Partially, that is. Of course I believe in stretching, and plenty of it! What I don’t believe in is stretching cold muscles. So whether you’re about to hit the gym, go on a long run, a bike ride, or snowboard down a mountain, it doesn’t matter, I don’t believe in stretching beforehand. Stretching cold muscles won’t do anything for you; in fact, you could even injure yourself in doing so!
What I do recommend is to warm-up all of your muscles prior to your full work-out and then stretch fully and completely. Stretching properly is vital to keeping you injury free — here’s an excerpt from an Active.com article, Q&A: Proper Warm Up.
Q: I’m a jogger for many years who was recently told by a varsity college runner that her coach said it was not necessary to stretch before running. Is this correct? I’m talking about pre-jogging stretching occurring after a warm-up walk of a few minutes.
A: From Rick Huegli, sports performance director of Velocity Sports Performance in Seattle:
From the college coaches’ perspective, an appropriate warm up is what is necessary to prepare the muscles for the workout. The goal is to raise core and muscle temperature and improve coordination for the specifics of the workout. Dynamic movement or progressive low-intensity running will increase core and muscle temperature and improve neuromuscular (coordination) and movement function.
The objective of static stretching usually is to increase the range of motion at a joint or to induce muscle relaxation and decrease the stiffness of muscle-tendon systems. Static stretching cold muscles, which provides some risk for muscle damage, is better placed at the end of the workout when the muscles have shortened or tightened. It is not an efficient way to increase core and muscle temperature and improve neuromuscular (coordination) function.
Progressive dynamic movement and/or progressive low-intensity running will increase core and muscle temperature as well as provide increased range of motion throughout the specific running mechanism. Static stretching (holding a stretch for a period of time) and ballistic stretching (bouncing to increase the amount of stretch) are inefficient and counterproductive methods for getting the muscles ready for activity.