Don’t stretch post-workout!
I remember exercise classes that had us stretching beforehand, it didn’t feel good then, and, later that idea was scrapped because stretching a cold muscle can pull that muscle. Now, we’re told we shouldn’t stretch after a workout either. What? Apparently, stretching after a hard workout can make it harder to recover. The thought process is that stretching limits blood flow to the muscles you just worked. Per William A. Sands, Ph.D., a certified strength and conditioning specialist and sport technologist “…by limiting blood flow to and from your muscles, you limit the muscles’ ability to rid themselves of inflammatory byproducts and get their pH levels back to where they need to be to recover…you deprive the muscles of oxygen…” (1).
My body tightens up when I hold a stretch for more than a few seconds, which is the opposite of what I want. Instead of static stretches, where you hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, I opt for dynamic stretches, whereby I move in and out of the stretch. This method seems to improve my flexibility.
If you want another cool down option, what we should do, and what I’ve been doing for years, is a 5-15 minute light cardio session after weight training (1). A lot of people hate cardio, and I’m right there with you, so I set a timer that counts down, which forces me to put in the time.
- Source: Fetters, Aleisha. “The Science Behind Skipping Your Post-Workout Stretch. Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. My Fitness Pal. 14, Sept. 2017. Received: 7, Oct. 2017. Retrieved from: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/science-behind-skipping-post-workout-stretch/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFP_Newsletter_Workouts_20171007_Control_onespotcontrol&os_ehash=55@sfmc:34164020