The Importance of Stretching Before Workout

runner stretching leg - Stretching Before Workout

Working out can be a fun and effective way to improve your health. Whether you’re working out to lose weight, build strength, or improve your cardiovascular fitness, working out can help you reach your goals. However, most people don’t stretch before working out because they don’t know about it or think it is unnecessary and do not do it. What they don’t know is that stretching is just as important as working out.

Working out without stretching is like driving a car without oil in the engine. It is possible, but it is not recommended. It is not only risky but also prevents you from getting into the habit of stretching. If you don’t do stretching before a workout, it can lead to injuries. By incorporating stretching into your exercise routine, you can enjoy even greater benefits, such as below.

What is Stretching?

Before we get into the importance and benefits of stretching before a workout, it is important to know what is stretching first.

In physical health and fitness, stretching means an act of physical exercise where a particular body part is specifically positioned to elongate the muscles and surrounding soft tissues such as fascia, tendons, and ligaments. When this is done regularly, a lot of changes occur, especially within the muscles themselves.

Here are the top reasons why stretching is important before working out.

A. Eliminate Pain

One way to eliminate pain or discomfort is through a regular stretching routine. Muscle tightness, which the majority of us experience, especially with quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors. When these muscles are tight, they are shortened too. This will result in impaired movement patterns and compensation of the other muscles and causes low back pain. Stretching regularly can help prevent this.

B. Improve Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the ability of the joint to move in a full pain-free range of motion. Maintaining flexibility is important, especially as we age. The more flexible a joint is, the less risk of injury there will be, even if you put that joint through small motions. Stretching can help maintain or improve your flexibility and reduce your chance of getting injuries such as tendons or muscle tears.

C. Improve Circulation

During stretching, the blood vessels around your muscles widen, allowing more blood to flow through and improve circulation. Your heart starts pumping more blood while increased oxygen gets delivered to the area, and metabolic waste is removed by muscle contraction.

D. Provides Relaxation

One of the most overlooked reasons for stress is muscle tension. Stretching before a workout can help release this type of tension and lead to relaxation, reducing any physical symptoms linked with being stressed. It could also help people sleep better by reducing mental stimulation common in those who suffer from insomnia, making stretching a natural way to relieve your body from stress.

Top 4 Stretching Tips

An improper stretch can actually cause more harm than good, leading to decreased flexibility and even muscle strains. We’ve outlined the most helpful techniques for you below to prevent any issues.

1. Warm Up First

Before stretching, it is important to warm up cold muscles and tendons first. This can be done by completing a cardiovascular activity such as walking or jogging for about 5 minutes before stretching. The idea behind this is that the muscles will be pliable enough for you to stretch them without any pain or discomfort afterward.

2. Breathing Techniques

Most of the time, we don’t notice that we hold our breath during stretching. This is unproductive because it often results in tightness and resistance. It would be better to breathe slowly and deeply when doing any stretch exercise or program.

3. Be Gentle

It is a common misconception that you need to force your limbs into a stretch for them to be stretched as far as possible. This, however, is not the case. You should slowly ease into a stretch and let your body dictate how far you can go without feeling any pain at all so that there would be no risk of injury

4. Be Consistent

Remember that flexibility is not something that happens overnight; it is a process that requires dedication and patience. You may notice small changes happening after a few weeks, and with time, you will see even more dramatic improvements in your flexibility if you are consistent.

Simple Stretches for Beginners Before Workout

1. Neck Roll

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and both arms relaxed. Put your chin towards your chest, then slowly roll the head in a clockwise motion, counting up to 7 seconds to complete one rotation. Do this 10 times.

Neck Roll

2. Shoulder Roll

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and both arms relaxed. Slowly raise your shoulders, then slowly do it in a clockwise circular motion without bending your elbows. Do this 5 times. Then repeat the process in the opposite direction.

shoulder rolls - start - Stretching Before Workout shoulder rolls - middle - Stretching Before Workout shoulder rolls - end - Stretching Before Workout

3. Standing Hip Rotation

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and both hands on your hips. Then slowly move the hips forward and do a circular motion clockwise 5 times. Bring the hips back to the center and repeat the movement in the opposite direction.

Standing hip rotation 1 Standing hip rotation 2

4. Ankle roll

Stand with your left foot on the ground while the right foot is slightly raised. Roll your right foot clockwise for 10 rotations, then do counterclockwise. Repeat on your left foot.

Ankle roll 1 Ankle roll 2

5. Child’s Pose

Kneel on all fours with your toes pointed back. Then slowly sit back against the heels, push the buttocks back and lower the chest while sliding the arms forward. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Do this 3 times.

Child’s Pose


Stretching is a great exercise, whether incorporated in a full-body workout or just doing it for five minutes every day. It improves both your physical and mental health. Try different stretching exercises from time to time to see what works best for you! If you have any particular condition, injury, or concern, try consulting with an expert (doctor or therapist) who can offer the best suggestion suited specifically to your needs.

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