When should you stretch?

To say that Mychael at Elite Functional Fitness is a wizard at making people move more efficiently is a massive piece of understatement, so when he starts talking about when to stretch… we all listen. He recently wrote a post titled “When should you stretch?” and it boils down to a simple answer: whenever you can!

Arm stretch and warm upHe breaks it down into three broad categories:

  • Before – with dynamic stretching
  • During – with dynamic and static stretching
  • After – with static stretching

What is dynamic stretching? Think about dynamic stretching as in stretching through movement, such as with leg swings.

What i static stretching? This is more of the traditional holds such as the couch stretch or runner’s lunge where you hold a position for an extended period.

How do you apply it?

  • When you warm up – move! This helps get your core temperature up and raise your heart rate. So this is a great time for dynamic stretches.
  • When you exercise – do a bit of both! Getting the body moving ahead of a particular exercise gets everything prepped and ready to go, but holding a stretch with an opposing muscle group can improve the quality of the movement as  well.
  • After exercise, static stretching can help aid in recovery. But don’t push too hard – you don’t want it to be painful. These stretches should be comfortable and offer ways to teach the body that those are safe positions to be in.

For more of what he says, be sure to check out his original post at the Elite Functional Fitness site!