When I was taking Exercise Physiology classes in college, many years ago, we were always taught to stretch before, and after workouts to prevent the chance of injury, and also decrease the possibility of soreness.
For many years, this was the standard. Therefore, I have always advocated stretching. Of course, I was always interested in decreasing the change of injury, but my other main goal was to increase clients’ flexibility.
Sounds good so far, right? Stretching is awesome!
Not so fast. What all the experts originally thought about injury prevention, and decreasing soreness may be completely wrong.
As a matter of fact, numerous studies have shown this to be false.
So what I am saying is stretching will not do anything for decreasing your chances of injury, and also preventing muscle soreness.
Will stretching do anything? Yes, only increase flexibility across a joint in the body. To me, however, this is an important component to fitness, and is the main reason I stretch my clients today
In October 2007, researchers came up with more evidence that stretching doesn’t prevent injuries, nor decrease DOMS. The report revealed the analysis of 10 randomized studies and concluded stretching has little or no effect on post exercise soreness.
So what do you do?
I still recommend stretching to maintain your flexibility. However, I promote gradually warming your muscles up with a lower intensity as you build up to high intensity workouts. Do multiple light sets prior to your big work set.
I also recommend warming your muscles up on a treadmill, or bike prior to starting your workout.
Please be aware that the best time to stretch a muscle is when it is warmed up. The best time to do your flexibility exercises is during, or after your strength training workouts.
It is also effective to keep your stretches static, and hold them for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Hopefully, this has set the record straight on flexibility, and you now have a clear understanding of stretching.