Hey guys, I’d like to go over stretching. In recent years I’ve heard a lot of people bashing static stretching. They say it is terrible and will not only decrease performance but also increase injury potential. Well, that’s true IF you do it at the wrong time!

  1. What is the purpose of static stretching?

  2. When is the best time to static stretch?

  3. How will it benefit my workouts and performance?

Let’s answer these one by one. The purpose of static stretching is to increase your absolute range of motion. Can you touch your toes? No? Do a series of holds to stretch out your hamstrings and the ligaments/tendons in that chain and TADA you can touch your toes! The purpose of static stretching is that simple. It is not supposed to anything except for increase your flexibility.

The best time to static stretch is directly after a workout. This is when your muscles have obtained their maximum potential range of motion. At this time they are very warm and malleable, therefore ready to be pushed a little bit past their current range of motion with minimal injury to your muscles and increase blood flow to those areas to expedite the recovery process.

One benefit is mentioned above, static stretching after the workout increases blood flow to joints which are notorious for having a lot less blood flow and therefore slower recovery times. Another benefit is your increased range of motion. This seems fairly obvious but there are a few things that increased range of motion can help with, such as injury prevention. But wait, I thought we said above that static stretching will increase your chances of injury? When done before a workout, static stretching will in fact increase your risk of muscle tears, it’s like taking a rubber band out of the freeze and stretching it. And the last benefit I’ll mention, you look cool as hell when you can touch your toes and no one else can.

So quick synopsis for anyone who didn’t read all of that:

  1. Static stretch after workout (30s per position)

  2. Reduces time needed to recover

  3. Increases range of motion

  4. Reduces overall risk of injury

Here are some sites for you to do your own research if you so choose:

  • https://www.scienceforsport.com/stretching-for-recovery/

  • http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/injury-prevention/dynamic-stretching-vs-static-stretching_54248

  • https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/77/10/1090/2633110/The-Effect-of-Time-and-Frequency-of-Static