Stretching and Exercise, Before or After?
Should I stretch before or after my workout? As physiotherapists, we hear this questions all the time. While there isn’t a definitive answer, it tends to rely on a few different variables. To find an answer, let’s consider the different types of stretching.
Static Stretching - a muscle lengthening technique in which you hold a stretch for 30 to 60 seconds for 1 to 4 repetitions.
Dynamic Stretching - lengthening your muscles while moving. In other words, you're not holding a stretch position.
Your performance during your workout or sporting activity can decrease or increase depending on the activity and which stretching method is being practiced.
Stretching is a great way to prepare for or help recover from exercise. Stretching increases muscle length, boosts blood flow and flexibility to help you warm up your body, improve performance, decrease pain and reduce the risk of injury.
Stretching is important, but recent research tells us that whether you do it before or after your workout, depends on the activity involved.
As physiotherapists, we recommend that you don’t perform static stretching before your workout, especially if your workout is lower body focused. Static stretches help to lengthen muscles and increase flexibility and range of motion. These exercises are great for goalies or gymnasts who need to have a great range of motion during their sport. We recommend that you incorporate static stretching after your workout.
Dynamic stretching helps to get your blood flowing and warm up your body, typically these stretches aren’t being held for long periods of time. This form of stretching is a bit more active and works well when paired with some aerobic exercises at the beginning of your workout. Dynamic stretching helps to maximize the power from your muscles and is great for activities with running and jumping as it keeps some tension.
So, Should I Stretch Before or After?
Our Physiotherapy clinic recommends light aerobic exercise and dynamic stretching before your exercise and static stretching with a solid cool down routine for after your workout. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort while stretching or working out, our physiotherapists can help. Our hands-on approach and experience will have you feeling better, faster.
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