Pre-Exercise Stretching: The Secret in Avoiding Sprains and Muscle Strains.

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Why Pre Shift Stretching Programs Work

Pre shift stretching programs can be a valuable addition to your health and safety program when properly implemented and executed.

Effective programs reduce the risk of sprains, strains and numerous other injuries to the musculoskeletal system.

You might not think sprains and strains sound all that serious, but on-the-ball safety managers know that soft tissue injuries account for the majority of workplace injuries and cost their company a ton of money, not to mention the needless pain and suffering of the employees under their watch.

Pre Shift Stretching is Only One Piece of the Injury Prevention Puzzle

It should be noted that pre shift stretching is only one piece of the puzzle. If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you know the importance of a comprehensive approach to injury prevention.

A strong ergonomics program, excellent employee training, and an early intervention strategy make pre shift stretching even more effective. (More on comprehensive injury prevention.)

Pre shift stretching alone will not be a complete solution for musculoskeletal injury prevention, but it will go a long way in reducing risk of injury and improving safety culture.

So Why Does Pre Shift Stretching Work?

Strategies to prevent musculoskeletal injuries should work to decrease fatigue and increase recovery of the body’s musculoskeletal system.

Pre shift stretching reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries by reducing fatigue, improving muscular balance and posture, and improving muscle coordination.

Stretching Reduces Fatigue

  • Stretching increases blood supply and nutrients to joint structures.
  • Stretching increases soft tissue temperature and allows for greater elasticity of tissues.
  • Stretching increases joint synovial fluid (lubricant for bones and articular cartilage) that allows greater range of motion and reduces joint degeneration.
  • Stretching increases a joint’s ability to move through a greater range of motion with less energy required to do so.
  • Stretching decreases resistance in tendons and muscles.

Stretching Improves Muscular Balance and Posture

  • Soft tissue structures often adapted poorly to effects of gravity and poor postural habits.
  • Stretching realigns soft tissue structures, thus reducing effort to achieve & maintain good posture in activities of daily living.

Stretching Improves Muscle Coordination

  • Stretching enhances nerve impulse velocity (the time it takes an impulse to travel to the brain and back to the muscle).
  • Stretching helps opposing muscle groups work in a more coordinated fashion.


Pre-shift stretching is all about taking a proactive approach to health and safety, and is most effective as part of a comprehensive injury prevention strategy.