30 years ago, Spandex was the preferred gym attire, Tony Little held the answer to a six pack and static stretching, from big leagues down to the bush leagues, was the promised messiah to performance enhancement and injury prevention.
But, in the 1990s, the once-faithful static stretching choir started making heretical accusations questioning the deification of static stretching.
Then scores of studies started to pile up showing that after static stretching, force production and explosive power decreased.
Now days, the preferred warm-up protocol to maximize both strength and explosive power is dynamic stretching.
What if I was to tell you the research that doomed static stretching before any activity that requires strength or power actually opened up a way to increase strength and power via static stretching?
A couple of years ago, I was testing my athletes’ vertical jumps and experimented by having them static stretch their hip flexors prior to jumping.
And voila—jumping ability across the board increased.
I was as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine! On paper this made sense and in practice it made me cents.
Breaking It Down
When performing a vertical jump, power comes from the posterior chain. The hip flexors work as antagonist to the glutes (meaning resist vertical jump ability). If the hip flexors are in a weakened state, you can jump higher; you have opposed the resistance.
This got me thinking.
In theory, the same technique could be used with the deadlift. When your glutes lockout a deadlift, like the vertical jump, they are opposed by the hip flexors. You can weaken the opposition the same way!
The experiment proved fruitful.
Before your next heavy deadlift, static stretch your hip flexors for 2-3 sets of 30-60 seconds and instantly increase your deadlift.
Excited to hear how it works for you!
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