One of the biggest myths in the physical fitness world is that you should always stretch before lifting. However, this may actually hinder your workout instead of improving it. Stretching after a workout is usually the best method if you want to improve your flexibility and the muscle growth that you get from a session at the gym. You need to know the difference between warming up your muscles and stretching them out before a workout and how one method is ideal and the other may weaken tissues. A pre-workout stretch can increase the risk of injury during the workout while breaking a sweat before hitting the heavy weights will lower these risks instead. What about stretching before cardio versus stretching before lifting? Are there benefits to your cardio session if you stretch fully before you start? Any serious bodybuilder knows that cardio is an important component so that a low body fat percentage is achieved and well developed muscles become highly visible.
Stretching vs. Warming Up
If you want to get ripped then warming up before you start any serious training is ideal but stretching is not recommended by most physical fitness experts before you hit the weights. When you warm up, you perform light lifting in order to warm up the muscle tissues but these are not stretched out in the process. If you stretch before you start lifting, this can make your workout less effective and actually weaken your muscles instead of building them up. Trying to lift heavy weight without warming up can increase your risk of injury or tissue damage. Stretching before you start can also have the same effect and you could end up delaying your efforts and the results seen because you are taken out of the equation by an injury. Make sure you understand the difference between warming up and stretching out.
Stretching May Weaken Tissues Before A Workout
When you stretch, you may weaken the muscle tissue and then these may not be able to grow or gain mass as effectively. The tissues that are stretched may not be able to lift as much weight or increase in size as much as they would if they were warmed up instead. Experts often advise stretching after lifting instead of before in order to gain the best size results from a workout.
Increased Injury Risks With Stretching Before Lifting
Stretching out before strength training can increase the risk of injury for many bodybuilders and may lead to serious damage or chronic pain. Weakened tissues are more likely to strain, tear, or become injured in other ways and this can set back your lifting efforts and your physical fitness goals. You want to hit the gym and start lifting with muscles that are warm but that are still fresh and in top shape and this can not be achieved when you stretch out before lifting.
Break A Sweat Instead Of Stretching Out
Instead of stretching, it is better for you to break a sweat and warm up all of the muscles in the body that will be targeted. This will allow you to maximize the intensity of the workout and provide superior results for all of your hard work. Getting ripped is easier if you know what to do and what to avoid. Start by lifting light weights for a few reps in order to increase the blood flow to the targeted muscles and warm up the entire muscle group being utilized. As soon as you hit the gym, spend a few minutes warming up before you start the serious strength training. Better blood flow means that your tissues will receive more oxygen during the workout and they will repair faster once you are done. You do not have to spend half of your gym time simply warming up but you should spend at least a few minutes in order to make your workout more effective.
Should You Stretch Before Cardio?
Warming up before lifting instead of stretching out is the best choice, but what about before doing cardio? There are different opinions on whether to stretch before engaging in a cardio workout, with some recommending it and others saying it is a bad idea. If you plan on cardio and lifting in the same day then you should warm up, lift, and then stretch before cardio if you plan on stretching.
You Should Stretch After Your Workout
Stretching after you strength train is recommended, and this can be done before you start the cardio component if you plan on doing cardio the same day as the lifting workout. Stretching does have benefits in certain situations and scenarios but it is better to warm up if you will be hitting the weights. Stretching can weaken muscles and will detract from your strength training instead of making it more effective.