Updated: Sep 13, 2021
What is stretching?
When most of us think of stretching, we think of static stretching. Static Stretching is the process of placing muscles in the body into positions that will lengthen, or elongate, the muscles and associated soft tissues and holding it for a specified period of time.
A warm up is anything that brings the heart and respiration rate up and increases muscle
temperature to the level needed for the activity about to be performed.
But is static stretching the same as warming up? NOT EVEN A LITTLE!
Not only is stretching not an effective warm up before an activity, it is being found that it may cause damage or have a negative impact on your performance when done before activity.
In a Harvard Study, "(They) compared rates of injury or muscle soreness in people who stretch before exercise and those who don't, they have found little benefit to stretching. In fact, stretching a cold, tight muscle could lead to injury."
So why do we we stretch? (After a work out!)
Increase/maintain flexibility for day-to-day and performance applications
Prevent injury during sports and exercise activity
Increase performance in athletic performance
Offset muscle soreness after exercise
Things to keep in mind when stretching:
Concentrate! Concentrate! Concentrate!
NEVER stretch cold muscles
Have a safe environment (Non-slip, warm, no clutter, etc)
Avoid sudden abrupt movements
Hold the stretch (Depending on your training level different times will work for different people)
Vary the types of stretches you do
Spend more time on tight muscles -> Even though you may not want to!
Consider your own goals and abilities -> Be reasonable and realistic!
**Most importantly - If a stretch hurts, DON'T DO IT! It may be a good idea to start with something easier or to check in with a chiropractor or doctor to see if there is something causing external restrictions!
Want to learn more about the different types of stretching and which one might be most beneficial for you?
Let's talk Static, Ballistic, Dynamic, PNF & Survival stretches by