T Nation

Safe to Stretch Without Warming Up?


#1

These stretches, is it OK to do them without warming up? I was reading about hip-flexor stretches on T-Nation, but none of the articles say anything about warm up.

If I have to warm up, please tell me what type? Like, jumping jack, star jumps or even body weight squats.

quad stretches
Upper Quad/Hip Flexor
Basic Hip Flexor




#2

You can do them with no warm up or only a quick warm up. jumping jacks and jump lunges for two minutes should be enough. try to do them at a slow and steady pace; you're trying to raise your body temperature, not to empty your gas tank. Just don't stretch beyond the pain.


#3

You can perform static stretching at any time, with or without a warm-up if you simply listen to your body and as Hawkz said, don't push your body beyond it's limits for that stretching session.

However, the more warmed up your body/muscles are the more they are going to easily elongate and thus the more productive your stretching sessions are going to be for improving flexibility. So in general you should stretch at the end of your workouts, but on days when you don't workout you can do your static stretching at any time of day (I personally prefer right before I go to bed because not only does the increased muscular relaxation from the stretching help me to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper, but my muscles can also totally relax for the whole duration of my sleep as opposed to being forced to possibly tighten up throughout the remainder of the day).


#4

x2 to what Sento said. You can do them pretty whenever, as long as you listen to your body through every inch of the movement. If you're stretching cold, don't try to reach a "stretch PR", so to speak.

As an example, the very first thing I do in the gym when I get there is a basic variation of this:

It's a five-minute walk for me to get to the gym, so I'm technically doing them after "a warm-up", but I consider them part of my general warm-up before touching the weights. I'm still paying attention to how my hip flexors, glutes/hamstrings, shoulders, and spine feel, and if anything's still tight, I don't try to push it far.

EDIT: Just to be clear, while it's "safe" to stretch a bit before warming up, stretching a cold muscle is one of the easiest ways to cause injury, so if you're going that route, it's worth-repeating that you need to pay extra attention to how deep and how fast you go through the movements.


#5

Pretty much second everybody else here.

Don't over think it. Stretch cold is fine just don't do something sudden and/or extreme. Pretty common sense. I personally rarely stretch before workouts, and if I do I don't give to craps about warm-up. It's about 50/50 whether I end up stretching after warm-up (something still feels tight before I squat and needs to be loosened) or before (my back or hams are tight and compressed when I get to the gym and stretching loosens me up).