I have a set of stretches I generally do; not sure where I got them from, but they seem to work for me. (I use them for general stretching, not strength training).

Now that I'm starting weight training, using Starting Strength, is there a specific stretch program I should do? Or should I just do my regular routine?

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    Perhaps you should have a look at my answer on stretching. In general, stretching doesn't help prevent muscle soreness, so make sure you stretch for the right reasons!
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 6, 2012 at 9:36
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    This answer desperately needs the OP to post his stretching routine. Without it, we have nothing to go on. May 7, 2012 at 0:35

2 Answers 2


Starting Strength prescribes only a few stretches specific to particular lifts, and a stretching program is not part of SS.

Here are the four references to stretching that I could find in SS, Third Edition:

  • Sitting down into a bodyweight squat, using your elbows to push your knees out.
  • Wrist stretches for the power clean rack position (See Figure 6-44).
  • Warm-up sets using the empty bar.
  • If you can't get your back into proper extension with feet on the floor for the bench press, Rippetoe mentions that stretching could be useful.
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    I generally do goblet squats (light) prior to squating, overhead squats prior to benching/overhead press and deadlifts - that warms me up enough for the weight workout Jun 26, 2012 at 23:47

The best stretches to do before any exercise is no stretches at all. Stretching before exercise weakens your muscles and increases risk of injury. Any stretching you do should be after the exercise as part of a cooldown.

The best warmup to do for weight lifting is appropriately called warmup sets. Do 3 sets of whatever lift you'll be doing with much lighter weights than your target weight for that day. So if you're going to be deadlifting 135lbs that day, you would do a warmup set with just the bar and bumper plates (~50lbs), then another set at 65lbs and a third set at 85lbs. You can adjust the weights according to however you feel. Obviously if it doesn't feel good, go lighter and throw in an extra set.

Doing warmup sets is also a good way to figure out if something is off that day. If what you expected to just be your second warmup set feels unusually heavy, that's a good sign that you may have overtrained or haven't taken enough time to recover.

  • Can you provide references to back up your claim that "stretching before exercise weakens your muscles and increases risk of injury"?
    – user240
    Jun 27, 2012 at 0:08
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    Sure, there's plenty out there if you search, but here's one to start. chiroaccess.com/Articles/… “Overall, the evidence suggests that increasing range of motion beyond function through stretching is not beneficial and can actually cause injury and decrease performance. These findings should be used to challenge common warm-up practices in athletics.”
    – Robin Ashe
    Jun 27, 2012 at 0:20
  • It can decrease performance, however the jury is still out on injury prevention. Runners world did a study involving 1400+ runners over 3 months, with a certain cohort doing static stretching and others doing dynamic. Over the course of the study, the injury rate for both groups was 16%. There have been studies that show that static stretching before does hinder performance though. Warmup sets are good, but basically any active motion that raises the heart rate and mimics the motion of the activity to be performed will work. The articles cited are mostly reviews, and ambiguous results at best.
    – JohnP
    Jun 27, 2012 at 0:29
  • Running and weightlifting are quite different. Decreased strength doesn't pose much of a risk for jogging. It poses a huge risk for lifting heavy weights. There's plenty of other sources as well - look at any current 1st or 2nd year HKIN textbook and it'll tell you the exact same thing, and explain why.
    – Robin Ashe
    Jun 27, 2012 at 0:34
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    I've looked at the books when I got my kinesiology degree. You're arguing against static stretching before activity, which I entirely agree with. Before activity should be dynamic stretching, with activity that mimics what's to come. Static stretching after. I'm arguing against the statement that static stretching of any kind is conducive to injury. I think we are stating the same things in different ways :D
    – JohnP
    Jun 27, 2012 at 14:43

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