February 16th, 2010
It has been a constant debate amongst strength and conditioning professionals which is better? Stretching before or after training. To start, let’s go over the purposes of stretching. First and foremost stretching is important for decreasing the potential for injury in both the competitive populations as well as general populations. Stretching also helps to improve human performance through the development of joint range of motion and mobility.
Getting back to the question at hand, when during a training session does stretching yield the greatest results, before or after? In order to stretch the muscle and create favorable change within the muscle tissue itself, stretching must be done pre-workout, prior to its heating up. If the muscle is heated up during the course of the workout, whether it be resistance training or cardiovascular training, it becomes pliable and easier to stretch similar to a rubber band that has been thrown into the oven. When a warm muscle stretched, it does not create any significant change with in the muscle tissue itself.
To put it simply, the best time to stretch is before training begins, when the muscle is cool. At this point you will change the actual tissue composition within the muscle, yielding a greater increase of range of motion.
Here are a few examples of stretches done Pre-Dynamic Warm Up. Sample stretches include: