We are back with another common question clients ask: Should you stretch before workouts?
Stretching is often touted as an essential part of any exercise routine. Whether lifting weights or running, stretching before a workout is commonly believed to prevent injury and improve performance. However, recent research has shown that traditional static stretching may not be the best way to prepare your body for exercise. Instead, focusing on mobility exercises can help you move, feel, and perform better.
The Answer To: Should You Stretch Before Workouts?
The short answer is no; you should not stretch before workouts. Static stretching, where you hold a stretch for a set amount of time, has been shown to reduce muscle strength and power, negatively impacting your performance during your workout. Additionally, stretching does not necessarily reduce the risk of injury, as it does not prepare your body for the specific movements you’ll be doing during your workout.
Why Should You Do Mobility Instead of Stretching?
Mobility exercises, on the other hand, can help prepare your body for activity by improving your range of motion and activating the muscles you’ll be using during your workout. These exercises are typically dynamic, meaning they involve movement and are designed to help you move through a full range of motion.
Types of Stretching
If you do decide to include stretching in your routine, there are three main types of testing you can perform:
Static stretching – Involves holding a stretch for a set amount of time, typically 30 seconds to two minutes.
Dynamic stretching – Involves moving your body through a full range of motion to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise.
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching – Involves a combination of static stretching and contracting the muscle being tested to improve flexibility.
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