Do I need to stretch after I finish a workout?
There are multiple types of stretching techniques to use during your workouts with the most popular being static (holding a position) and dynamic (moving quickly through positions) stretching. Although a recent study published in the Medicine and Science Journal in Sports and Exercise states that holding stretches prior to exercise didn’t decrease performance, it’s best to hold the longer stretches until after the workout unless you’re extremely tight in one particular area. Instead, use dynamic stretches that focus on quick movements that increase body temperature and heart rate to prepare for exercise. After your workout, hold each stretch for 25-30 seconds before releasing.
One important note: Not all muscles need to be stretched post-workout. Focus on hitting only those areas that are exceptionally tight either from the workout or from daily posture. For most guys, that means extra attention to the pecs, lats, traps, and hip flexors.
Static stretching is only part of a good cool-down routine. Along with stretching, put some light walking and foam-rolling at the end of your workout. This will help increase circulation and lower your heart rate slowly instead of heading out of the gym immediately after your last set. A cool-down routine will also decrease post-workout soreness.
About the trainer: Jeremey DuVall
Jeremey DuVall is a personal trainer based in Denver, CO. He received a Master’s degree in Human Performance from the University of Florida while specializing in strength training for endurance athletes. For more on Jeremey, check him out at JeremeyDuVall.com or on Twitter, @JeremeyD.