How much stretching is too much stretching?

I have some concerns about stretching before a speed session. I think that i might be somewhat obsessed with getting in enough stretching before a workout. Before i start a speed session, my warm-up consists of light jogging for about 1/2-3/4 of a mile, followed by over an hour of stretching with jumping jacks and other calisthetics in between the stretches. Its not like i start one stretch right after the other…i do take rests in between and i do light calisthetics between them…im just concerned that im doing too many stretches to the point where i am OVERLY stretched out for a workout. I ususally perform many stretches and i hold each one for 30 seconds, and i usually dont feel like im limber enough to begin my sprinting unless ive performed every one of my stretches (neck, shoulders, back, lower back, quads, hams, hip flexors, groin, calves, glutes, etc etc). By the time im done with my stretching and have moved on to my light form drills (which is the next part of my warmup) i already feel kind of winded.
My question is : IS THIS AMOUNT OF STRETCHING PRIOR TO A SPEED SESSION DETRIMENTAL TO A SPEED SESSION? The obvious answer may seem to be yes, but i truly feel that if i dont get in all these stretches i not as mobile during the speed session. Maybe its all in my head…i dont know. Whats your opinion on my situation and how much stretching is too much?? Thanks for any help.

Do you do any mobility drills during your “light form drills”? There are a few skips that limber me up like no other. (and a few that make me fall over in agony crying like a baby). They might be a good option if you feel you are doing too much stretching.

I emphasize “feel” because while there may be members who whip out studies scientific studies done by universities (probably not known for their running programs) showing how too much stretching can do some funky voodoo on the elasticity of your muscle. I think that as long as mentally and physically you feel prepaired to run, then there’s no problem.

I’m glad you do your calisthetics, I know athletes who do their 5-10 minute warmup, then plop down on their bums and stretch for 15-20 minutes without every getting off the ground. Kind of defeats the purpose of the 10 minute run.

On the note of feeling “winded” I have to ask, how long have you been training using your current routine? I want to guaruntee that the energy it takes for you to do your warmup won’t bother you in a few weeks, BUT it shouldn’t take away from your speed work.

Also are you particularly tight? Or very flexible? Do you message? Stick ™ or foam roll? What else do you do toyour muscles besides stretch?

An hour of static stretches before a speed workout… Yikes, that might be a bit overkill. You should save the ROM work for post-session, as trying to force that upon yourself pre-workout may not be the best for various reasons.

Checkout the GPP DVD if you can to see a full warm up that you can implement. I’m sure if you search around you can find something that’s much more effective than what you may be using. Just my opinion.

I would do something like this:
-Light jog, 5-8 minutes.
-Side skips, arm circles, hip circles.
-Light static stretches of hips, hamstrings, quads, calves.
-Dynamic Warmup/Drills: A-skip, B-skip, Side shuffle, Carioca, Backwards running, Butt kicks, High knees. (20-25m each)
-Scorpions, Iron Cross, Lunges, Leg Swings, etc.

Then you can progress into your buildups/accelerations. This doesn’t have to be your EXACT warm up, just a basic idea of what you can do to get an idea. This should take you maybe 40-45 minutes including the accelerations. Hope that got you going in the right direction.

Yes this is too much. You’re probably not winded, you’re probably just boring yourself to death.

if you are doing a hour of static stretching before sprint workouts you are shooting yourself in the foot. Not only will you slow yourself down you are more likely to get injured. You need to be doing dynamic stretches… and STOP jogging a mile everytime you workout :slight_smile:

I would check out eric cresseys dvd

I certainly would not recommend long static stretching during the warm-up. I would opt more for gentle range of motion exercises that emphasize movement.

Some intermittent stretches can be used as the warm-up progresses, but these should be easy and only held for a few seconds to test the range of motion, not enhance it. As you warm up, the range of motion should increase, so using the light stretches at repeated points in the warm-up helps you to judge your progress.

Over an hour of stretching !! How do you have the strength to break into more than a fast jog :smiley:

Do dynamic stretches pre. Static position stretches increase range in…static positions. Which obviously is more beneficial after training.