The Right Way to Stretch


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Recently, the Journal of Applied Physiology published a study finding that static stretches, where you hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, have been proven to temporarily reduce muscular power, making it inefficient before a workout. But does that mean you should forgo stretching all together?

The American College of Sports Medicine said stretching is most effective when the muscles are warm, so begin your workout with a light aerobic activity.

Elizabeth Outlaw, BS, CPT, an exercise physiologist at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida, told Ivanhoe, “You always want to get your muscles warm. So three to five minute, walk or jog; something that’s not strenuous but that’s enough to warm your body and get the blood flowing.”

Next, perform dynamic stretches, or slow, controlled movements. These are a great way to improve range of motion and avoid injuries before your workout.

“So either high knees while you’re walking, you can do high kicks, those all get the hamstrings, the calves. You can even do butt kicks where you’re kicking your legs behind you and getting that quad stretch,” said Outlaw.

After your workout, then static stretches.

Outlaw explained, “Those are stretching staying still, so it’s that deep stretch. You want to hold each stretch for 10 to 40 seconds, kind of however is the most comfortable.”

This will lengthen your muscles back out and is important after your workout.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the muscles that are most often tight are the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, and chest muscles. Toe-touches, lunges, and pulling your arms behind your back can all be done to help stretch these areas.

If you play a sport or are training for one, research shows the importance of learning warm-up routines particular to that sport.

Contributors to this news report include: Natalie Turturro and Brogan Morris, Producers; Tony D’Astoli, Editor and Videographer.