So, here you are after reading my first post on stretching (if you haven’t, it’s here and worth reading first – then come back).
In that post I question the benefits that static stretching offers us as runners when done by itself. Add to that, the fact that there is still a lot of confusion about what stretching does and how it can be used to help us.
I also promised a follow up post – but this is not it.
And that’s because as I was putting the finishing touches to the post, I received an interesting email from Brad Walker, AKA The Stretch Coach or Stretch Guru that I mention in my article. I thought the article that Brad linked to in his email highlighted my points so well that I’ve decided to share it with you, and I encourage you to read it.
In summary, Brad has created a response to an article written by Paul Ingraham from PainScience.com – a resource I’ve used many times to point me in helpful directions when conducting deeper research into mobility, pain management and so on.
Paul has a section of his site where, like me, he questions the benefits of stretching. However, unlike me, he tends not to pull any punches, nor does he differentiate too much between types of stretching and classifies all stretching in a similar way. Paul cites lots of research to back up his argument, and in all honesty it’s a great and interesting read.
However, Brad is keen to point out the flaws in Paul’s work and in the research used, and his response article is also a great read.
Like all things in life, there is more than one viewpoint and so much confusion around any topic to do with health and fitness. So much of the research can be picked at, and a lot of it doesn’t seem applicable in real world environments. This makes it incredibly difficult to prove one way or another whether stretching or any other tool available to us is actually going to be of any benefit.
This is exactly why I frequently state that the tools we have available, whether that’s stretching, strengthening or anything else, is neither good nor bad – it’s just a tool that can help us or not. And that helpfulness changes from one situation to the next.
What is far more important is to learn to listen to your own feedback. When you can do this, you can build up your own personalised toolbox that you can rummage through whenever you need it.
This is why I teach and coach – so you can gain the confidence in your own ability to experiment and draw your own conclusions, helping you to become a more confident runner.
I firmly believe that no single person or single system has all the answers.
Now, I must get back to finishing part 2 of my stretching article…