Is Stretching your muscles a form of warm up before workout?

Stretching for muscle flexibility.

Stretching your muscles is not a form of warm up but an exercise.

Till date, many people still do think that stretching is actually warming up the muscles . No.

I can say that stretching , can be part of the warm up and cool down process. You can put stretching exercises in between your training.

What are the benefits of stretching exercises?

What stretching does is it loosens up your muscles , tendons and ligaments. Helping to ensure your range of motion is optimum and healthy. Basically, helping to prevent injuries in the long run.

It does not actually increase the core temperature of your muscles . To me it’s a mechanical work done to our muscle fibres , not chemically nor physiologically .

So what exactly is a warm up exercise?

Do a proper warm up  by doing 5-10 min of light to moderate intensity cardio such as brisk walking or jogging. You also can do the exercises you want in a light and slow manner , before increasing the weight or speed of your main training.

So why doing light cardio exercises a good form of warming up?

Reason is because it allows the heart to pump and distribute more blood to the desired working muscles. It improves oxidative response in our lungs and increase physiological activity in our system.

So, let’s take weights training as an example. Before u start lifting heavy weights that only allows you to do 10 reps max , start off by using light weights first. This is what we call the warm up set .

Doing high reps slow and controlled on the same exercise helps the targeted muscles to activate, better response,  firing up all the neuromuscular activity. It also create blood flow, allowing more oxygen, sugar and nutrients to the located muscle group.

After finishing the first lightweight set, you can then proceed on to the next heavier set. I also encourage gradual increment if resistance. Do not jump straight into doing heavy weight resistance on the first set due to personal ego. This could cause injuries.

After all , there is no right or wrong way of warming up. All you need is is keep it simple and light , to increase your body core temperature up gradually before doing the real exercises you want.

Can we include stretching exercises in our workout ?

Yes . Preferably wise to do so. Always remember, stretching is to lengthen your muscles, making it more flexible and less stiff.

It is always good to incorporate it into your warm up and cool down process.

When should we stretch? At the start or end of our training ?

Do not do intense stretching when your muscles are cold . You only start to stretch after warming up.

After that, stretching can be done anytime. In between sets or at the end .

I would strongly recommend clients to stretch in between sets in order not to allow your muscle from getting tight. In conclusion, stretching does more good than harm.

Hope you have a better understanding after reading ! Cheers !

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