Do you stretch before or after your workout? Do you stretch at all? Most people don’t realize the importance of stretching and its ability to alleviate pain, tension, and imbalances throughout the body just to list off a few benefits.
As a bodyworker with a partner who specializes in flexibility, we see the need for regular stretching in our clients everyday. Assisted stretching has become our most utilized and effective treatment for addressing a variety of bodily issues. The unfortunate matter here is that most people either don’t realize the importance of it, are just too lazy to do it, or really don’t believe it’s worth their time and effort. It doesn’t help having so much controversy out there over how to stretch and when the best time to stretch is. It gets to be downright confusing to the point that you just don’t care to bother, am I right? What if I told you that it’s pretty simple?
Both dynamic and static stretching hold a place of their own when it comes to prepping the body for a workout or cooling down for recovery. Latest research now reflects the benefits for including a dynamic stretch “pre-workout” and holding the static stretch “post-workout” upon completion of your session. How are they different and why does it matter?
Dynamic Warm-Up Pre-Workout: Performing a proper dynamic warm-up before starting any exercise or training routine engages the entire body system if done correctly. I like to do a variety of movements in all four directions across a movement studio floor at the gym before beginning my session. You want to ensure you use a variety of movements in several planes of motion to especially target the areas you intend to use for your training session. Performing a dynamic warm-up prior to any exercise routine is optimal for increasing circulation and body temperature, warming up the muscle tissue and lubricating the joints in preparation to achieve a safe full body training session for more effective results.
Static Stretching Post-Workout: Avoid possible injury and reap the rewards of a held static stretch by incorporating it post workout. At this point your body is in a state of optimal readiness to receive the benefits of a held static stretch because it is already warmed-up, muscles are supple and loose allowing them to be held safely in a static stretch lessening your chances for micro-tears and may be held for any specific length of time safely. Because of this your muscles will respond to the stretch with greater results aiding in recovery time post workout. At the photo reflects, I like to get creative with my stretches as I demonstrate here how to use a small exercise ball to stretch and massage the pectoral chest muscles.
If you live with chronic pain and/or discomfort in any way and have been cleared by your physician ruling out any other possible health concerns, consider contacting a trusted professional fitness, flexibility expert who can take you through your body. You will walk away with a newfound body awareness and education about the areas that need attention. Stretching and warm-ups can be done anywhere, anytime without the need for equipment. Besides, it usually comes down to basic postural imbalances that we are unaware of but can certainly be treated with results. You just need to know where to start!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013