Should I Stretch Before or After a Workout?
Stretching properly is just as important as the workout!
Almost everyone has heard the importance of stretching, but very few know when to stretch or what stretches to do for your workout. Stretching and how to stretch can get very confusing because there are actually 7 different types of stretches you can do. Each category of stretching can be extremely beneficial for any and every workout style.
Stretching out pre or post-workout is pivotal on your fitness journey to help ensure your muscles can properly recover and utilize the full range of motion to help with recruiting the full potential of the muscle. Decreased stress, reduced pain and stiffness, enhanced range of motion, reduced risk of injury, improved blood flow and circulation, and enhanced performance are a few of the great benefits of stretching! Increasing your flexibility and range of motion will push your workout to the next level and have you feeling great during your recovery process.
The biggest misconception about stretching is that you need to do static stretches for 10-15 minutes before your workout. While static stretching can be essential, pre-workout will hinder your workout and make you more susceptible to injury. Stretching shouldn’t be considered a warmup, as stretching a cold muscle can result in an injury. Rather than static stretching before your workout, it is recommended that you first increase the blood flow through cardiovascular training and then follow it with Dynamic stretching to improve your performance and optimize your workout.
Below is a list of the seven styles of stretching. While these guidelines have recommendations for the best results, please consult one of our Club Fitness Personal Trainers to find out what style of stretching is best for you and your workout!
- Static stretching – Extending the targeting muscle to its maximal point and holding it for 30 or more seconds.
- Passive stretching – Similar to static, except your partner or piece of equipment provides the additional force to stretch the muscle.
- Dynamic stretching – Continuous movement patterns that mimic exercise or the sport to be performed.
- Ballistic stretching – Typically used for high-level athletes, this style utilizes repeated bouncing movements to stretch a targeted muscle group.
- AIS (active isolated stretching) – Stretching of an isolated muscle group using multiple sets with varying angles and equipment(bands) each time exceeding the previous point and holding for 2-3 seconds.
- Myofascial release – Small continuous movements back and forth typically done by rolling the muscle on a foam roller. No faster than 1 inch per second, this will ensure you have relieved tension, improved flexibility, and increased blood flow to the chosen area.
- PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) – PNF combines isometric, static, and passive stretching to create a high level of flexibility. Performed by passively stretching a muscle, isometrically contracting the muscle against resistance in the stretched position, and passively stretching it through the increased stretched position. This style of PNF training should only be done with a fitness professional**