Exercises for Better Health : How to Stretch Out the Thoracic Spine
Is It Better to Stretch Before or After a Workout
Is It Better to Stretch Before or After a Workout?
Stretching before a workout is crucial for preventing injury as well as improving performance. Especially if you exercise right after waking up or if you're pretty sedentary during the day, your muscles are going to be tight, says , certified trainer and founder of . One study showed that stretching 15 minutes before a workout can help you avoid injury.Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 2008, Mar.;37(12):0112-1642.
So what kind of moves are we talking about? “It’s best to do a before exercise,” Tamir says. As opposed to static stretches, which are held for 30 seconds or more in the same position (think toe touches), involves active movements that mimic your actual workout. For example, often perform dynamic stretches like hip circles, walking lunges, and butt kicks to activate the muscle groups used in running. During dynamic stretching, you're constantly moving, so it provides a cardio warm-up as well, explains , a sports medicine physical therapist.
Not only will you reduce your risk of injury, but research also shows that dynamic stretching can help improve athletic performance. One study found that college wrestlers who completed a dynamic warm-up for four weeks saw improvements in strength, endurance, agility, and anaerboic capacity.Four-week dynamic stretching warm-up intervention elicits longer-term performance benefits. Herman SL, Smith DT. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 2008, Sep.;22(4):1533-4287.Other research suggests that dynamic stretching enhances muscle performance and power output compared to static stretching.Acute effects of dynamic stretching, static stretching, and light aerobic activity on muscular performance in women. Curry BS, Chengkalath D, Crouch GJ. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 2009, Dec.;23(6):1533-4287.
The Problem With Holding Tight
Because the thought of doing a mini-workout before your actual workout sounds exhausting, many of us instead resort to a few half-hearted toe tugs after exercise. Static stretches like these focus more on relaxing the muscle and promoting flexibility than dynamic stretching, Tamir says, and can be good to add to the end of your gym session.
Video: Physio Neck Exercises Stretch & Relieve Routine
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