Do you have to stretch before training?
You were always advised to stretch before a workout, but new studies have shown that this was not necessarily necessary.
Static stretching before exercise can weaken performance, such as sprinting speed, according to studies. The most likely reason is that maintaining the stretch tires your muscles. You should warm up by doing dynamic stretches, which are like your workout but at a lower intensity. We explain it all below.
Should we stretch before training?
By constantly working your muscles and strengthening your tendons through the exercises you do during your sessions, you can considerably increase your flexibility. Doing bodybuilding or doing very strong workouts involves everything that happens to work the joints and replenish the soft tissues. This helps increase your flexibility.
However, lifting very heavy weights without warming up beforehand can create excessive stress on the joints and increase inflammation, which reduces flexibility. Also, an increase in muscle mass can limit your range of motion.
Therefore, it is important to stretch to avoid injury and optimize muscle development. But you must do your stretching at the right time.
When should you stretch?
Researchers tested the theory of stretching and examined responses from a randomly selected study of 30 people in one of three groups:
-Static stretching before training
-Static stretching during training
-No stretching before or during training.
The group that did not stretch showed a significant increase in strength with all exercises, while the groups that stretched before or during training had an increase in strength for only certain exercises. We concluded that not stretching before or during training can increase muscle strength more effectively.
Conclusion: you should not stretch before or during training. We recommend that you warm up your joints with simple movements, and gradually increase the load during your exercises. However, we also recommend that you stretch for at least half an hour after your workout, or even the next day, taking care not to stretch a muscle that you are going to work on immediately afterward.
Also, make sure you add more functional whole-body exercises to your routine that allows your joints to enjoy their full range of motion.
- Lynn Millar, PT, Ph.D., FACSM, department chairwoman and professor of physical therapy, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
- Mike Bracko, EdD, CSCS, FACSM, sports physiologist and director of the Institute for Hockey Research, Calgary, Alberta
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