Stretching before exercise has become controversial in recent years following a few studies showing that stretching within 30mins before your exercise session can actually increase chance of injury and reduce performance.
Obviously, that is not what anyone wants.
I want to talk about how you can use stretching to your advantage so you can get the most out of your workout.
Let’s say you work at a desk and go to the gym 1-4 times a week. You spend most of your time sitting and then you may have a relatively short walk and then demand your body functions in a full range of motion. Of course, this can be a massive shock to the body.
Do 5 Minutes Before Your Workout
Moving Stretch is great for warming the body up because it is strengthens as well as stretches. Because of the fact we do not want to become over-flexible (unstable) before doing explosive movements or lifting weights for example, do just 5 mins of stretching before your workout. And in this 5 minutes the focus is on warming up, improving your posture, but not increasing range of motion, so you do not push beyond your normal range of motion.
I know – you just want to hit the shower and head home or back to work. But doing just 20 minutes of stretching can massively help reduce DOMS, keep you flexible and stop your body contracting into a tight little nut just an hour after your workout. And if you know your body has the tendency to do this I strongly recommend you take the time for a 20 min stretch. If you can manage that, do what you can – even if it is only 5 minutes.
Just bear in mind that before you workout the emphasis is on getting your body into a moveable, free, upright state to avoid injuries that can occur from poor alignment and lack of warming up. NOT on huge ranges of motion.
After working out the focus is on helping the fascia and muscles remember your correct range of motion and posture, instead of tightening reflexively to protect you. It will also help to flush the lactic acid out (even though this is not the cause of DOMS – that is in the fascia, which is also helped by the stretching).
If you haven’t already I recommend also checking out the How to Stretch video before using Moving Stretch. Happy working out!!