The question of when to stretch is always a hot topic. While doing sports we were always taught to stretch before working out. However, through Personal training certification classes, we were taught that stretching too much before working out was actually ALL WRONG! The theory was that stretching relaxed muscles, which made them weak and lack strength. A team of researches in London gave us even more information as to why you shouldn’t stretch before a workout routine.
When you stretch before exercising, your body may think it’s at risk of being overstretched. It compensates by contracting and becoming more tense. That means you aren’t able to move as fast or as freely, making you more likely to get hurt.
“It’s like weight training to become stronger,” he said. “You wouldn’t do a weight session right before you exercise, and you shouldn’t stretch right before either (source)”
This study also says that doing to much static stretching before a routine can also rob you of results. This is due to the lack of power production in your routine which can also lead to decreased calorie burning.
So how should you get ready for your workout??? Simple, do active stretching. Active stretching is like a “warm-up.” If you are going to jog, then start out with a very slow jog to get the blood pumping to the right places. If you are going to do a bench press then do a VERY light version of the exercise (maybe just the bar alone). Active stretching can also just be things like twisting, body hugs, and kicks. In the gym, we also use the foam roller as a way to warm up clients.
Stretching is an important part to any routine, just make sure you do it at the right time!