Let’s be honest, nobody likes to stretch. Stretching just isn’t fun! But let’s also be real, unless you’re under the age of 30, the body just doesn’t move like it used to.
Even still, regardless of age, stretching can be key when making sure you are at your optimal level when exercising. So the question is, Should you stretch before or after a workout?
I will breakdown the importance of why you should stretch, when you should stretch and how you should stretch when getting ready to take your body through a workout.
Importance Of Stretching
Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion – Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion while conducting a workout. By doing so, you are able to get the maximum benefit with any specific exercise you are doing.
Whether it is strength training, Running, or performing in competition, you are allowing your body to push at full capacity.
Warming up your body – You’re also getting the muscles warmed up and ready to complete a workout.
Especially as you get older, you will start to notice that when the body isn’t warmed up, you will feel a little tight and not able to move as freely as you would if you warmed up properly.
Getting the body warmed up also helps in preventing injury. So stretching can be a great help in making sure the body is good to go before performing a workout.
Different Types Of Stretching Techniques
There are a two main types of stretching techniques you will see people do before or after a workout. Each stretch has its pros and cons, but both try to achieve one main goal, which is to get the body ready to perform. The two types of stretches are Static and Dynamic and I will explain how both are effective in getting the body ready.
Static Stretching – which you will see most people do before or after a workout, either while sitting down or standing up. The purpose of this stretch is to make sure that all tight muscles are stretch out before performing an exercise.
Usually tight muscles within the body are shortened and need to be stretched out. So you will see people stationary in positions that are meant to lengthen the muscle that feels tight.
Dynamic Stretching – this type of stretch involves more movement as you are preparing the body for a particular exercise you are about to perform.
For example, you tend to see track athletes that are getting ready for a sprint race perform high knees while pumping their arms.
Since during the race this will be the actual motion they will be performing, it helps make sure their body is operating at full potential.
Research has also shown that dynamic stretching helps more with getting your body ready for the workout as where static stretching can decrease strength if done before before a workout.
Which gets me to the question, should you stretch before or after a workout?
When Should You Stretch And For How Long?
The recommended amount of time to stretch each muscle, is usually about 30 seconds long. Keep in mind that every person is different so you want to make sure you stretch for as long as it takes for your body to get warmed up for the workout. Depending on the your workout, making sure your body is prepared to do that workout is important to making sure you prevent injury.
So if you are getting ready to do squats, doing dynamic stretching will provide a more efficient workout if performed before. Static stretching done before a workout is known to reduce your strength thus causing you to not perform your exercise at optimal level.
I would recommend doing some static stretches after your workout where the muscles tend to be tight(shortened) to make sure you lengthen them to get them loose.
Cool Down And Stretch
This is a good time to focus on your breathing and get your mind right after an intense workout. Also, I would highly recommend you invest in a foam roller which can be a great tool for loosening up your muscles before and after a workout
So please comment below and let us know how you prepare for a workout. Whether you stretch before or after a workout and how does your body feel afterwards.
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