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When and Why Should You Be Stretching Anyways?

It’s common to see people stretch both before and after a workout but which is better? When it comes down to it, both have their benefits. Pre-workout stretching is most commonly in the form of dynamic stretching, or actively moving a joint through its range of motion. These types of stretches help to prepare the body for activity by increasing muscle temperature, core temperature and blood flow to muscles. Dynamic stretching also works to increase dynamic flexibility.

Static stretching and partner stretching are the more common types of post-workout stretching. Both of these types of stretching work to increase range of motion and flexibility.  Post-workout stretching facilitates more range of motion improvements than pre-workout stretching because increased muscle temperature allows for a greater stretch. Post-workout stretching may also help to decrease muscle soreness.

In the end, pre- and post-workout stretching are both beneficial in their own way.  Pre-workout stretching prepares muscles for activity and post-workout stretching may decrease muscle soreness. Both will help increase flexibility but if this is your goal, post-workout stretching is best.

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