This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 6:00am Studies show that the best time to do lower body static stretches is after the completion of fitness and training sessions. Whether you just love to workout or are an athlete, recent research explains that static stretching before workouts weakens the very muscles needed for power. Running, cycling, plyometrics, tennis, basketball, rowing, the elliptical, surfing, trekking, soccer and football for instance, all require strong and/or fast leg work to generate the force necessary for peak performance. Power originates at the core, which then passes the energy to the limbs for explosive results. The heavy work occurs when our leg muscles kick in by contracting to activate the force needed to move. Static stretches tire muscles and make them less able to store energy so that they may snap to action. Prior to workouts, static stretching can also make muscles more prone to injury. According to Kieran O’Sullivan, an exercise expert at the University of Limerick in Ireland, “When you stretch before exercising, your body may think it’s at risk of being overstretched. It compensates by contracting and becoming more tense. That means you aren’t able to move as fast or as freely, making you more likely to get hurt.” Additionally, static stretches may impair balance and joint stability, both of which are critical for high-level performance. The general consensus today is to stretch after training unless we do light dynamic stretching, which warms the muscles up. It is however, extremely important to stretch the lower body after a workout or sport. A post athletic tune-up that opens the hamstrings, knees, calves, and Achilles increases flexibility, which can enhance performance and prevent injury. Below are a few simple yoga postures you can do after workouts and training. For complete progressive online 10-30 minute yoga classes and individual pose instruction on video with me as your teacher, join the JWM now here!