Stretching Before or After Exercise?
How long should I be holding a stretch for? Is it better to stretch before or after I work out?"
Pre-workout stretching should only consist of a dynamic stretch routine incorporated into a warm up. Dynamic stretching (stretching while moving through a multiple planes of movement) helps to lubricate the joints, activate, stretch and warm up muscles to prepare for physical activity.
Post workout stretching can include static and dynamic stretches. The dynamic stretching is a great way to cool the body down after physical activity. Static stretching (holding a stretch in one position for a length of time) can be done after the dynamic to work on some of those trouble spots.
Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.
Do you have a flexibility question for me? Select questions will be considered as topics in future blog posts.