Most people who go to a gym do static stretching before they exercise, But do you need to stretch before you exercise?
Growing evidence suggests that stretching before exercise may not have any real benefits for the average person, but further research is needed to determine if there are any potential benefits after a workout.
So do you need to stretch? If so, when should you do it?
Pre-Workout Static Stretching
Research suggests that static stretching pre-workout could lead to more than an 8% decrease in strength.
Stretching before exercise can reduce the amount of strength and power generated, leading to poorer performance and increased injury risk.
On the other hand, other research has suggested a pre-workout static stretch had no effect, positive or negative.
According to recent research, stretching before exercise isn’t as effective as performing a series of dynamic bodyweight exercises. However, this will increase your joint mobility and help activate your muscles, prime you for action when working out.
If you’re looking to strengthen your lower body, exercises like squats, lunges, and planks are all good exercises to do. They help prepare your muscles and joints for work.
Post-Workout Static Stretching
Some studies suggest that static stretching may not be the best way to prepare for your workout, but stretching post-workout is beneficial for reducing or preventing muscle soreness. This can be especially helpful if you foam roll too!
When you stretch a muscle, you want to do it gradually and appropriately warm-up before working out. After the workout is finished, your muscles will be tense and shortened from all of the contracting they did during the training. This is ideal for foam rolling.
Many factors can contribute to muscle soreness, including when your muscles are tense and shortened. Not getting the blood flow they need, the circulation of nutrients and the removal of waste products can all lead to soreness.
Foam rolling can help alleviate muscle tension, which can then be relaxed with static stretches.
Dynamic stretching is a type of movement you will use during your workouts to prepare yourself for physical activity. It is more active than static stretching, which involves holding a stretch for an extended period.
Your warmup should focus more on dynamic stretches than static stretches.
A warmup should include a light aerobic exercise and some dynamic exercises to help prepare your muscles for the workout. For example, foam rolling can help prime your muscles before you lift.
So Do You Need to Stretch?
Some researchers suggest that foam rolling and stretching your muscles after your workout can help them feel better. For example, you can roll your worked muscles for 30 seconds before moving into a series of static stretches.
For the stretches, you should hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds before easing into a full stretch.
Don’t force a stretch; you don’t want to risk a pulled or strained muscle.
Experts agree that stretching before and after workouts is essential for performance. Just like with everything else, static stretching has its place in your routine – just like dynamic mobility work. In addition, stretching after your workout will jump-start the process of calming down your nervous system, so when you stretch, you’re sending a message to your brain indicating you want to relax.
A warmup should include aerobic exercise and dynamic stretching moves to prepare your body for lifting weights.
Stretching is a great way to keep your muscles flexible and limber, even if you don’t have time for a full-blown workout. If you wake up in the morning feeling stiff, a few quick stretches can help loosen up your muscles and get you started on the right foot.
Next time you watch TV, get down on the floor and do some stretches.