Well, that should shave some time off your gym the day: Stretching before working out can make your muscles feel weak and unsteady, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
With Your Workout
The researchers asked 17 men to complete the squat exercise for two sessions of the gym. The first session, all participants performed an active dynamic warm-up, they assumed that participants imitate the movement of upcoming exercises, but at a slower pace. In the second session, they completed the passive static stretching exercises, which consisted of three sets of 10-second intervals for participants calves, thighs and quadriceps. After the participants performed, the researchers asked them, “How stable and balanced you feel in the elevator?” The study found that 23 percent of participants felt less stable and balanced after they have completed the passive static stretching than they did after the active dynamic warm-up.
Why? Sprain is to weaken, leaving your muscles, less hard, says study author Jeffrey Gergley, an associate professor of kinesiology at Stephen F. Austin State University. If this happens, the muscles have less power to lift weights.
You can do a dynamic warm-up before any type of exercise, not just strength training. “In any type of motion exercises, is a model of the engine, connected with it,” says Sabrena Merrill, education consultant and exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise. Both Gergley and Merrill agreed that active dynamic warm-up to prepare your body to work better, because you get your body used to the movements of a more intense workout. Merrill says this workout literally warms your body more than a stretch, and that in turn allows the muscles to adapt to exercise more quickly and efficiently.
So it is stretching ever a good thing? When you stretch before your body heat can tear muscle fibers, says Gergley, workout after workout will not do any damage. Loosening after a workout, you can relax your muscles and help bring back to their resting state, says Merrill.