I’ve written about stretching numerous times, and the evidence has been steadily mounting against stretching as a warm-up modality prior to exercise, and these two real scientific studies add to that pile. The article is very well written and explains the studies clearly and why these studies are so compelling. The NY TIMES wellness blog continues its tradition of alternating excellent reporting with pointless and confusing filler; this piece being quite valuable. Read it.
This does not invalidate stretching as a legitimate form of exercise, however, and I’ll elaborate.
Almost all these studies; current and past; use real athletes as subjects. They are already well trained, fit, and lead an active lifestyle that helps keep their musculoskeletal system supple and more flexible than the average sedentary adult.
Inflexible muscles, muscular adhesions (muscles and connective tissue sticking together) and poor joint range of motion, can cumulatively impede your ability to move effectively and safely while exercising. Regular stretching can help alleviate and minimize these problems in many; if not most; cases.
So if you need to stretch, how do you incorporate it into your routine?
1. Stretch after your workout, never before.
2. If your muscles are super tight make stretching a separate workout altogether; do it on a day you aren’t doing any weight or cardio training.
3. Incorporate activities like vinyasa yoga or tai chi that focus on movement activities that force you to move through full ranges of motion.
4. Get deep tissue massage. It can really loosen you up. Again, only after a workout.
Read the post, linked below.