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Static Stretching Pre Workout


Recently I have been given mixed information in regards to static stretching before heavy workouts i.e. bench, deadlift and squat. All of my college courses informed me to use static stretching as part of every warm up to decrease possiblity of injury. However the older I get the more I learn that everything I learned in school isn't always correct.

I posed this question to a rather influencial and advanced (2360 total) powerlifter in my gym and he told me that the only warm up I should do is to use light weight for a lot (6-7) of warm up sets. He said that static stretching of worked muscles before workout would make them weaker. He also mentioned that static stretching should only be used post workout or off days.

I know that using static stretching on the back pre workout will make the chest stronger due to the agonist/antagonist muscle grouping structure. But I am unsure which of the previously mentioned methods to use.


Stretching Roundtables I and II


Short answer is yes, static stretching immediately preworkout is generally thought to make it more difficult for the muscle to contract, making you "weaker" and also increasing your chance of injury (ironic, huh?)

Personally I don't do any stretching before lifting, just warm up sets, then static stretching pwo (actually more of a bastardized PNF stretch), interspersed with a few light weight, high rep sets to get some blood flowing through the area.


I would only static stretch the muscles in ur body that are shorter than normal length...most common being your hipflexors/quads, calves, lats, pecs..but every body is dif so I would evaluate yourself..general rule of thumb...static stretch shorten muscles then dynamically stretch what you will be working on or your full body if u have time. Post workout def static stretch


It does not make your chest stronger, it slightly inhibits tension from your back muscles supposedly keeping your chest from having to push through your back muscles along with the weight imposed on it. It's a slight difference but may help with your understanding of stretching.


Thats what I meant, but thanks for clearing it up for anyone who couldn't read into it that far.


Thanks Brant, those were good reads. I probably should have looked a little further into it before I posed the question.


I find it useful to only static stretch muscles which are so tight that they affect proper form. For example, sometimes my calves are so tight that I can't get rock bottom on a squat, so I might stretch them a bit just to get them to a "normal" length. I never stretch preworkout to make gains in flexibility, only to restore it to the minimum level required to properly perform my movements for the day. I usually do a bit of activation work for said muscle group afterwards too, trying to make sure that it's not too relaxed.


i personally don't like any form of static stretching prior to strength/power/agility training.

i've learned that AIS (active isolated stretching) & loaded stretching can actually improve power/strength scores. i would use AIS on problem areas.

for example: general warmup, mobility warmup, AIS stretching, specific warmup / activation exericses, go!


i think forms of PNF do help prior to training, but not with 30 second stretch holds.. for example contract-hold ~5-15 seconds, relax stretch hold ~2 seconds.

there exists hundreds of studies, where they concluded static stretching reduced force in the muscles stretched.. some studies say the effect lasts 15 minutes, some say 2 hours.

a couple of examples:

An Acute Bout of Static Stretching: Effects on Force and Jumping Performance.

Results: After SS (STATIC STRETCHING), there were significant overall 9.5% and 5.4% decrements in the torque or force of the quadriceps for MVC and ITT, respectively. Force remained significantly decreased for 120 min (10.4%), paralleling significant percentage increases (6%) in sit and reach ROM (120 min). After SS, there were no significant changes in jump performance or PF measures.

Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Force, Balance, Reaction Time, and Movement Time.

Conclusion: In conclusion, it appears that an acute bout of stretching impaired the warm-up effect achieved under control conditions with balance and reaction/movement time.

Acute Effects of Static and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power Output

Conclusions: Both static and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching caused similar deficits in strength, power output, and muscle activation at both slow (60°·s�??1) and fast (300°·s�??1) velocities. The effect sizes, however, corresponding to these stretching-induced changes were small, which suggests the need for practitioners to consider a risk-to-benefit ratio when incorporating static or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching.

good document:
Should static stretching be used during a warm-up for strength and power activities