Should I always stretch before my workout?
Yes, but it needs to be the right type of stretch. There are two main types: static stretching (stretch and hold) and dynamic stretching (moving stretch). Prior to exercise, it is ideal to perform dynamic, preferably mimicking similar moves you will be doing during your exercise, i.e leg swings for soccer.
While it’s true that you might feel more “stretched” after static stretching, these exercises actually lower the elasticity of the muscles, and can dehydrate the muscle. So instead of running like a plump stallion or filly you end up being more like a stick of beef jerky. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, prepares your muscles to work and increases their core temperature and preps the motor program to your brain, making them the perfect moves to get you galloping down the field.
I heard static stretching is never good
There is a misconception that because it isn’t ideal to static stretch before a workout, that this type of stretching is a “no-go.” Not true, static stretches are an all systems go after your exercise, as these moves help cool your muscles down and does assist with increasing your flexibility. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes at the end of your workout to do some static stretches. Never push to the point of pain, just a moderate/strong feeling of stretch.
Does stretching before a workout prevent injury?
Yes, kind of, sort of, depending. It’s not so black and white. The correlation between stretching and injuries is difficult to link. Dynamic stretching before you work up a sweat, particularly a real “OMG I’m sweating bullets” type of exercise load may help reduce your chance of injury (for example, playing sports like soccer), while in other cases (like during light cycling or jogging) stretching may have no impact, according to a 2004 review in the journal Sports Medicine.
If I stretch will I NOT get sore muscles?
In short NO. It will help ease the pain once you have the sore muscles and may ease recovery but it won’t stop you getting delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When you perform exercises beyond the load of what your muscle fibres can handle you will strain (tear) those fibres. Unfortunately no amount of stretching will stop this. Embrace your inner masochist, it is actually a good pain, it tells you that you are making progress.
I’m already flexible, so I don’t need to stretch!
True you don’t NEED to but you should. Some of us are gifted flexibility from our parents, some of us struggle to pick up our keys when we drop them below our belly button. Either way, flexibility is dynamic…..always changing. How much you regularly stretch dictates which way those dynamics head. If you don’t use it you lose it. Try to maintain a regular routine. Even as little as 3 x 30 seconds holds 3 times per week (less than 5 minutes) can improve flexibility. If you seriously can’t find a spare 5 minutes a week to stretch then open up your app store on your phone and delete all of those “not helping you find a partner” games. Let be honest, the in app purchases annoy the fish out of you anyway.
STRETCHING SEEMS LIKE SUCH A SIMPLE CONCEPT RIGHT?? UMMM WELL NO NOT REALLY. AS PER USUAL THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH JUNKIES OUT THERE HAVE ONCE AGAIN TAKEN A SIMPLE THING AND ANALYSED IT TO THE NTH DEGREE JUST TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW AS MUCH AS YOU THINK YOU DO. SO LET'S ANALYSE THE WORD "STRETCH". WHEN THAT ONE SYLLABLE WORD EXITS YOUR MOUTH YOU ARE ALREADY SETTING YOURSELF UP TO FAIL WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT (OR MAYBE YOU SMARTIES DO). WHAT AM I ON ABOUT? WELL, WHEN WE STETCH OUR MUSCLES TO GET LONGER WE DON'T ACTUALLY LITERALLY LENGTHEN THEM AT ALL. THE MANY THOUSANDS OF MUSCLE FIBRES THAT MAKE UP ONE MUSCLE, LIKE THE HAMSTRINGS, NEVER ACTUALLY LENGTHEN WITH "STRETCHING" EXERCISES. SO AS PROUD AS YOU FEEL WHEN FINALLY ALL THOSE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS YOU HAVE SUNK INTO YOGA HAVE ENABLED YOU TO ACHIEVE A SEMI-MEDIOCRE DOWNWARD DOG, YOU HAVE ACHIEVED IT WITH THE SAME LENGTH OF MUSCLE YOU ACTUALLY STARTED WITH, BUGGER.... DON'T BE TOO UPSET, STILL GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON YOUR BACK. WHAT YOU HAVE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO DO IS CONVINCE YOUR BODY, OR AT LEAST THE RECEPTORS IN YOUR MUSCLE AND TENDONS, TO LET MORE LINE OUT AS IT WERE. HOW? I HEAR YOU ALL ASKING (WELL THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVEN'T GOTTEN DISTRACTED AND CLICKED ON THAT POP UP FLASHING IN YOUR OTHER WINDOW). THESE RECEPTOR THINGIES IN THE TENDONS FOR EXAMPLE, THE GOLGI TENDON ORGANS, FIRE OFF SIGNALS TOWARDS THE BRAIN WHEN THE TENDON IS PULLED TO A POINT THAT IS ON THE BORDER OF ITS COMFORT ZONE (i.e. THAT MEDIOCRE DOWNWARD DOG). WHICH YOU IN TURN PERCEIVE AS A FEELING OF STRETCH/PAIN/TICKLE/ACHE. THESE RECEPTORS FIRE THIS OFF BECAUSE THE MUSCLES YOU ARE "STRETCHING" DON'T REGULARLY GO THIS FAR IN THE MAJORITY OF YOUR DAILY LIFE. THEREFORE THE RECEPTOR FREAKS OUT, THINKING THAT JUST AROUND THE CORNER IS THE LAND OF TORN HOPES, DREAMS AND MUSCLE FIBRES WHEN IN ACTUAL FACT IT HAS ONLY RELEASED, LETS SAY 75% OF THE LINE, OR, 75 % OF THE LENGTH OF YOUR MUSCLE/TENDON. THINK OF THESE RECEPTORS AS YOUR HYPOCHONDRIAC AUNTIE. JUST LIKE YOUR AUNT, THE MORE YOU PUSH THE DEFAULT BOUNDARIES OF THESE RECEPTORS INTO THE "FREAK OUT" ZONE THE MORE THEY REALISE IT STILL HAS ROOM TO PLAY. IN OTHER WORDS THE MORE THIS 75% IS REACHED WITHOUT INJURY THE MORE THEY REALISE IT IS SAFE AND CAN MAYBE LET YOUR TENDON "STRETCH" TO 78% WITHOUT INJURY TOO, THEN SLOWLY TO 80%, THEN 85%, SO ON AN SO FORTH. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU'RE TOUCHING YOUR TOES... DON'T FORGET TO TAKE THINGS SLOWLY THOUGH, RECEPTORS NEED TIME TO ADJUST (WEEKS/MONTHS), OTHERWISE THE LAND OF TORN TENDONS AND MUSCLES IS INDEED JUST AROUND THE CORNER. SO IN SUMMARY, KEEP GOING TO THOSE YOGA LESSONS, EVEN IF YOU ARE ONLY GETTING OUT WHAT YOU ALREADY STARTED WITH, ALL OTHER BENEFITS OF YOGA ASIDE OF COURSE....
Bay Physiotherapy and Pilates is running a pre-winter season strengthening program for all skiers and snowboarders. So if you love the feeling of that lactic acid burn in your legs as you're tearing down the slopes but don't want it to come on after the first run then contact us for more details. Numbers are limited and bookings are essential!