You may have heard that stretching before a workout will make your limbs looser and better prepared for exercise. But research suggests that stretching-in particular static stretching, which involves stretching in place and holding the stretch-may actually limit your performance. Multiple studies have indicated that a stretched muscle becomes less strong than an unstretched one, especially if you hold the stretch for more than 45 seconds. One study found that subjects who engaged in weightlifting after stretching lifted 8.3% less weight, in addition to feeling less balanced. Many trainers now recommend warming up by moving dynamically rather than focusing on static stretches where your body is at rest.
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Key Facts In This Video
The degree to which stretching affects athletic performance depends on the sport or activity. 00:18
There's little evidence to suggest that stretching before or after an activity will decrease muscle soreness. 00:43
Warming up before exercising can increase your muscles' potential for strength and power during the workout. 01:21