Should I stretch before or after a workout?

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Behm et al. reviewed the literature on how the type of stretching (static stretching, dynamic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), and timing would influence injury and performance. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Applied Physiology Nutrition & Metabolism as an official position paper of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology entitled: "Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review

The key points are:

  1. all three types of stretching are relatively safe
  2. complete static and PNF stretching routines more than 10 minutes before performance
  3. dynamic stretching (stretching as the joint is moving) may be completed closer  to time of performance
  4. the affects of stretching on performance are mostly trivial 
  5. static and PNF stretching show no overall effect on all-cause injury or overuse injury but may reduce acute muscle injuries with running, sprinting and other activities with repetitive contractions.
  6. there is conflicting evidence regarding the effect of pre-exercise stretching on post-exercise muscle soreness
     

Behm, et al. Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 41:1-11 (2016) 


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George Cho