Why you should never stretch before a workout!

Many of us are taught to strecht before and after a workout but this isn't as good for your training as you might think.


7/5/20232 min read


We are constantly taught and reminded of the importance of stretching, whether that’s stretching pre-workout or, stretching post-work out. We know it is essential for our bodies, to avoid injury and remain supple.

A common belief is that we should always stretch prior to any physical work outs/ exercises or activities. The reason behind it being, to loosen and prepare your muscles for the extra exertion they are about to experience. However, some studies caution people away from stretching before workouts, suggesting it actually can impede your body’s performance. According to this research, runners run more slowly, jumpers jump less high, and weight lifters lift significantly less by stretching, without ensuring against injury during their exercise. Not many people know that stretching actually decreases your muscle power by up to 30%!

When done right stretching can help enormously as you can read in our How To Stretch blog post, but today we are talking about WHEN to strecht. With that said, let’s go through the reasons why you should NEVER stretch pre-work out!

Stretching is not the same as a warm up.

This is probably the hugest misunderstanding when it comes to preparing yourself for a workout. It’s imperative that you understand that these two routines (stretching vs. warming up) have completely different identities.

Stretching does not prepare your body for exercise.

Stretching actually decreases your heart rate and doesn’t stimulate your nervous system to prepare for the high intensity workout you’re about to take on. A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that stretching before you lift weights may leave you weaker and less coordinated during your workout.

Stretching alone, before a workout, might actually increase risk of injury.

According to research in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, stretching doesn’t prepare your muscles for eccentric loading (negative reps), which is when most strains are believed to occur.

Stretching can make you sleepy.

Passive, static stretching has a calming effect that can make you sleepy—not exactly the mood you’re looking for before an intense workout…

What you should do instead:

Perform a full body dynamic warm up. Warming up will prepare all of your systems to ensure that you perform most efficiently in your workout. A good warm up should affect the heart, blood vessels, nervous system, muscles and tendons, along with the joints and ligaments. Additionally, a good warm up will sharpen your reaction time, enhance concentration, improve coordination and regulate your mental and emotional state. The warm up template below is a sure-fire way to ensure that your mind and body will be prepared to take on any workout.

  • 5–10 minutes of aerobic activity (jog, bike, row)

  • 5 minutes of dynamic stretching and mobilitywod work (arm swings, leg swings, lunges, neck rolls, mountain climbers, foam rolling)

  • 5 minute mental prep

By using this template and performing a makeover on your warm up rather than just stretching, here is how you’ll improve your health mentally and physically:

  • The aerobic activity will prepare your cardiovascular system for exercise.

  • The dynamic stretching will not only prepare your joints and ligament for similar movements you’ll be doing in your workout, but it will also raise and maintain body temperature as you enter your workout. (static stretching can drop your temperature).

  • By practicing visualization and including mental prep in your warm up, you’ll not only be laser focused for your workout, but you’ll improve movement efficacy lowering your risk of injury.

Why you should NEVER stretch before your work out!