Stretch vs Strength: The Surprising Results in Sports Injury Prevention
Stretch vs Strength: The Surprising Results in Sports Injury Prevention The prevailing thought process in little leagues, pee wee football, and high school sports
The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials The article basically took a look at 25 large scale studies that compared the rates of sport-related injury in strength Training, functional exercise programs, and stretching. For most people, the results are pretty surprising:
Strength training and proprioceptive exercise (what most consider functional training) consistently provided a protective effect against injury
Stretching programs showed no effect
The Authors estimate that strength training would reduce sports injury rates by 1/3 and reduce overuse injuries by 1/2
What Does That Mean For My Athletes? This doesn't mean that stretching has no benefits what so ever. There is still some evidence that stretching may help with some types of muscle strains. Additionally, flexibility and good range of motion have been well documented as markers of overall health and longevity, especially as we age. If you want a good run down of how to apply stretching in effective ways, I wrote about it a few months ago in my article: Stretching: You're Doing it Wrong. The big idea is to de-mythify the idea that lifting weights is bad for the body and leads to injury, when the fact is that stronger muscles are what allows the body to be more resilient! Of course this doesn't mean it will make your body bulletproof. Stuff happens, especially in the world of contact sports, where injury for all intents and purposes, is inevitable. We have limited control over our environment, and we have even less control when bad luck happens on the playing field. What we do have control over is how strong we make our bodies.
"While other professions are concerned with changing the environment to suit the weakened body,chiropractic is concerned with strengthening the body to suit the environment." - Dr. B.J Palmer While his quote has nothing to do with exercise, or strength training, Dr. Palmer's words echo the fundamental philosophy that we have towards patient care. If we can't change the environment that the body faces day after day, than it's up to us to make the body more resilient to the environment.