To Stretch Or Not To Stretch- This Is The Question What Is The Answer ?

Stretching before or after exercise is a question that many people who play sport or do weight training or any other type of activity have been asking for quite some time, I have asked myself this question and found that there are many different views on the subject, so I can only give a view from my own personal experience as a definitive answer is hard to find, there are experts that don’t agree on this subject, some say that you should warm up first and then stretch some say that you should stretch then warm up and yet others say that you should not stretch ever.

Not to ever stretch

The argument for not stretching is that when you stretch you make the muscles and tendons longer and in doing so you make the muscles week, this argument has been suggested by Tamra Llewellyn

” Running magazines have long extolled the virtues of stretching, so much so that it’s become an accepted part of many exercise routines. Most runners partake in some form of “static” stretching, where you pull your body into position, grit your teeth and watch the clock for 30-60 seconds. However there’s a growing school of thought among exercise physiologists, that stretching makes little difference and can even reduce performance.

Static Stretch Video

By Tamar Llewellyn

So why do we stretch? As Tamra Llewellyn of the University of Nebraska explains, static stretching has long been seen as a way of warming up, loosening the muscles and preventing injury.

“I think that for a long time people would do stretches thinking that if they had a good range of motion in their muscles and their joints, they shouldn’t get injured,” Llewellyn says. “And to some degree that’s the case, especially in basketball or football where you need to move laterally, and require your entire range of motion. But with running, you’re in one plane the entire time, putting your legs through the same repetitive motion so perhaps it’s not as necessary as we previously thought.”

While you may not realize it, stretching is actually quite a traumatic experience for the body. The pain you experience while holding a stretch comes because you’re actually tearing the tissue fibres at a microscopic level, thus remoulding the tissue into a longer and more flexible form.”



An argument for stretching

By Dr.Mike Clark Of the National Academy Of Sport Science

“You have two major receptors in your muscles, Clark says. One is your muscle spindle, which makes the muscle contract. The other is called the Golgi tendon organ, which makes the muscle relax. “They both should be in balance with one another, which allows the tissue to work without getting injured,” Clark says.

If you have any muscular imbalances, and all you do to warm up is dynamic or static movements, your body will be continuously compensating for your problem spots, Clark cautions. “Stretching stimulates the muscle spindle and makes it more overactive. Deep pressure stimulates the Golgi tendon organ, which then overrides the muscle spindle, which allows the tissue to relax, which prepares it for stretching,” Clark says. Foam rolling before stretching and exercising is like taking the parking brake off before you start driving your car, he says.”


My conclusion

I suffered from an injury to my thy muscle, the injury was between my quad muscles and my adductor muscles I got the injury whilst training with my son. I got the injury because in my personal opinion I didn’t warm up or stretch because I had read somewhere that stretching weakens the muscles, my own experience showed me that stretching before exercise suited me. I was shown how to stretch by my first Karate instructor when I was 15 years old and I never had this type of injury. In fact since I stopped stretching I have had the same injury twice in one year.

My advice which has helped me since injury is to follow this simple warm up routine


1. Walk slowly and then increase the pace

2. If you have an injury that has healed but needs rehab. Either foam roller that area or use a basket ball size ball

3. Gently stretch the muscles

4. Start slowly with you exercise routine and gradually build up the intensity

5. Slowly warm down by waking and then stretching, you can foam roller if you wish

These few simple steps should help you to exercise with less injury.

Dynamic Stretching Video