Stretches improves flexibility, which is an essential component of movement and exercises. But should we stretch before or after a workout? The short answer is to do stretch before AND after activities. Meanwhile, we shall think a little more about WHAT stretches to do and WHY.
Our bodies require flexibility for movement to occur efficiently. Imagine wearing super tight jeans when you have to chase after a bus. The jeans are limiting your range of motion and hence no matter how hard you try to take big strides you won’t go too far too fast. Having flexibility means that your muscles can work more efficiently during sports or exercises.
Amongst the many different ways to stretch, static and dynamic ones are the most commonly used. Take our hamstring muscles as an example. To perform a dynamic stretch, we swing the leg back and forth across the entire available range of motion.
Dynamic stretch has been shown to improve muscle power, sprints and jumps when performed prior to exercises. It is therefore a good idea to include dynamic stretches in your warm up to prime for sports performance.
On the other hand, a static stretch is to hold the muscle in a lengthened position for 30seconds.
Static stretch is great as part of the cool down post sports or workout in order to maintain or increase flexibility.
For more ideas of stretching, have a look at this sports physio video (https://youtu.be/HNeTehBImAs) on Capital physiotherapy YouTube channel. Or if you have any questions, feel free to ask our team at Capital physiotherapy, South Yarra.