Can static stretching before your workout hurt your results?
The latest studies in athletic performance are showing that stretching before your workout is one of the worst things you can do. Don’t believe us?
We didn’t believe at first either but we couldn’t deny the facts. That’s why we’re sharing them with you. As professional trainers in the Las Vegas area, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve results.
Continue reading to answer the question: what is static stretching doing to your muscles? And is it safe?
What is Static Stretching?
If you’ve never heard of the term before, chances are you have done static stretching in your lifetime.
Static stretching means leaning into a stretch until you’ve reached your limit and holding it there for a period. It usually is held for about 30 seconds or longer.
If you’re looking to improve your results during a workout, then there is some stretching that can help. However, static stretching before a workout is no longer considered a benefit in improving athletic results.
More recent studies suggest that static stretching before or during a workout can weaken your muscles. This has been shown to impede athletic performance. Whether you’re a runner, jumper, or weight lifter, stretching prior to your workout will more likely hurt your results.
It’s also unlikely that it will affect preventing injury, as previously believed.
Can Static Stretching Weaken You?
After studying groups of weight lifters, it was determined that the lifters who didn’t stretch at all had the greatest strength increases over a period of 10 weeks. Whereas those who stretched before and during exercising found that it chronically weakened their muscles.
The study measured their strength results as well as their levels of IGF-1, a muscle-building hormone. It was determined that the key factor in static stretching was that when done before or during weight training, it had a weakening effect.
This is because stretching your muscles prior to your workout is like stretching a stiff rubber band. You are pulling apart and weakening the muscle fibers.
Another study suggests that stretching after a workout can cause an increase in long-term strength.
Warm Up Instead of Stretching
Okay, now we know that static stretching is not best before your workout. So what should you do to gear up? The answer lies in dynamic exercises or stretching.
Dynamic exercises improve flexibility and are done for just 10 seconds each. Research has shown that they improve force production and explosive power.
When you begin your workout, it’s important to get your blood flowing throughout your body. So these movements get your body ready for more intense training. They are also known to improve balance and stability.
Some examples of a pre-workout dynamic exercise might be walking lunges, glute bridges, power skipping, high knees, butt kicks, and reaching. You can also warm up your body before a workout by doing jumping jacks, jumping rope, or jogging on the treadmill.
Try to focus on dynamic exercises that target the muscle groups you are planning to workout.
Ditch Pre-Workout Static Stretching
There is a clear winner for stretching prior to your workout. What is static stretching best for? Although it can ruin your performance, static stretching can improve your flexibility. It’s best to use throughout the day after you’ve been sitting for a while.
However, when you want to get pumped prior to your workout, stick with dynamic stretching. You’ll see a big difference in your results.
Looking for more great ways to improve your fitness results? Check out our blog for the best ways to reach your serious performance goals in Las Vegas.