Amanda Pendolino
April 03, 2013

New Studies Say NOT to Stretch Before Working Out

For years, we’ve been told that stretching before working out is the way to go. But new studies show that if you stretch before working out, you might be doing it all wrong.

According to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, if you stretch before you lift weights, you’ll be plagued by weakness and instability.

Meanwhile, results from 104 studies were analyzed in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, concluding that stretching “during warm-up routine should generally be avoided.” In particular, stretching hampers any kind of move that requires a quick burst of “explosive” performance (such as blocking a basketball shot).

We’ve also been told that stretching can help reduce soreness and prevent injury — but another study found that stretching had little impact on soreness, and made no difference in the number of leg injuries sustained.

However, there’s evidence that “dynamic stretching” is beneficial. Dr. Goran Markovic, professor of kinesiology at the University of Zagreb, says that you should warm up the muscles you plan to use by doing jumping jacks or high leg kicks. Essentially, you want to move while you’re stretching instead of doing static stretches.

According to Shaping Concepts, dynamic stretches include torso rotations, multi-planar reaches, multi-planer lunges, walking toe kicks, bodyweight squats and hurdle drills (hip rotation, flexion and extension).

Geez, science, make up your mind already!