Three Reasons Why I don’t stretch Before Workouts
I am grateful for this guest blog by Striation 6 Silver Level Personal Trainer, Nick Bissett. You may have heard me advise clients to NOT stretch - both at all, and especially not before workouts. There are good reasons for this, backed by science. Here, Nick outlines three for you. Please read them mindfully and feel free to send any questions you have my way.
Here at Striation 6 we value ourselves on education and genuinely serving our clients with sound exercise advice. So, today I’m going to break down 3 simple reasons why you should avoid stretching before workouts. I know this is controversial; please know that there is science behind what I am saying here, and that my intention is to help keep you on track toward success in your exercise process. Here we go . . .
1) Studies have found that stretching can decrease muscle function. So, if the goal of the workout is to activate and contract muscles that would be counterintuitive to the goal of the exercise. Please see my contact information at the end of this post if you would like references for some of these studies.
2) Stretching too aggressively before a workout could be increasing a risk of injury during weight training and similar activities. This is because you may have increased passive range of a muscle/joint, but do not have the active muscle stability to support that range.
3) If a muscle feels tight it’s probably tight for a reason. Our body and nervous system know best and has probably added tension to increase stability in that area to prevent injury.You best off engaging in active preparation for exercise, allowing your muscles to "warm up" by stimulating in available ranges. This is far more effective in both keeping you safe and in helping to achieve the "flexibility" required for your workouts.
My first suggestion for exercise preparation and progression isometric exercise. They are hugely effective, can be done anywhere, and arey simple to do. Isometric exercise or isometrics are a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction - in other words, no movement! (Think: plank, Yoga, wall-sit as popular examples).
At Striation 6, we offer a variety of isometric-based exercise formats, from our group class The Isometric Training System™ to the ISOPHIT. If you are interested in learning how Isometrics are a safe alternative to stretching pre-exercise feel free to send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a demo. I would love it if you checked out my bio page here.