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Should I Stretch Before a Workout

Better or Worse

Depending on your sport, stretching before a workout can actually do more harm than good.

Some sports medicine physicians state that static stretching is counterproductive. Research has consistently shown that stretching before exercise results in loss of muscle strength by as much as 5 percent and even more for those holding stretches for longer than 45 seconds.

The purpose of stretching is to lengthen the muscles and increase flexibility. Our muscles naturally expand and contract but once it has been stretched, it reduces the muscle’s elasticity and will not perform as well as it should.  Stretching may seem like a mild activity, but sustained stretches essentially fatigue our muscles, thereby reducing muscle strength and power.

Depending on your activity or sport, static stretching before a workout or competition is not necessary.

Many experts argue that some sports require a certain amount of tightness for speed and power. Overall, stretching may increase your flexibility, but this can fatigue the stretched muscle for a period of time.  However, there are some activities and sports where excessive flexibility is required but for most athletes, this amount of flexibility is unnecessary and can even cause injury. Dynamic stretching is a better option which I will discuss in an upcoming blog.

By Kim Eastlund, CPT, CNS

1 Join the Conversation

  1. Dawn says
    Jan 05, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    This is good information Kim! Thank you. For a future blog--Do you know what is recommended for working "athletes"? People who have physical types of work employment. What is the best kind of stretching to prevent injury, stay safe? What is recommended for patients who are recovering from an injury? By the way-- I really like your page! Thanks!

  2. Spine says
    Feb 03, 2016 at 9:31 AM

    Thank you for the this article about Stretch Before a Workout it helps me a lot to know more.

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