Not all stretching is created equal, according to my personal trainer, Stephanie Pipia. Here are some of her tips on how to stretch pre- and post-workout.
Research has shown that dynamic stretches improve force production and explosive power. They can also help to increase body awareness, and help with stability and balance—all in the warm-up, getting your body ready to work!
Examples include walking lunges with and without a rotation, lunging and reaching, glute bridges, stepping to balance, power skipping, butt kicks, etc.
For post-workout cool-downs, Stephanie recommends static stretching. Like dynamic stretching, it improves flexibility by moving joints through a specific range of motion. However, unlike dynamic stretching, it does not increase your core temperature. Static stretching suppresses the central nervous system, relaxing the muscle spindles by lengthening them, and has been shown to actually reduce power and force production in several studies.
Static stretching is great to relax your muscles after a workout. These types of stretches are usually passive, meaning someone else is stretching you as you relax your body. Each position is held for 10 to 30 seconds, and repeated four to six times. Individual muscles like hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors, are stretched versus dynamic moves, which usually involve your full body.
Both types of stretching are very beneficial when done at the appropriate time, intensity and specificity!
Our 2012 Weight Loss Diary writer, Yasmin, is a 32-year-old web content producer who is looking to get healthy and love her body! Follow along on her year-long weight loss journey!