me that you completely missed a burn pun at the end… Should've said "speaking of burning, got a burning question you want answered? leave it in the comments below"

  20. Hold on, why not just jump into high intensity exercise? That's the fastest way to warm up. You didn't actually discuss why we should increase intensity gradually, which should have been the whole point of this video.

  21. I don't really care what the studies say about stretching not helping with soreness. Every time I don't stretch after a workout, I get DOMS and my muscles are not ready to be worked again the next time I train. If some study goes against what I have found, then a) the study's scope was limited, b) the result is for the average (for half of the people it helps, for half it hurts) or c) there are outliers and I am one of them (for example I'm somewhat hyper mobile, so that could be a factor). Nevertheless, generalizations suck.

  22. Yes i agree you should always keep stretching/flexiblity exercises in your routine. But as for a warm up dynamic stretching in the form of jumping jacks or light joggging or warming up with 50 RM is enough. Static stretching to length muscle is probably best on a separate session or after a rigors workout. But it does depend on how far you push your static stretching and weather your working out for a max out or if your just working out for another reason. Also overstretching can be an issue when it comes to static stretching…

  23. no wonder i feel so much relax and wasnt able to perform well after stretching and before my workout. totally agree with the stretching for muscle soreness. it doesnt reduce it but only temporary get ur sore pain reduced . after a while, same exact soreness and sometime it is worsen

  24. stretching doesnt do shit, i ever stretch and ive only lightly pulled a few muscles and when i stretch in gym class than i pull muscles and badly

  25. Anyway you guys could link your references? Im doing a research paper on flexibility as it relates to injury and have found very little that could back some of these claims.

  26. Can you answer the question of how to be flexible if I am least flexible person and usualy can't strech correctlt

  27. God has spoken a word salad… Thuh judg3 h4z str3cHed the boudaries of don't go inside the net of Knet newtr4litee of waves upon doctor robotnik with flower of the power with epik studity of ducks of luck…

  28. Don’t even have to watch this video to tell you that based on personal experience from playing soccer the past 11 years that stretching does help if not is required before a good training or game, many of reasons why I have gotten injured before was because I did not warm up properly before playing extensively so yes, it does help with most sports

  29. Fitness Facts Vs. Myths – How Many Can You Get Right?

  30. Stretching is really helpful actually and important! BUT only if you stretch actively, passive stretching sux.

  31. It's a great thing to do before a exercise I do it in the morning.but don't bother working out after that Lol, that becomes my work out.😁😘😂.

  32. Been telling people this for years and they look at me like im craz.. just a dude whose been playing sports his entire life lol

  33. It’s wild all these new studies that have us shifting the way we train nowadays . Back in my childhood days we thought it was all about stretching before doing whatever sport you were doing . Now it’s all about the warmup routine with very mild stretching . I warmup then very very lightly stretch after the workout but not too much stretching . Just to get loose . Then I’m ready to go

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