Doing an actual warm-up and stretching are complete opposites, and often you may mistake the two for the same thing. But, truth is stretching before a workout or any physical activity at hand helps with flexibility, and improves your range of motion. Stretching should not be done alone as a warm-up. On the contrary, the goal of any warm up is to improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries. An injury is the last thing you wish to occur right as you’re getting your body up to speed for a particular event, and by skipping the warm-up process and relying on stretching to do the job, your posing a threat to your body. Although you may overlook this many times, a good warm-up before any workout or sport, allows for the increase of body temperature and blood flow, and is key in getting your body prepared for the intense activity that you are about to do. Of course, most of us can attest to the fact that we should stretch before a workout to get loose, as there is value in stretching. This does not mean that we should focus on stretching alone, and forget the warm-up process, which is essential to the activity you are about to do. I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t need to warm-up, but in fact, studies have shown that stretching before an activity does nothing for the reduction of injuries. Injuries tend to occur during the normal range of motion and are not preventable through stretching. Take for example, during sprinting, an injury may occur when the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity or challenged with a certain load, and not because you have stretched before the workout makes it preventable. Warm-up exercises are a crucial aspect to any sport that you may indulge in, or fitness training program, as it has a number of important elements.
If injuries occur during the normal range of motion, then why increasing that range of motion ? So, it appears that stretching before an activity is not going to help prevent injuries.
What to do is simple. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
Approach your warm up in a detailed form that is of must specifications to the activity you are about to indulge in. keep in mind that a warm up is to actually get you warm; to get your temperature slightly above average, enough to break a sweat. Here is an example of what to do. Let’s consider weight training. If your workout calls for squats, then a good warm up would be body weight squats. This would activate the muscles around the hip, knee, ankle and trunk. The goal is to warm up with the same movements or as close as you can get to the actual movements required by your workout or sport.
In order to get the most out of your training sessions, focus on warm-up movements that mirror the movements of the activity in which you plan on participating. Do as many reps as you need until you feel ready.
So when it comes to preparing for a workout, it makes sense to focus on warming up the body rather than stretching muscles.
A few our basic options you may consider for a warmup may be