Do You Really Need to Stretch? Here’s What the Science Says
Stretching is that one part of your workout that you’re most likely to skip. Why?
Well, stretching isn’t exactly the most glamorous part of fitness. Most people have this idea that you aren’t doing anything to further your goals while you stretch. In fact, it’s received the reputation as useless by many in the fitness community, with an emphasis on those in the sports sector. One fairly recent study set into motion this idea that you should skip stretching but is that one study the whole story?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of stretching to determine whether you should be stretching or not.
Why Not to Stretch
Admittedly, there are pros as well as cons to stretching before, during, and after a workout. Let’s take a look at the cons first.
The most cited source of stretching as a con comes from a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It determined that men who stretched before a workout showed a decrease in their one-repetition maximum. Some men also experienced worse balance. Another study, published in the same journal, showed that subjects who stretched lost power and overall performance.
Sounds pretty awful, right? If you’re going to run the risk of losing power and strength, then why bother? The reason is because, unless you are a pro athlete getting paid millions, then the pros of stretching are going to outweigh the cons.
The Reasons You Must Stretch
Despite the two studies mentioned above, there are countless studies on how stretching can be beneficial for your workout progress and overall health.
First and foremost, stretching has been shown in several studies to promote a healthy range of motion and flexibility. Being flexible and able to take your body through full ranges of motion is important for proper development and injury prevention. Speaking of injuries, stretching can ensure that you avoid injuries such as strains or tears caused from stiff or tight muscles. The last thing you want to happen is to attempt to deadlift or squat with a tight set of muscles. The injury you could sustain from this would be enough to ensure your absence from the gym for months. Finally, stretching is important for overall health. You’ll be pain free and happier as a result.
- You can check out these studies here.
Never Stretched Before? Try This
For some, stretching is something they know how to do but don’t use. If you’ve never stretched before, let us help you out. Below, you’ll find a video with a terrific starting stretch routine for beginners. Give it a try each morning, before, or after your workout for 10 days. Let us know how you feel afterward.
- Here is the stretching video.
Tell Us What You Think!
What are your thoughts on stretching?
Do you think it’s necessary?
Or do you skip it each time?
Let us know your thoughts below!