What Is the Best Way to Stretch or Warm Up When Working Out?

What Is the Best Way to Stretch or Warm Up When Working Out Dallas Gym

You’ve probably heard some conflicting advice about stretching. Some say, “Always stretch before a workout or you’ll hurt yourself!” Others say, “Don’t stretch first! Just warm up and then stretch after you exercise!” There’s also lots of advice about which stretches to do and how long to stretch.

In this article, let’s look at some expert advice on when and how to stretch. Stretching is good, but you want to make sure you’re doing it in the best way for your body and fitness goals.

What Is the Best Way to Stretch or Warm Up When Working Out Dallas Gym

Warming Up vs. Stretching

According to Harvard Health’s “Ask the Doctor,” experts do not recommend static stretching before exercise. Contrary to popular belief, stretching cold muscles doesn’t help them warm up and can even cause injury. Rather, experts recommend “a gradual and active warmup period before exercise.”

Now, this might still be confusing because you’ll also see experts saying it’s important to stretch before exercise. But when people like those at ATI Physical Therapy recommend stretching before a workout, they mean dynamic stretches. Basically, they’re also recommending a warmup before exercise. They’re just using a different term for it.

Static vs. Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretches are the kind that you can do before a workout to warm up your muscles. These include squats, jump lunges, leg swings, arm circles, knee kicks, jumping jacks, and plank walk-outs. They’ll get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles.

In contrast, static stretches are ones that you hold for about 30 to 60 seconds. You stay still or “static” while holding the stretch. These tend to target specific muscles, like calf or shoulder stretches do. Many yoga poses can be used as static stretches.

Before vs. After Workout

Dynamic stretches are great to do before a workout. They get you moving and warm up your muscles before you start the rest of your workout.

Static stretches are great post-workout stretches. They can help you cool down, increase flexibility, and decrease post-workout muscle soreness. Static stretches can also help improve posture. You can also do static stretches on their own, without a separate workout. This can be great for taking a quick break during the workday to stretch out your back, neck, shoulders, etc.

Does This Work for Everyone?

To recap, as a general rule, you’re better off doing dynamic stretches to warm up before exercising and static stretches to cool down after exercise. This can vary, though, depending on your individual body and workout goals.

Here at Extreme Studio Performance, we understand that different genetics, abilities, body compositions, athleticism, and individual goals all play a role when finding the right workouts for you. You’re welcome to come to the gym on your own, join a group class, or work with a personal trainer. Our trainers and staff are always ready to help answer questions you have and give advice on fitness questions, including what stretches would be best for you.

Ready to learn more? Click here to schedule a visit and get a free personal fitness evaluation.