Before doing any type of stretching whatsoever, you’ll want to ensure that you know what you’re doing as to avoid hindering your workout and of course, also avoiding the possibility of any type of long-term injury. There’s a right way and a wrong way to stretch, so you just want to make sure that you’re stretching the right way.
Stretching the correct way not only reduces the chance of injury, but it also increases flexibility and gets the blood flowing. Once the blood is flowing and the heart is really pumped up, then the more warmed up the muscle becomes.
What type of stretch should you avoid before a workout?
New studies show that doing any kind of traditional static stretching before a workout actually slows you down significantly and makes you weaker. Experts say that doing traditional static stretches before a workout confuses your muscles, because stretching a cold muscle is similar to stretching a rubber band all the way.
What’s worse is that people have been doing this for years, because they’ve been taught that static stretching helps to prevent pulled muscles, but now with these new studies the exact opposite is true. Static stretching before a workout actually puts you at more of a risk for pulled muscles.
When should you do a static stretch?
Static stretches are safest after a workout or if you want to do a stretch at the end of the day, then that’s okay too. Stretching is still a great way to increase flexibility, but you just don’t want to do it before a workout.
Static stretching before a workout puts your central nervous system to sleep, which is what slows you down and makes you feel weaker, instead of stronger. You also always want to make sure that you’re positioning your body properly when stretching to avoid pulled muscles, as well.
What should I do to warm-up before a workout?
Your best best to get yourself warmed up before a workout is to do some brisk walking, light aerobics or even some light jogging. You’ll want to give yourself about 10 – 15 minutes to get warmed up. There is also a technique called “active isolated stretching” that experts recommend to athletes to protect themselves from injury.
Active Isolated Stretching, also known as ASI is commonly used amongst physical therapists, massage therapists and coaches to both prevent and treat injury. This stretching technique focuses athletes on gentle and fluid repetitions of about two-to-three second holds with more repetitions than with traditional stretching. This type of stretch provides maximum benefits, while also avoiding injury.
Another common method of warming up, particularly among body builders is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches keep your body moving and active. Instead of sitting still and stretching your arms and legs, you’re moving constantly. As with cardio warm-ups, this helps to raise your body temperature, gets the blood flowing and the heart pumping.
Types of Dynamic Stretching
- Walking Lunges
- Hip Circles
- Heel Walks
- Air Squats
- Arm Circles
- Hip Thrusts
- Leg Swings
- Band Walks
- Butt Kicks
- Kettlebell Swings
Now that you know your options when it comes to properly stretching before a workout, you can begin to implement one of these techniques into your workout routine. If you’re used to doing static stretches before a workout, then this might take some getting used to.
Just know that if you continue to do static stretches before working out instead of after a workout, then you’re more than likely going to end up with a pulled muscle or muscle tear one day. So, the next time you workout, start implementing these changes in your routine today and protect yourself from a future injury tomorrow.