There is evidence that suggests that stretching prior to exercise has no benefit and it can be detrimental to performance. There is some truth in these statements.
However, everything has to carefully be put into context with each individual situation. Muscle balance and posture are crucial to optimising performance and reducing the likelihood of injury. So here’s my question. Do you want to train or compete with tight muscles and therefore poor muscular balance? Quite clearly, no!
So here’s the deal. In rehabilitative, corrective or base conditioning phases of your training plan, corrective mobilizations and stretches are used to lengthen the short, tight and facilitated muscles in the body. These are normally the tonic or postural muscles, but every individual is different.
A simple way to check this is to perform stretches for each muscle group (like in Paul Chek’s book, “How to Eat, move & Be Healthy!” pages 96 and 97) and if you feel tightness or discomfort in the targeted area, add it to your mobilizing and stretching program. Ideally, you should seek a full assessment by a qualified professional, such as a C.H.E.K practitioner, physiotherapist or strength & conditioning coach.
This pre-workout mobilization and stretching will allow the muscles to work through a wider range and for their antagonistic muscles to strengthen through a more optimal range without the risk of being inhibited.
Tune in next time to find out how this differs when in different phases of training…