Finally I don’t feel like the only person to understand that the research on stretching and it’s benefits, particularly before exercise as part of a warm up, is equivocal at best. I just found this article http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/search/label/warm%20up which makes the points I discovered during my degree.
Stretching, like any aspect of physical activity, can actually get quite complex. Most people do static stretching but there are many kinds and some offer different benefits and require different levels of knowledge and care. done properly they can be highly effective and prevent injuries. However I still remember research that indicated that joints with more flexibility than the associated msucle could handle lead to injuries, and also other research which found that runners that were too flexible had a reduce in the efficiency of their running style.
None of this says you shouldn’t stretch, since it’s also recognised that short muscles can lead to injury, many sprint athletes find short hanstrings to be the cause of repeated hamstring strains. What you shuld take from this is that stretching requires respect and a skilled approach like any other aspect. Stretching before exercise is not advisable. Stretching after is. stretching with dynamic movements, bascially ones where the joint is moving rather than being held still, is also recommended for most sports since the benefit you get is always related to the properties of the stretch held.
What I mean by this is that a statich stretch with no movement will help the muscle lengthen in that joint angle for a certain amount. A dynamic stretch through a wider range of motion will allow the muscle to lengthen through that range of motion, not just the one angle.