Nick, I am confused about stretching and weight training. I see some personal trainers telling their clients to stretch before their workouts, but I know that you and your personal training team don’t advocate this at all. When should I stretch, and would stretching help with the sore legs that I seem to get on my new weight training regime?
Stretching – should be done 4-6 hours after you train / in the evening as it will help you to relax and sleep.
Stretching immediately after a workout can damage muscles as it will lay down scar tissue along the line of the stretch ( muscles being far more susceptible to this following the necessary trauma of heavy resistance training). We have already discussed the negative impact of stretching prior to a workout (it relaxes you – not good before a hard weights session / relaxes tendons and ligaments making them more susceptible to injury when placed under high tension from heavy loads). One thing to bear in mind is that stretching does NOT alleviate post workout soreness. The truth is that the only thing that sorts this out is that is consistent training, and the only thing that helps is what is called “active recovery” – so in the case of your legs a 20 minute fast walk would have been the optimal strategy to reduce soreness.
Virtually every single one of my personal training clients, and virtually every single one of my personal trainers (including myself) do not stretch enough. All that it takes is 10 minutes at home, laying out and stretching in front of the TV as you wind down at the end of the day. We have no excuse and trust me, your body will feel and perform better because of it.