Shane Lance B.S., M.Ed

To stretch or not to stretch.  That used to be the question.  Now the question is:  What kind of stretching and when? 

Basically, there is static stretching and dynamic stretching.  The static stretching we used to always do before sports has now been proven to be best utilized post performance. Dynamic stretching should be the pre-performance choice.

Below is some information about stretching from strength and conditioning great, Vern Gambetta:


The rule of thumb to remember is warm-up to stretch, do not stretch to warm-up. My experience has shown static stretching is best placed at the end of the workout as part of a cool down. Placed there it serves to restore the muscles to their resting length which will reduce soreness and enhance recovery for the next workout. 

For optimum results flexibility exercises in the warm-up should be active to facilitate the excitation of the nervous system to create a readiness for movement…..The purpose of stretching in warm-up is neural activation. Passive or static stretching has a relaxing, calming effect. That is appropriate for the cool down or in a recovery

In dynamic flexibility work there are no sudden movements; the movements are controlled and flowing. Dynamic flexibility work will improve elasticity of muscles and ligaments. It consists of arm swings, leg swings, trunk rotations, reaches and bending to stimulate blood flow and wake up the nervous system.

Static stretches should follow dynamic stretches. Static stretching can be counter productive if placed before a workout requiring explosiveness, speed or agility. Immediately following static stretching the muscles are less responsive to stimulation and coordination is thrown off. Static stretches interfere with the activity of tendon reflexes. This underscores the importance of carefully choosing the type of flexibility to be used relative to the type of workout. This is all part of a good plan.


Here is a link to a great article on Static vs. dynamic stretching.  It also includes some videos showing some examples of good dynamic movements.