When is the best time to stretch during an exercise routine?
Most research indicates that static stretching should be performed before an activity and dynamic stretching before and after a workout.
What is the optimum time to stretch during my workout session?
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Stretching before exercise will prevent injury and increase flexibility, but there might also be some loss of power in the muscles stretched if those muscles are used in practice. Stretching immediately before an event may result in injury, but it may also decrease the amount of time needed for warm-up before intense physical activity.
Suppose stretching is performed dynamically (i.e., repeated motions) during a workout. This should not interfere with muscle performance significantly because the demands are different from those placed on the muscles during strenuous exercise.
If I Stretch before exercising, will I build more flexibility faster?
Many people believe that stretching before a workout prevents injuries and speeds up the development of increased flexibility and range of motion (ROM). However, studies indicate that stretching before a movement does not decrease or prevent injuries. Some research now suggests that stretching before exercise might increase the risk of injury.
Stretching while warmed up prevents pulls And tears, but, again stretching while warmed up prevents pull and tears because it decreases muscle stiffness by lengthening the sarcomeres (the basic contractile units of muscle), not because it has any direct effect on the muscles’ ability to withstand the tension; in fact, studies indicate that static stretching may reduce muscle strength by as much as 30%.
That said, anecdotal evidence suggests that dynamic stretching can enhance athletic performance by increasing body temperature and range of motion around a joint. Dynamic stretching should be performed for 5-10 minutes before the activity to allow sufficient time for the tissues to reach an appropriate temperature for activity.
Dynamic stretches utilize movement at a joint to achieve a range of motion. A busy stretch often progresses from a more minor to a larger movement amplitude and is repeated continuously. Sprinting, plyometrics, and dynamic flexibility drills are all common examples.
For example, kicking your leg out in front of you while crossing one leg over the other in front of your body is an example of what would be considered a dynamic stretch for the hip flexors. A final example of dynamic stretching would be to assume a sprinter’s starting position and then move through the motions of sprinting, mimicking the muscle contractions you would use in an actual sprint.
Static stretches can occur during warm-up or after exercise as part of cool down. Static stretching consists of putting your body into a stretch position and then holding that position for a while instead of repeatedly moving back and forth between a stretched and contracted position.
PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) techniques combine passive stretching with isometric contraction across the joint being stretched to enhance ROM. They involve initially contracting the target muscle while passively stretching, then relaxing while being held in an extended position before performing the isometric contraction.
PNF consists of two stages: the first stage is muscular contraction without relaxing (isometric), followed by muscular relaxation with stretching further than in the previous position (passive).
Supplements that may help you recover faster after an intense workout are BCAA’s, Protein Shakes, Glutamine, Magnesium. Have a proper diet consisting of lean meats (chicken breast, turkey breast, etc..), whole grains like oatmeal, and brown rice, especially if your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle mass.
The next time you hit the gym, make sure your warm-up before any rigorous activity and cool down after all workouts. This will help you prevent injuries and develop more flexibility over time without losing strength.
There are a lot of myths surrounding stretching, so go ahead and answer the poll question. Next week we’ll do a more in-depth blog on how to stretch correctly… Cheers!
If you ever have any pain or injury, I recommend going to a professional sports massage therapist. A good one should figure out if it is an issue with tight muscles or something like a torn ligament that requires different treatment.
Athletes always get massages after workouts for good reason because it helps their body recover faster from exercise, which allows them to train harder and more often without getting injured, which isn’t worth the risk unless your goal is to win the Olympics.
Not only does regular massaging help athletes recover faster, but it also helps injured people recover from injuries quickly. The best massages are sports, deep tissue, and Thai massage because they get all the muscles surrounding the injury working, which speeds up recovery time.
Tight muscles are not the only reason people have trouble recovering from injuries. Sometimes it’s because of damaged tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or even bones which require more time to recover than tight muscles alone.
I know there are a lot of health professionals out there who will tell you that “you just need to stretch more,” but if they aren’t checking your range of motion with different types of tests like the passive straight leg raise test or comparing your injured side to your healthy side, then their diagnosis isn’t worth much. Check out this article for ten signs that someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about.