Stretching Before Exercise
Conventional wisdom tells us that you should always stretch before you exercise right? Well that may not necessarily be the case. Current research suggests that stretching before you exercise may not reduce the risk of injury (see here). The article also goes on to say that stretching may mask muscle pain in humans. This could pose a problem if that muscle pain is a symptom of an underlying problem that can be made worse by exercising. So what does that mean for the average joe? Not much really. You should still warm up before exercising. The key is knowing how to warm up. Everyday I go to the gym and see people come in and start basic stretches, holding different poses for a few seconds, and then starting their workout. This is not going to help, and may hurt them. Not only are they stretching cold muscles (a problem in itself, cold muscles don’t stretch well and may be prone to injury), but they are failing to warm there muscles in any significant way. A proper warm up will be more beneficial than stretching without one.
Here is my basic plan:
20 alternating leg lunges
Give this a try before your next workout. It should take 5-10 minutes. Use this in place of stretching and you will feel better and workout harder.