Form and injury risk, stretching

This month, I came across two interesting and slightly contradictory reads on injuries and running form, as well as a thought provoking topic on stretching and another on mindfulness.

Reducing vertical impact loading – one year follow-up

It’s always interesting to see follow-ups on research. We can learn something in an 8-12 week study but how well does what we learn apply to the long term?

Well, here we get the answer. It has been long accepted that vertical impact is an important factor in injury risk. A study was performed to test a strategy to reduce vertical impact and found good results during the duration of the study.

How did things work out after a year, though? Well, good news. The results stuck. One year in, vertical impact forces were still lower.

However…

What if vertical impact forces aren’t as significant of a factor for injury risk as we thought it was?

While the results of one study are not conclusive, it seems like horizontal (braking) forces may be a much more significant factor in injury risk than vertical forces. In fact, horizontal forces seem to be a significant factor according to this study, while vertical forces are a non-factor.

As always, this is one study. Don’t turn what you’re doing upside down yet but this is definitely some interesting food for thought.

Pre-run stretching?

Ahh, the age old question. To stretch or not to stretch? This one seems like it’s been debated forever. So what’s the right answer?

What if the right answer is that it depends what you think? This study found that pre-workout stretching for team sport athletes and put them through a thorough warmup routine that included either dynamic stretching, short duration (streches held for 5 seconds each) static stretching, long duration (held for 30 seconds each) static stretching, or no stretching.

The result? Performance didn’t change. They didn’t even find a placebo effect. Stretching didn’t help, it didn’t hurt.

So what do we take from this? Basically what I’ve been saying for some time. Do what you are comfortable with and what you believe in.

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