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I heard many things about stretching but recently, I had 2 different (and opposite) advices about it. Both were from certified trainers.

One said that, after your workout, whatever your workout was, you have to stretch to prevent injuries, DOMs, and to help muscle recovery.

The other said that, when you do a bodybuilding workout, you must not stretch and stretching after workouts will increase injury probabilities without any advantages.

I do 6 workouts a week (~1 hour each, half body every day) and stretch (static) after every workout, every muscle involved in the workout, because I learned to do so years ago when I was doing martial arts, but it's not the same exercise and the flexibility requirements are not the same.

Who is right ? Should I continue stretching after each workout ?

  • Dynamic stretching is recommended before workout because it prepares your muscles and joints for workout and static stretching after workout. – Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad Oct 3 '18 at 20:32
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Both perspectives seem off in one way or another. Your experience alone shows that stretching isn't harmful when done right, but what exactly is right? Let's tackle your two perspectives first, then we'll get to that.

"After your workout, you have to stretch to prevent injuries, DOMs, and to help muscle recovery."

It should be self evident as to why this isn't true. Not stretching won't cause any of these problems, nor will stretching prevent any of these problems. Stretching can certainly help with regard to these things, but its presence or absence simply cannot determine the presence or absence of these symptoms.

"Stretching after workouts will increase injury probabilities without any advantages."

The only situation that I can imagine where a post workout stretch increases the risk of injury is in the case of an already existing injury. What I mean is that if you've strained a muscle during exercise or come particularly close to straining a muscle, then stretching may be (if you'll pardon the idiom) the straw that broke the camels back. As for the notion that post workout exercise "has no advantages", that's also clearly false. You will often notice immediate benefits for stretching afterwards (it feels good), it also promotes circulation and thus aids in recovery.

"Should I continue stretching after each workout?"

As mentioned, you've been training for at least a few years now and I'm led to believe that you've been stretching after each workout for at least most of that time. I think you already know the answer. While pre workout stretching has the disadvantage of decreased power output, post workout stretching holds no such disadvantage - quite the contrary. Post workout stretching has several advantages including some that are often immediately noticed. Continue doing your stretches, they will help to increase flexibility, promote circulation, and decrease recovery time. Strength training of all kinds (including bodybuilding) will tax the muscles, you only need to subsequently provide those muscles with the fuel and rest they require in order to progress. Stretching isn't necessary, but it will help you in bodybuilding similar to how it helped you in martial arts.

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    Do you have evidence that stretching pre strength training increases injury risk? If so, it would make your answer stronger to provide that, and also detail what type of stretching you are talking about. (I know that static stretching before activity decreases power output, but I'm not aware of an increased injury risk) – JohnP Oct 3 '18 at 19:09
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    mmm....not really. I'll have to look, but I have not seen studies that show an increased injury risk with static, and dynamic stretching is absolutely indicated. Similar for strength training, being flexible or doing flexibility training isn't associated with injury risk. It doesn't prevent injuries, but it doesn't predispose you either. – JohnP Oct 3 '18 at 20:43
  • Thanks for this answer ! To clarify : I've always done dynamic stretches before and static after each workouts, but I'm new to fitness (I started in september). I was doing Tae Kwon Do before and mountain biking - so I have not enough experience in bodybuilding to know the answer by myself – P154 Oct 4 '18 at 7:25
  • I'd really like to know some scientific background and studies on stretching. Everyone seems to do it but nobody can tell me if and how it works and what the benefits are. This also raises the question on when and how you should stretch. I have a suspicion that lots of people are wasting a lot of time. – Michael Oct 5 '18 at 7:56

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