Research (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, April 2013) has indicated that performing static stretches before your workout may inhibit explosive and strength performance. Instead, dynamic or ballistic stretches are recommended before your workout in order to lessen injury risk. Static stretches, in which you hold a stretch for a duration (e.g., 15 to 30s), may actually reduce your performance (i.e., reduce speed and strength) when performed before your workout or athletic event. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, serve to warmup the muscle tissues via quick extensibility stretches without increasing the risk of injury during a workout. In addition, dynamic stretches elevate heart rate, enhance blood flow and stimulate nerve conduction impulse. Examples of dynamic stretches (think plyometric movements) include jump squats and explosive pushups for the lower and upper body, respectively. An example of a recommended warmup for your hamstrings would be a gentle bouncing bend-and- reach while standing or sitting. This should be followed by the performance of one or more light sets of your beginning exercise such as Romanian deadlifts.
BOTTOM LINE: Perform dynamic stretches before your workout to warmup muscle tendons. Perform static stretches after your workout to cool down muscle tissues.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.