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I am trying to build muscle mass (with body weight), and I know that doing static stretches after a workout can help. I am also aware that stretching every day (or 5 times a week) is good. The same kind of workout everyday is not good, so is it safe to do the same stretches every day?

Here, I am aiming to stretch both my upper and lower body. So, is it safe to hit the upper body and lower body with the same stretches (static) regularly?

For example, if I do forward standing toe touches and pancake stretches for the hamstrings, then is it good and safe to do those same stretches every day (or 5 days a week)?

One more clarification, this question is not about when to stretch. It's about the kind of stretches to do. It's just a doubt. Doing the same variety of stretches every time, is it fine?

I am a beginner, and my goal is flexibility (and fewer injuries).

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    Stretching after workout can reduce the training effect. It is better to wait about 6 hours after workout. May 21, 2023 at 15:36
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    6 hours, Is that long really suggested? Because I've been stretching just 5-10 minutes after my workout, and it seems fine. Would like more information on it.
    – Naitik
    May 21, 2023 at 16:02
  • This is a good start, with proper scientific background. May 21, 2023 at 17:06
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    Stretching(Static) is advised to be done after warming up your muscles, so, preferably after your workout(as far as I know). Thanks for the video, but I have a doubt about that 6-hour gap between stretching and workouts.
    – Naitik
    May 22, 2023 at 9:27
  • I like to stretch at the end of the day. Do you watch television in the evening. You probably do. Stretch while you are watching.
    – Chris
    May 26, 2023 at 16:15

2 Answers 2

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There are a few things that you need to know when it comes to stretching and working out.

First, there are four different types of stretching.

  1. Static - The traditional "reach and hold", usually done for 20-40 seconds 2 or 3 times per stretch.
  2. Dynamic - Active movement, usually done in the manner of what you're about to exercise. Skipping, butt kicks, high knee drills are examples of dynamic streching before a run.
  3. Ballistic - The bouncing reach. Used to be quite common, then fell out of favor (Stretch reflex can cause injuries/tears), but studies have shown it increases flexibility faster than static.
  4. PNF - Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation - This is an advanced stretch done with a partner. Not recommended as a beginner. Uses a stretch, contract against resistance, deeper stretch cycle.

What you are actually doing when you stretch is training your mind what the "safe" limits of your range of motion (ROM) are. A person who is unconscious would have a much wider ROM than when they were awake. The body protects itself against tears by limiting how far a muscle can stretch. By actively pushing past that on a regular basis, you can move your set point.

Now, there have been studies that show static stretching right before a power based activity can reduce the effectiveness and the strength available for the workout, but even that is a little murky and a few studies have shown brief static stretching in between sets may be beneficial [Decent writeup here].

I don't know of any studies that have shown stretching afterwards reduces the gains of the workout, but consider that extreme stretching (i.e. trying to increase flexibility) can also introduce micro tears in the muscle, so you may be delaying recovery.

My personal regimen is to do a light, 10-15 minute routine after weight workouts, and a deeper more intense 30 minute session after plyo/active workouts or on off days (After a warmup, never static stretch cold muscles).

In short, the science is still somewhat mixed on this, but there are more studies than not showing static stretching before a workout reduces available power. So, do an active, dynamic warmup of 5-15 minutes before, and save the static for after. If your body is used to it, then there is no problem with doing deep stretches every day, there are many yoga practitioners that do this. I would respect the need for rest days and schedule one every 3-4 days, however.

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  • So, it is safe to do the same stretches whenever you stretch, Right?
    – Naitik
    May 26, 2023 at 7:04
  • > "So, it is safe to do the same stretches whenever you stretch, Right? " This seems like a non-sensical question.
    – Chris
    May 26, 2023 at 16:16
  • Alright, I'll rephrase. If I do forward standing toe touches and pancake stretches for the hamstrings, then is it good to do those same stretches every day (or 5 days a week)?
    – Naitik
    May 28, 2023 at 15:59
  • @Naitik It is advised to do stretches at least 3 times a week, better daily. May 29, 2023 at 13:22
  • Okay, but is alright to do those 'same stretches', every time I stretch?
    – Naitik
    May 29, 2023 at 14:04
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I am trying to build muscle mass(with bodyweight), and I know that doing static stretches after a workout can help.

I am a beginner, and my goal is flexibility(and fewer injuries).

Point of clarification: Doing stretches after a workout (or any time) will not help you build muscle mass, and will not help you avoid injury, but will help you increase your flexibility. So if your goal is flexibility, by all means stretch. Just don't expect it to help with the other two things.

The same kind of workout everyday is not good

This isn't necessarily true. Research into overtraining pretty much always uses training volume as the variable that is manipulated, rather than rest days. I.e. An overtraining study would look like "what are the outcomes if runners run for 50 vs 100 miles per week?" rather than "what are the outcomes if runner run 4 days per week vs 7 days per week?"

The idea of rest days being important pretty much entirely comes from bro science, and doesn't really have any evidence or even mechanistic reasoning behind it. While it's never been directly researched, the notion that it would be riskier to do one set of squats every day than it would to do 7 sets of squats twice per week is patently ridiculous. The important question is not "am I having enough rest days?", but rather "am I doing more work than I can recover from?"

so is it safe to do the same stretches every day?

Overtraining syndrome can be readily demonstrated in extreme endurance training, it is debatable whether it actually exists in resistance training, and it very clearly does not exist in flexibility training.

As an example, here's a study that had people stretching a single muscle using a mechanical device for 1 vs 2 hours per day, and they saw no drawbacks to stretching for 2 hours daily.

Daily stretching is definitely safe, but you shouldn't expect it to build muscle or reduce injury risk.

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