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Infographic running myth: static stretching reduces injury risk in runners
  1. James L N Alexander1,
  2. Christian J Barton1,2,
  3. Richard W Willy3
  1. 1 Sports and Excercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Surgery, St Vincent's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Physical Therapy and Movement Science, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA
  1. Correspondence to James L N Alexander, La Trobe Sports and Excercise Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia; j.alexander{at}

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It is a commonly held belief that static stretching plays an important role in improving running performance and decreasing injury risk.1 As such static stretching, undertaken as part of a ‘warm-up’ prior to running, at the end of a run or as part of a strength training programme, is a common practice among runners of all levels. Static stretching involves lengthening a muscle to the point at which a gentle tension is felt and remaining in this position, typically for a minimum of 30 seconds per stretch.2

Current research evidence definitively reports that this belief is, in fact, incorrect (figure 1).3 4

Figure 1


Running places significantly high loads through the joints and soft tissues of the body. As a result, runners are at a …

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  • Twitter @JamesA_15, @DrChrisBarton, @rwilly2003

  • Collaborators Katherine Parker.

  • Contributors JLNA and CJB: conceived the idea. JLNA: led development of the infographic and accompanying text. All authors contributed and approved the final infographic and accompanying text.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.