Do you stretch before you exercise or workout? Is there a benefit from stretching or is it a misconceived activity? Many people stretch because that is just what they have always done. Their coaches would lead them through stretching routines before practice and before games to prevent injury and so they would be at the top of their game, or so they thought.
Static stretching is used to stretch muscle while the body is at rest, to move to a position of discomfort and hold for a period of time. Should you use static stretching in your daily routine? If so, what are the benefits and what are the disadvantages of this activity.
To Prevent Injury
The majority of people use static stretching to try prevent injury, although there is absolutely no scientific evidence which could point in either direction. If you like to stretch before you workout just to stretch and to receive that looseness in your muscles, there is no harm, but there really is not a beneficial result.
To Enhance Performance
Every sporting event I have ever participated in or have ever watched, every one of them had one thing in common: every participant stretched. There was a study conducted by Louisiana State University that tested flexibility and speed, using 19 of their best sprinters. They had the 19 sprinters, sprint three 40 meter dashes. In two different sessions separated by a week. In one session the did a warm up routine with static stretches. The other session they did not have a warm up routine. The result is surprising – the session in which they stretched was slower by one tenth of a second.
To Become More Flexible
This is the only goal that static stretching will actually help you reach – in fact, static stretching is the absolute best stretching to become more flexible. This takes us back to biology class. The only way for a muscle to be stretched is to hold it in a motion of discomfort for a period of time. It can take time and effort to increase flexibility. In fact, it is just like weight lifting – if you want a muscle to become stronger you contract that muscle over periods of time. The same thing should happen if you want a muscle to become more flexible.
When is the best time to do these stretches during the day, and is timing is actually important? The answer is yes, timing is crucial for static stretching to actually have a positive effect. So, when is the best time to stretch?
In The Morning When You Wake Up
You imagine that a great stretch when waking is The reality is that, stretching right after you wake up could actually cause more harm to your muscle than not stretching. The reason is, that it is never a good idea stretching cold muscles. For instance a rubber band can stretch pretty well, but if you put it in the freezer for a while then try to stretch it the same length it is more likely to snap. The same thing could happen to your muscles, and nobody wants to get injured by just stretching. If you like to stretch in the morning because of routine or another reason try warming up your muscles first, like maybe taking a short walk, or something of that nature.
We have already discussed how the majority of people stretch before activities to prevent injury and to improve their performance. Does stretching before a workout help to improve the work that you you accomplish in the gym, or does it hurt you? There is nothing good about stretching cold muscles. Stretching before a workout has no effect on what will happen in the gym. If you still want to stretch before a workout, do a warm up first. This warm up could consist of dynamic stretches, running, or anything that gets your heartbeat up. Then after your warm up a few static stretches would not hurt you.
This particular time is the most imperative time for effective use of static stretching. Your muscles will already be warm and it could even help your muscles to recover. There is no warm up or walk required to stretch because your workout warmed up your muscles. If you want to become more flexible or to reap the benefits of static stretching, after a workout or exercise is the absolute best time.
At Night Before Bed
Stretching before bed is not necessary. Your muscles are probably cold and there is no reason to take a walk or to warm up your muscles just to go to bed. There is nothing good going to come from stretching at night – it could cause you become more awake and it may cause you to lose sleep which is essential for muscle recovery.
Static stretching does not prevent injury and does not enhance your performance, although it is the absolute best stretching to do to become more flexible. The best time to static stretch is post-workout when muscles are warm.