It goes against conventional wisdom, but studies show if you’re doing this pre-workout ritual that it may be counter-productive and even harmful.
So what is it exactly?
None other than stretching. That’s right, static stretching, such as bending over and touching your toes or tossing your leg over a fence and stretching your hamstrings causes your muscles to tighten and not relax.
Why? Because stretching before exercising causes your body to think it’s going to be overstretched. Your muscles then tighten to try and correct this problem which means you won’t be able to move as freely making it more likely you’ll get injured.
Try this instead
Instead of stretching before your workout routine, warming up the body with a light jog or active stretches that mimic the movement of your intended activity. Try sport-specific warm-ups if you’re getting ready for a game (a few easy throws for football or some light serves for tennis). This allows you to warm up and reach a full range of motion, but in a natural and controlled way.
Don’t write off stretching completely
Stretching is important, especially for those wanting to become more flexible, but there’s a time and place for it. Stretch before bed or after working out. Or join a Yoga class and focus on more active stretches – instead of stretching a particular muscle, you’ll be stretching the ligaments, tendons and joints around it.