Strech after workout or before is a big question that hits many fitness enthusiasts before they start their workouts. Some think that it must be done pre-workout while some think that it should be done post-workout.
Let’s find out about the truth!!
What do you mean by streching?
I think before I carry on this post explaining the topic, everyone reading this post must have a clear idea about what it really means to do stretching.
Stretching is a type of exercise in which we move some specific parts of the body in such a way that we purposefully try to stretch or flex the muscles of that body part to improve muscle elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone.
It has many types also like – Static, Dynamic, Passive, Ballistic, Active, PNF and Functional.
People mostly tend to do static stretching before their workouts based on the idea that this may either warm up their muscles or can prevent injury in that muscle. However, I think I am going to change this opinion in this post.
Strech after workout or before?
Now, let’s answer the big question.
And the answer is……
YOU SHOULDN’T STRECH BEFORE WORKOUT!!
(NOTE, by “strech” I am referring to static streching. As that is what people mostly do pre-workout and have had the most confusion about.)
Because you see, stretching is a thing which should be done when your muscles are warm. But when you start your workout with stretching only, the time when your muscles are cold and stiff, then you will increase the risk of injury rather than preventing it.
So what should you do before your workout?
Well, before you start any sort of physical exercise, it is a must to warm up your muscles. And to warm up your muscles, you can do a simple warm-up activity like running, jogging. Also, you could do dynamic stretching before your workout. This includes leg swings and walking lunges( in case of running) and arm circles ( in case of lifting weights) etc. These kinds of stretches can greatly improve your motion of muscles and warm them up too. Thereby, reducing your risk of injuries.
What about streching after workout?
When it comes to after-workouts, you don’t have to force yourself out of static stretching. In fact, when you do static stretching after a workout, you can greatly increase your recovery speed.
It will increase your blood flow to the targeted muscle, which means an increased supply of oxygen to that muscle resulting in faster recovery. It also calms down your heart rate, according to recent studies. Static stretches include all those stretches which you do when you are in a fixed position like bending over and touching your toes, hamstring stretch etc.
In short, static stretching is the best way to finish your workout as it boosts your recovery afterward. However, this stretching won’t prevent you from having sore muscles the next day.
Let me conclude it in a short and crisp manner.
Before workout – No static stretching. Just do a simple warm-up involving dynamic stretching.
After workout – This is the best time to do stretching. As it will perfectly finish your workout, by taking your muscles back to the state they were before your workout. As a result, you could do your workout the next day again.