When should I stretch?
This is a question I frequently get asked and honestly, even with a Doctorate degree, I don’t really know the answer. But here’s what I tell those who ask: there is no strict rules when it comes to stretching. There is no substantial evidence that supports the notion that stretching prevents injury and there is no such thing as over stretching. I believe it’s important to stretch prior to doing activities that require good range of motion. For example, squats require flexible calves so it is important to stretch these prior to squatting. Same concept with running when it comes to hip flexors. You will have more success stretching when your muscles have already been warmed up whether from a quick 5-10 minutes of cardio, hot shower, going on a walk, or using a hot pack. More importantly- when you stop stretching your muscles will start tightening up again if you don’t continue moving through the range. In order to make good progress on flexibility, it is important to stretch daily. Most of us do not stretch daily, so I would suggest as often as you are able too. For good results stretching at least 4 times a week would be indicated.
1) Stretch before doing a movement that requires good flexibility.
2) Stretching after a warm up (5-10 minutes) will get better results.
3) Stretching 4 or more times per week will give you best results.