Ask The Trainer: How to properly stretch

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What you learned in gym class as a kid may have been wrong. Turns out stretching before you workout isn’t necessarily a good idea. At least not the kind of stretches you learned as a kid.

There are two types of stretching. One is called static stretching, the other; dynamic. Both are good, but have to be done in the right order.

Gone are the days of holding a stretch in a fixed position before you break a sweat. Now it’s all about moving and warming up your muscles before you tackle weights, cardio or even a sport.

“The philosophy about stretching has really changed the last couple years,” said trainer Doug Quinlivan. “More than anything it’s kind of a warming up of the muscles and a loosening up the joints and the connective tissue.”

From trunk circles to arm circles and leg swings, Doug at Ascent Fitness  says stretching should prepare you for the activity you’re about to do. “It feels so good and anytime you do it and then workout you’ll notice a huge difference.”

But, that doesn’t mean you should skip the old static stretches. You just need to save them for after your workout. “Doing those types of static stretches prior to exercise actually makes you more prone to getting injured,” said Doug.

Victoria Buckingham has been working out with Doug for a few months. She says until she started being vigilant with her post-workout stretches, she was really sore after lifting. “He has me in a training program that I did not believe I was capable of doing,” she said.  “I have got to stretch.”

And she takes her time. “It’s the minute that’s the magic,” Victoria added.

Doug says the hardest part is carving out time to actually do it, but it’s key top your health.  “Stretching is as important as exercise,” said Doug.

If you have a question for Doug, email

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