Now hear me out first because I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make. Before I jump into the full content of this blog let’s get one thing clear, imidiate post-workout stretching is NOT benefitting your flexibility/mobility. I am not saying that you can’t use stretching as a way of cooling the body down, although for most people there’s still a more efficient way of doing that.
Now, let’s think about what we’re trying to achieve by stretching and what happens to out body during a workout.
Whenever we workout our muscles contract (they get shorter) which is the complete opposite of what you’re doing with stretching. The obvious goal of stretching is to lengthen the muscles to become more flexible. What do you think is going to happen while you’re stretching but your muscles are still contracted? Let me just say that the muscles are not magically getting longer, you’re just lenghtening them back to there original state (if that). You can’t expect to get the full benefits of stretching while your muscles are in that state. While you’re stretching post-workout your muscles basically have to lenghten to their original state and then go the extra distance of getting more flexible. If you’re acustomed to stretching, you will know and understand that it takes time for your muscles to lenghten even when your muscles are not contracted and full of blood/lactic acid.
Like I said before, if you’re just looking for a way of cooling the body down, that’s a completely different story and you can ignore basically everything I have said up to this point.
What is a good time to stretch?
In my opinion a good time to stretch is whenever your body is ready for it. You don’t want to be too cold while starting either because there’s a risk of pulling something or overstretching at that time. I prefer to do most of my stretching at night before I go to bed because it allows me to clear my head while relaxing my body after a day of work and training.
Just like everything else, mine and your body are not going to react the same to stretching. Your body might do better with stretching first thing in the morning whereas I do mine at night, just to give one example here. You have to figure out what you and your body enjoy doing and what works well within your daily schedule.
I always recommend my clients to download a mobility/stretching app to help you out. They’re super easy to use and it takes the guess work out of it all. I personally use the GOWOD app but I can also recommend the ROMWOD app.
Mix up your stretching and mobility routines. Static stretches are great but you definitely want to do some mobility exercises as well. They’re 2 aspects of flexibility that offer you two completely different things and neither one can be overlooked.
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