Updated: Mar 28, 2020
I am frequently asked "when is it appropriate to stretch, before or after an exercise routine?" The answer is both. But the better question is what type of stretching should I do before and after my routine? This is the question that highlights the fact that there are generally two types of stretches to consider when working out. Dynamic stretches and Static stretches. And the timing of when you do them is important. First let's understand the difference between them.
Dynamic stretches - these are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and safety. Examples include a light jog, marching in place and single arm circles.
Static stretches - these are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for period of time, up to about 45 seconds. Examples include tricep stretches, standing quad hold and toe touches.
At the beginning of a workout your muscles are cold so warming up with dynamic stretching before you exercise is the better to way to prepare your body for the task at hand. Static stretches should be used after your workout as part of your cool-down routine. Using the right stretching technique before and after your workout is equally important and should be part of your exercise routine.