Stretching has been well anchored into our training habits for a long time, yet still raises controversy. Should we do it before or after our training, or avoid it altogether? The vast majority of people to whom we ask the question: Why are you stretching? answer us with: Because it is important before training!
In fact, there is no miracle recipe to prepare your body for physical activities. The important thing is to gradually increase the heart rate and to reproduce the movements of the sport, gradually increasing the intensity. It is not the stretching, but rather the gradual cardiovascular activation that is the best warm-up before practicing a sport. However, the joints and muscles must be prepared to work well in the whole range of motion required by a sport. The warm-up will therefore be different from one person to another, depending on the demands of the physical activity. For example, a gymnast will work on her flexibility before training since she will have to perform splits with huge amplitude during her routines. However, a runner should make running movements such as running with high knees, dynamic impulses and acceleration in order to prepare his body for action!
Science seems to show that excessive stretching (beyond the sport’s demand) before a performance could reduce muscle power and increase the risk of injury. It would therefore be inadvisable for a runner to stretch in splits positions before training. On the other hand, many people like to stretch and it gives them a feeling of well-being. What to do then? The solution is to simply stretch after training or outside the training window. That being said, on your mats everyone, whenever you feel like it!