Podcast 18

Should I Stretch Before or After a Strength Training Session?

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SHOW NOTES

Before you jump into your next exercise session, learn why what you’ve been told about stretching is completely wrong and how it can actually increase the odds of you getting injured. Brian and Amy explore some common myths regarding stretching before and after exercise and discuss whether or not stretching is a necessary component of strength training.

  • Do you need to stretch before you work out? There are a lot of prevailing myths around stretching and exercise and people are usually coming at this from one of two angles, either to prevent injury or to increase performance.
  • In terms of preventing injuries, stretching has been shown in a number of studies to have no impact on the likelihood of injury. Even with uncontrolled environments like a sport, stretching doesn’t seem to have an effect on the odds of getting injured.
  • There is a difference between stretching and a dynamic warm up, which is something that can be beneficial before physical activity.
  • In strength training, the key to preventing injuries is to control the forces that the body is exposed to. Clients in the Exercise Coach undergo no intentional stretching before exercising.
  • Static stretching before an activity does not reduce the odds of an injury, but it does have a negative impact on performance. Over a hundred studies showed that static stretching reduced the strength of the muscle by at least 5%.
  • Stretching is like loading a muscle so it makes sense that it would reduce the muscular capacity.
  • When it comes to stretching after a workout, there are a couple of things that people believe. The first is to reduce muscle soreness.
  • The trouble is soreness is not a good indicator of whether or not you performed an effective workout and not everybody gets sore after strength training.
  • Several studies showed that stretching, before or after exercise, has no impact on delayed muscle soreness. To actually prevent muscle soreness one of the best things you can do is get your body into motion sooner. It can take delayed muscle a couple days to set in, so getting in your next workout can prevent that.
  • A common myth regarding strength training is that it will make your muscles tight or inflexible. It’s not the case that muscles lose flexibility as they get bigger, so the idea of stretching to prevent tightness is based on a false assumption.
  • Resistance training has been shown to actually improve flexibility, not reduce it. It’s very common, especially people who have experienced the effects of aging, that when they start to engage in a safe and effective strength training program that they will start to move better too.
  • The best way to gain flexibility is through the safe and controlled exercises available at the Exercise Coach. When we perform strength training, especially eccentric training, our bodies produce new proteins that contribute to making our muscles more flexible, which doesn’t happen with static stretching.
  • The main takeaways regarding stretching is that you don’t need to do it to prevent injuries before exercise and it’s not necessary to prevent soreness or stiffness. It’s okay to stretch to relax, but it’s not a necessary component of a strength training program.

 

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