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Should You Stretch Before Or After Your Workout?

Should You Stretch Before Or After Your Workout?

We all know stretching is a good practice for preventing injuries, improving flexibility, and repairing muscles. But, many athletes disagree on when to stretch - should you stretch out your muscles and ligaments before or after you head out on the trail? The answer? It depends on what kind of stretching you plan to do.

Woman talking to a friend and putting on her socks while sitting on a rock.

Yes, You Can Stretch Before Working Out

But, static stretches (holding still in a stretch for a long period of time) aren’t going to be beneficial before you head out on your run. Instead, start your workout off with a dynamic stretch warm up to get your blood pumping and prepare your body for movement. Lunges, leg swings, gentle twists, leg kicks, or a dynamic yoga flow can warm up the body and prevent injury during your training session. Once you’ve accomplished about 10 minutes of dynamic movement, you’re ready to hit the trail, treadmill, or track.

Save the Static Stretching For After

Static stretching is only proven to prevent injuries when performed on warm muscles, so waiting to stretch until after your workout is the best bet for improving flexibility and keeping your body functioning injury-free. Cool down, then reap the benefits of some deep stretches.

Close up shot of man stepping up onto a rock.

Dynamic stretching can be beneficial when performed as a warmup, but you’ll get the most out of your stretch time with slow, static stretches after you finish your training session.