Stretching Exercises Before and After a Workout
Are you giving stretching before and after a workout its due importance? Here, we'll tell you all about the stretching routines you should do to complement your workout routine.
Stretching is a fundamental part of a workout routine, it helps keep the ligaments, muscles, and joints healthy. However, it’s not always clear if we should perform stretching exercises before and after a workout, or just one or the other.
A stretching routine includes exercises where you hold a position in order to increase your degree of mobility and flexibility. And so, different stretching exercises could positively or negatively affect your sports performance.
This depends on if you do them before or after a workout. Therefore, it’s important to know when to stretch.
Why should I stretch?
Some athletes ignore the importance of performing certain stretching exercises. However, stretching has many benefits for the body. Thus, here are some of those benefits:
- Preventing muscle cramps and injuries.
- Oxygenating the muscles.
- Improving sports performance.
- Strengthening tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles.
- Improving your mobility.
- Decreasing the amount of lactic acid in the muscle fibers.
- Improving overall flexibility.
Now, performing some stretching exercises before and after a workout is helpful to take care of your body. Additionally, this will improve your performance in your physical activities.
However, keep in mind that not all sports disciplines need the same level of flexibility. For example, gymnasts need a much higher degree of flexibility than a runner does.
Stretching exercises before and after physical training could help to optimize your routine. After stretching, your body maintains a better posture and it increases its ability to control the muscles.
Dynamic and static stretching exercises
Stretching before or after a workout has different functionalities to keep in mind. Therefore, we shouldn’t do the same stretching exercises during these two moments of the routine.
So, the difference between these is that before a workout we should do dynamic stretching exercises while static ones are for the period following the workout.
The term dynamic stretching refers to the exercises that stimulate the nervous system and prepare the muscles for physical activity. Therefore, these stretching exercises should be completed before a workout. Usually, they are energetic and employ some joint rotation movements.
This type of stretching increases the blood flow and lubricates the joints. Additionally, it must go hand in hand with warm-up exercises in order to get the body ready for the workout.
Some of the best dynamic stretching exercises are the following:
- Leg raises.
- The circular motion of the ankles, wrists, and head.
- Jumping jacks.
- Lateral lunges.
- Hip rotations
You should do static stretching at the end of a workout routine. These are a series of prolonged stretches, for about 20 or 30 seconds. And so, these stretches help to reduce tension in the muscles from the previous workout.
Additionally, poses held for a prolonged time are more related to overall flexibility than dynamic stretches. The objective of these stretching exercises is to elongate the limbs and make them more flexible. In addition to that, they also help the muscles to oxygenate and relax.
Here are some static stretching exercises to practice:
- Forward fold: bend over and touch the tips of your toes.
- Yoga poses.
- Pilates exercises.
- Knees to chest.
Doing all exercises correctly
It’s quite important to know how to perform stretching exercises correctly in order to avoid injuries. Although stretching before exercising is beneficial, make sure you do it with a good warm-up routine to avoid hurting your muscles.
When stretching you can feel a small pull on your muscles, but they should never hurt. Thus, don’t force your body to go beyond its limit, it could be dangerous. The muscles should stay relaxed in order to allow the blood to flow through them.
Similarly, it isn’t convenient to do static stretching before a workout since the muscles are not warmed up and it can cause the muscles to tear.
Additionally, you must make sure to do every part of the exercise correctly in order to avoid traumatisms. Likewise, you need to have comfortable clothing, to hydrate, eat well and manage your breathing.
In summary, doing stretching exercises before and after working out will allow you to develop your performance. Additionally, it will help your body to stay healthier and therefore get optimal results from the exercise. Give it a try and see the changes!