We all know that you have to stretch before and after a workout. Warming-up is vital to get your muscles ready for the upcoming exercise that you’re planning on doing. But what if we were to tell you that static stretching might not be as beneficial as we once thought?
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Why Do We Stretch Before Workouts?
It’s important to warm-up the muscles you plan to focus on during your workout to prevent injuries and muscle soreness and improve performance. Adding a stretching routine to every workout is supposed to help you stay safe and indicate to your body that you’re about to use those muscles and that you’ve finished using them in a workout.
But the issue here is static stretching. Most people might not realise there is a difference between static stretching warm-ups and an actual beneficial warm-up. Static stretches like touching your toes and bicep stretches could put us at more risk of injury as you are overextending muscles while they are still “cold”.
When someone says to warm-up, it’s often best to do a light cardio workout or dynamic stretches focused around the workout you’re about to do. Cardio helps to get the blood flowing and gets your body “warmed-up” and ready for a workout, and dynamic stretches help focus and prepare those muscles you’ll be using throughout.
Examples of Static Stretches
You might be wondering what counts as a static stretch, so we’ve put together some examples;
- Overhead tricep stretches
- Bicep stretches
- Cobra yoga pose
- Seated butterfly
- Seated or standing head-to-knee bend
Examples of Dynamic Stretches
So if that’s a static stretch, what’s a dynamic stretch? Let’s take a look:
- Torso twists
- Calf raises
- Arm circles
- Shoulder rolls
Should We Stretch Before A Workout?
So should we be stretching before workouts? We’d say you should definitely be “warming-up”, but try to avoid static stretches. Instead, make yourself a warm-up routine that blends dynamic stretches and light cardio, and this will help you to prevent injuries and let your body know that you’re about to start exercising.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.