Should I stretch or foam roll after the workout or only when I feel soreness in my muscles. Plz help

2 Answers 2


Just to expand a bit on another point of view.

I'd agree that doing a whole body static stretching routine before/after a workout is probably not the best way to use your time, however stretching & foam rolling definitely have their uses.

Obviously most professional athletes you'd expect do some amount of stretching and muscle therapy.

Just a couple quick examples:

Now we're probably not trying to get into the NFL or be the worlds strongest man so take that w/ a grain of salt.

Stretching may not instantly improve performance but increased flexibility and range of motion is beneficial.

If you're horribly tight, have bad posture, or poor range of motion that will definitely hinder your ideal performance. So if you need to improve it stretching, rolling, and strengthening are pretty much your only options.

Some quick reads to give pros and cons to stretching and foam rolling.

  • Fascia training
    • "Use of foam rollers or a roller massager before or after exercise for self-myofascial release appears to be helpful with regard to range of motion and soreness."
  • Stretching: Focus on flexibility
    • Speaks about how stretching in regards to your following workout has no benefit but increased flexibility overall has quite a few.

So stretch/roll after or only when you feel sore?

Neither or either, it really depends on what you need. I'd say most important is evaluate what you need in regards to your specific workout and overall goals.

If your workout would benefit from a increased range of motion.

For example you're doing Olympic or power style lifting, things like snatches, squats, dead lifts, and cleans will definitely benefit from shoulder, ankle, wrist, hip, etc. mobility. So regular rolling targeting areas and increasing your range of motion will defiantly help.

If you have any areas that are overly tight or imbalanced.

This may unrelated to your workout but rather something you may determine you'd benefit from. For example if your hunched over a desk all day your hips, back and shoulders likely could benefit from daily stretching and rolling. Or if a lack of mobility is preventing you from properly doing some exercises then definitely using any tool possible should be part of your daily training rather then an afterthought.

Personally I used to always have one side of my back flair up when doing dead lifts or high volume on squats. This seemed to mainly be caused by my poor ankle mobility on one side and very tight hips. I've been doing daily hip opening stretches, rolling for the past 6 months and have not had any issues for the past few.

It's a big topic.

I'm no expert and mainly coming from a power lifting focus so keep that in mind. While I never see people doing a classic middle school stretching routine before or after a workout (usually bar or no weight warm ups and a dynamic movement routine), all the strongest most athletic guys I know do some sort mobility and maintenance routine outside of their workouts.

So yeah if you're sore, tight or need some more flexibility go ahead roll it out, do some stretches before/after/both or don't see what works for you and what you can benefit from.

  • 1
    For your fascial release- Can you find a better source than a public wiki entry filled with pseudo science babble?
    – JohnP
    Feb 26, 2018 at 20:54
  • I think it's worth noting that the mere fact that a professional athlete does a thing (for example, cupping) indicates nothing about the true utility/validity of that thing. Feb 26, 2018 at 21:20
  • Somebody hit me up with a good stretching routine to increase flexibility. Feb 27, 2018 at 4:36

Foam-rolling and stretching are unnecessary, but you certainly may do them if you like/want to do so.


Stretching is good for ... more stretching. Do it if you like, but not because you hear/believe that you "should stretch" without further rationale. One rationale for stretching: It may help you tolerate a specific greater range of motion (ROM), for example, if your shoulders don't (currently) allow you to carry a barbell in the low-bar position for squatting. Another source claims that "Post-exercise [static] stretching appears to have a little effect on reducing muscle soreness 1-7 days after exercise". I haven't found substantial information about post-workout dynamic stretching.

Foam-rolling might help you with your soreness. As with stretching: Do it if you like. It's a "shrugger": a treatment idea that has some plausibility but has had little or no good, powerful testing. There is a small, flawed trial of foam-rolling that claims a slight benefit. Another study,"The Effect of Foam Rolling Duration on Hamstring Range of Motion" found "no significant differences between baseline knee extension ROM and the ROM present after foam rolling"; this study isn't especially powerful (in terms of size), and has significant methodological weaknesses (for example, variability of pressure and area of foam-rolling).

  • I heard they help you in recovery. Feb 23, 2018 at 15:13
  • Downvoting this for the complete lack of context. Stretching and foam rolling are tools, and they have a purpose. Knowing nothing about the asker's goals and ambitions, you would shoot down the idea of improving mobility and flexibility so quickly?
    – Alec
    Feb 26, 2018 at 19:29
  • Additionally, I will also downvote any attempt to use an article with no sources to back up your claims. The author of the article offers not a single verifiable source for his claims.
    – Alec
    Feb 26, 2018 at 19:32
  • @Liftedsafe01 - There is no study that I know of proving efficacy of stretching or foam rolling for recovery.
    – JohnP
    Feb 26, 2018 at 20:21
  • @Alec, thank you for your feedback. It's not clear to me that OP is interested in "improving mobility and flexibility"; the "question" refers only to post-workout timing generally and to occurrence of soreness specifically. Please have a look at my edits/additions and let me know if you see other ways to improve this answer. Feb 26, 2018 at 20:21

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