While static stretching, the classic touch-your-toes-and-hold routine, has its benefits, it’s crucial to know when and how to incorporate it into your fitness routine. Mark Verstegen, the founder of EXOS, suggests that static stretches are most effective when performed after a workout to aid in muscle relaxation and as part of a corrective protocol. Performing static stretches before exercising can actually inhibit muscle activation, akin to putting your muscles in a sleeper hold right before you need them to be active.
Instead, consider incorporating movement-based stretches into your warm-up routine. These stretches involve actively moving your muscles in and out of stretched positions rather than holding them statically. By doing so, you’ll raise your heart rate, enhance blood flow, and activate your nervous system. According to Verstegen, these dynamic stretches prepare your body for any type of exercise and can even boost your speed and power by up to 20 percent. It’s an impressive return on investment for just 10 minutes of your time.
In summary, while static stretching has its place, it is best reserved for post-workout or corrective purposes. For an effective warm-up, prioritize movement-based stretches that actively engage your muscles and stimulate your entire system. By incorporating these dynamic stretches into your routine, you’ll prime your body for exercise and unlock its full potential. So, say goodbye to static holds and embrace the energizing benefits of dynamic stretching to optimize your fitness journey.