SHOULD YOU STRETCH BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT?
Do you want to maximize your workout or game performance? Try a warm-up instead of a stretch.
While many of us hold the idea of pre-workout stretching as a sacred truth, recent studies say stretching before your workout can not only inhibit your performance, but the practice may also be harmful. “Warming up does more to prepare your body for physical activity than stretching can. You want to increase your body’s’ temperature, loosen your muscles and lubricate your joints before the workout,” says Michael Hughes (pictured), a group exercise instructor at the 92Y May Center for Health, Fitness & Sport. “You don’t want to force your cold body into a deep stretch. That’s a good way to invite injury,” adds Hughes.
Rose Tirado, a personal trainer at the 92Y May Center for Health, Fitness & Sport, also endorses warming-up over pre-workout stretching. Tirado says a warm-up can be performed with cardio exercise equipment such as a treadmill or elliptical trainer. “If my clients don’t have access to aerobic equipment, I tell them to perform dynamic stretching – movements that closely resemble the main activity to be performed,” says Tirado.