Warming up before and cooling down after your workout is just as important as the workout it self. It increases your performance during your workout and aids in your recovery after.
We have always been taught by gym teachers, sports coaches and personal trainers trainers that we need to stretch, but what is the correct type of stretching?
Is one more beneficial to the body? When should we stretch? Before or after a workout?
Let’s breakdown the two main forms of stretching and find out which is the best for you.
Static stretching: what is it?
This is what most people think about when asked “what is a stretch."
It is a stretch that is gradually elongating a muscle and holding it for up to 30 seconds. An example would be a calf stretch on a wall or reaching for your toes in a hamstring stretch.
This form of stretching should be done AFTER a workout, as it will help relax the muscles that you used. This will aid in the prevention of possible injuries such as pulls & strains by reducing blood flow and decreasing central nervous system activity.
Dynamic stretching: what is it?
A movement-based stretch like bodyweight lunges, arm and leg swings and trunk rotations.
Many people think that only athletes before playing a big game would do a warmup like this, but it is important to get the body warmed up and ready to move whether you are new to the gym, a seasoned gym veteran who is lifting weights, or as simple as going for a run.
This form of stretching should be done BEFORE a workout as it will help you prep the joints and muscles for the upcoming workout. By doing a quick warmup before a workout, you are increasing blood flow, activating the central nervous system and enhancing range of motion. This should take between 5-10 minutes.
In the debate between which is the most beneficial ;Static Stretching or Dynamic Stretching, it all comes down to the time of stretching. A dynamic warmup before your workout and a static stretch after!