Stretching is often neglected by many of us, because the results aren’t necessarily visible.
But stretching before and after working out, and the type of stretching you do, is actually just as important as your workout.
There are two main types of stretching: Dynamic and Static. They each serve a very different purpose. Depending on when you grew up, you may remember doing static stretches before you worked out. However, in recent years, research has shown us that dynamic stretching is the better option pre-workout, while static stretching is more beneficial post-workout.
Dynamic stretching consists of active movements, which helps get your body ready for the workout. Static stretching, releases tension on your muscles, providing recovery benefits.
Following a dynamic warm-up routine before your workout helps prevent injury by warming up your muscles before you start your workout. It also increases your blood flow and circulation, which alleviates sore muscles afterwards.
Dynamic stretches, such as a lunge with a hip twist, assist in preparing for joint movement and optimal muscle activation.
Static stretching should be done after your work out, when your muscles are warm and pliable. Stretches like reaching your hands to your feet are great to improve flexibility, range of motion and prevent injury. Static stretches usually focus on one muscle group and are held for 20-30 seconds. Incorporating this type of stretching into your end-of workout routine releases tension on your muscles, aiding in recovery.
To get an even deeper stretch and improve mobility, you can use a foam roller. Foam rolling simulates a deep tissue massage, which is helpful because it digs into the Fascia (connective tissue that surrounds all muscles). Without proper stretching, the fascia will bind to the nerves and muscles, causing pain and restriction, and decreasing mobility. Try these foam rolling techniques to speed up the healing process after your workout.
The bottom line? Take an extra 15 minutes before and after exercising to stretch…the benefits are well worth it!
If you need a little help putting together a stretching routine, consider working with a personal trainer. You can learn more about our personal trainers at our website or by stopping by the Personal Training desk.
Jordan is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Personal Training Institute, specializing in strength training and weight loss. He is also certified in Basic Nutrition and is able to assist clients with healthy eating habits. He believes that physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, but that it is also the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.