Should You Stretch Before or After a Workout?

One study found that performing static stretches before doing a barbell squat caused people to feel off-balance and lift less weight, while another showed that soccer players who did static stretches before a 30-meter sprint had slower times than players who didn't stretch before the sprints. Finally, a meta-analysis of 104 studies concluded that static stretching had negative effects on strength, power, and explosive performance, and should be avoided altogether.

Another bummer: Some research suggests that stretching won't do much to eliminate muscle soreness. In a review of 12 studies, researchers found that pre- or post-exercise stretching didn't stop bothersome aches and pain. (The likely reason: Micro-tears in the muscle and surrounding connective tissue are to blame for soreness, which stretching won't repair.)

More from Greatist: Why Are Your Muscles Sore After a Workout?

The Bottom Line

Your best bet: Do some dynamic stretches before a workout, which can prepare your muscles and even improve athletic performance. With all the evidence against it, it's probably smart to avoid static stretches before a workout.

Still, Mulcahy believes static stretches can be helpful for people who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. She suggests loosening up hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, and back muscles with static stretches (post-workout) a few times a week. In the end, be sure to talk to a certified trainer to find a plan that best suits your fitness level and goals.

More: 3 Dynamic Stretches to Improve Flexibility and Coordination

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Greatist.com

Greatist is one of the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness media start-ups. Check out more health and fitness news, tips, healthy recipes, expert opinion, and fun times at Greatist.com.
Greatist is one of the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness media start-ups. Check out more health and fitness news, tips, healthy recipes, expert opinion, and fun times at Greatist.com.

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