Stretching is good, right? YES, very good. According to MayoClinic.org it can...
• Improve your performance in physical activities
• Decrease your risk of injuries
• Help your joints move through their full range of motion
• Increase muscle blood flow
• Enable your muscles to work most effectively
• Improve your ability to do daily activities
Most people know, or at least understand, that stretching is good for your muscles. So, then, you should do it right before you workout, correct?
Not exactly… When one thinks of stretching they usually think of static stretching. Which is where you are holding a position for typically 30 seconds or more. This kind of stretching is great! Just not right before you resistance train.
Think about your muscles as a rubber band. If you hold a stretched rubber band for 1 minute or longer , it will be looser than it was prior to the stretching, therefore causing it not to be as strong. Your muscles are the same way, if you (static) stretch them before your training, you are not going to be as strong, as well as increase your chance for injury.
So when SHOULD I static stretch ?
You should STATIC stretch AFTER your workouts.
Once you are done working out and while your muscles are still warm is a good time to static stretch and hold positions for 30 seconds or more. Get as deep into the stretch as you can and focus especially on the muscles you just worked, as they will be extra tight from your workout.
What should i do before my workout to warm up then?
You should DYNAMIC stretch BEFORE your workout to warm up the muscles and get them ready for heavy activity. You don’t want to start out cold, so go through several movements getting the blood flowing throughout the body to get it warm. Try mimicking movements you plan to do that day in your workout, but make them body weight. For example, if you are doing barbell squats that day, do body weight squats as your dynamic warmup. Get the blood flowing to the muscles and joints you plan on working. If you are working legs, get the hips, knees, and ankles ready.
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