Your cart
Free Two-Day Shipping and Lifetime Warranty Free Two-Day Shipping and Lifetime Warranty

The Relationship Between
Stretching, Fitness, and Recovery

Flexibility and mobility work should be part of your fitness routine.

The Relationship Between
Stretching, Fitness, and Recovery

Flexibility and mobility work should be part of
your fitness routine.

The Relationship Between Stretching, Fitness, and Recovery

Flexibility and mobility work should be part of your fitness routine.

Stretching & Recovery

Stretching has long been a part of the routines of athletes, bodybuilders, yogis, and the everyday fitness enthusiast. Despite its longstanding role in the fitness world, stretching has become the source of some confusion — and degradation.

Research studies on stretching as it relates to physical fitness and athletic performance are conflicting. Some studies say stretching helps; others say it harms performance; still others say it does nothing at all.

At Ekrin Athletics, we believe stretching has a beneficial place in the fitness routine of the everyday athlete.

What to Know About Stretching

Stretching is traditionally defined as “the application of force to musculotendinous structures in order to achieve a change in their length, usually for the purposes of improving joint range of motion (ROM), reducing stiffness or soreness, or preparing for activity.”

What that means in non-science speak is this: Stretching lengthens your muscles and prepares your body for movement.

All the confusion about stretching — Is it good? Is it bad? — stems from research findings back in the early 2000s that concluded static stretching (a la reach-and-hold) reduces muscle function when performed before exercise.

So everyone stopped stretching before track meets and football games in an attempt to avoid the apparent ill effects of pre-competition flexibility work.

The truth is, the benefits and drawbacks of stretching all depend on what type of stretching you do and when you do it. In short, static stretching is best performed after activity, while dynamic stretching and joint preparation exercises are best performed before activity.

How Stretching Affects Workout Recovery

Stretching does more than just make your muscles more flexible (although that’s important). Stretching also promotes efficient recovery from workouts by affecting various body systems and preventing pain and injury.

What to Know About Stretching

Stretching is traditionally defined as “the application of force to musculotendinous structures in order to achieve a change in their length, usually for the purposes of improving joint range of motion (ROM), reducing stiffness or soreness, or preparing for activity.” 

What that means in non-science speak is this: Stretching lengthens your muscles and prepares your body for movement.

All the confusion about stretching — Is it good? Is it bad? — stems from research findings back in the early 2000s that concluded static stretching (a la reach-and-hold) reduces muscle function when performed before exercise.

So everyone stopped stretching before track meets and football games in an attempt to avoid the apparent ill effects of pre-competition flexibility work.

The truth is, the benefits and drawbacks of stretching all depend on what type of stretching you do and when you do it. In short, static stretching is best performed after activity, while dynamic stretching and joint preparation exercises are best performed before activity.

How Stretching Affects Workout Recovery

Stretching does more than just make your muscles more flexible (although that’s important). Stretching also promotes efficient recovery from workouts by affecting various body systems and preventing pain and injury.

Black african american young man stretching after outdoor jogging

Stretching Helps With Breathing and Nervous System Relaxation

It might seem like your muscles take the brunt of your workouts, but your nervous system also gets taxed with every sweat session. Stretching after a workout provides gentle movement and provides an opportunity to focus on deep breathing, both of which help your nervous system return to a resting state.

Stretching Promotes Blood Flow

Stretching, whether dynamically before a workout or statically after a workout, promotes blood flow to your muscles. This can reduce stiffness, making it easier to sink into the ranges of motion you need to achieve for a successful workout.

Stretching Improves Flexibility

Flexible muscles are healthy muscles. The more flexible your muscles are (assuming you’re not hypermobile), the better they can respond and adapt to the exercises you put them through. This means less pain when squatting to full depth, seamlessly locking out overhead, and no more impingements in the hips, shoulders, or ankles.

Stretching Prevents Injuries

Muscles and joints tear when they’re abruptly pushed past the point at which they can rebound with no damage. The name “torn muscle” didn’t come from nowhere.

If you are participating in any activities that require you to quickly change direction, move heavy weights at fast speeds, or any perform any other powerful motion, you need to stretch on a regular basis. Achieving deep ranges of motion and rebounding from them without injury requires flexible muscles.

Every workout you complete without injury is one workout closer to your fitness goals.

Older man in black shorts and orange shirt stretching in a park
Black african american young man stretching after outdoor jogging

Stretching Helps With Breathing and Nervous System Relaxation

It might seem like your muscles take the brunt of your workouts, but your nervous system also gets taxed with every sweat session. Stretching after a workout provides gentle movement and provides an opportunity to focus on deep breathing, both of which help your nervous system return to a resting state.

Stretching Promotes Blood Flow

Stretching, whether dynamically before a workout or statically after a workout, promotes blood flow to your muscles. This can reduce stiffness, making it easier to sink into the ranges of motion you need to achieve for a successful workout.

Older man in black shorts and orange shirt stretching in a park

Stretching Improves Flexibility

Flexible muscles are healthy muscles. The more flexible your muscles are (assuming you’re not hypermobile), the better they can respond and adapt to the exercises you put them through. This means less pain when squatting to full depth, seamlessly locking out overhead, and no more impingements in the hips, shoulders, or ankles.

Stretching Prevents Injuries

Muscles and joints tear when they’re abruptly pushed past the point at which they can rebound with no damage. The name “torn muscle” didn’t come from nowhere.

If you are participating in any activities that require you to quickly change direction, move heavy weights at fast speeds, or any perform any other powerful motion, you need to stretch on a regular basis. Achieving deep ranges of motion and rebounding from them without injury requires flexible muscles.

Every workout you complete without injury is one workout closer to your fitness goals.

Section

Things to Consider

Things to Consider

There’s a difference between stretching to increase range of motion and stretching for recovery. Stretching for recovery should be painless, while stretching to actively increase ROM should bring you to the point of discomfort (but not pain). Both types of stretching have a place in your routine, but stretching for recovery should happen after workouts, ideally within 15 minutes.

Learn More About Stretching and Workout Recovery

  • How to Heal Muscle Soreness for Runners
  • 5 Ways to Accelerate Post-Workout Recovery
  • 5 Easy Ways to Relieve Muscle Tension

Keys to Recovery

Nutrition

Sleep

Massage

Supplements

Rest

Keys to Recovery

Nutrition

Sleep

Massage

Supplements

Rest