I’m a firm believer that you cannot claim expertise until someone learns from your experience. That’s why I’m happy to answer questions all day, every day. Is static stretching bad? Is foam rolling a waste of time? What’s better to put on an injury—ice or heat? With over 35 years in the coaching, athletic injury, and fitness industry, I am often asked to share my perspective. It’s an honor.
Let’s chat about a few of the recent questions I received.
Fact or fiction: Static stretching is bad
and it can hurt performance
Fact: There is some research indicating that static stretching can be harmful and hinder performance to a degree. But static stretching still has its place. When I worked in the NBA with the Charlotte Hornets, we would do a few minutes of light static stretching with bands before our dynamic movements. Fact: There’s a right way and a wrong way to implement static stretching. If you perform static stretches for too long, the elasticity leaves the muscle. All the energy is taken out. You want to perform static stretches for 30 to 60 seconds at most. Research also points to static stretching as being more productive at the end of a workout session or a hard practice. If used properly, it won’t hurt performance. Do whatever feels best for your body.
Fact or fiction:
Foam rolling is a waste of time
Do you know about the 1% rule when it comes to supplements? What if supplements can only help you improve your health or athletic performance by 1%, is it worth it? Of course it is! That 1% may be the difference between finishing first or second place in an event or having some type of health issue or not. Well, the same is true with the foam roll.
Fact: The foam roll is used to smooth out the muscle fascia which is a band or sheet of connective tissue fibers, primarily collagen, that forms beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs. After a workout (or before) fascia can get all bound up causing the muscle to be stiff. This can limit range of motion.
Fun fact: Last summer, I worked with Michael Chadwick, an all-American swimmer from the University of Missouri. He used the foam roller to help massage the muscle fascia around the area of the upper back. On a personal level, I used the foam roller after I had surgery on my quadriceps tendon. It helped me return to squatting months earlier than expected.
Fact or fiction:
Ice is not good after an injury
Fact: There is research indicating that ice may be detrimental in some cases. Kelly Starrett, a leading Physical Therapist in the field of movement, has done a very good job in bringing this to the forefront. We’ll know more in years to come if this holds substance. Until then, I still think it’s a good idea to
ice the first 24 to 48 hours when there’s an injury.
Fact: I’m not a Physical Therapist, but I have assisted some of the best PTs in the country. I have seen firsthand how ice can help relieve the stress and reduce the swelling to help retain the range of motion in a joint. A lot of researchers haven’t worked with 12 to 15 patients a day for over 20 years. They haven’t seen what ice can do by taking the swelling down. Another thing, a lot of times a surgeon can’t operate until the swelling goes down on a particular injury. Go ahead and put heat on the injury and watch it swell that much more! The surgeon will wait.
Fact: There are times to heat and times to ice. Only time will tell which one will win out. And change our way of thinking. More research is needed. I hope this answered some of your questions. Or maybe it raised a few more? Feel free to reach out to me anytime. I would love to hear from you. And that’s a fact.
Europa Sports Products Fitness/Wellness Coordinator
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Appalachian State University 1984-1990
Strength & Conditioning Coach Charlotte Hornets NBA team 1990-2001