We all know that you're supposed to get in a good, long stretch before a workout, right? Unfortunately most of our commonly held beliefs regarding stretching are dead wrong, according to the New York Times—at least in the way you may be doing it.
Researchers believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes' warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds—known as static stretching—primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them.
But with static stretching out the door, how do you warm up your muscles before a workout without damaging them?
According to the article:
THE RIGHT WARM-UP should do two things: loosen muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body.
To do this, they suggest starting with a light warm-up jog to raise your body's temperature. Make sure to keep it light, and to do it immediately before you plan on a more intense workout.
After you've warmed up, the article suggests ditching your static stretches for more dynamic stretches, like lunges, leg kicks, or the "Spider-Man"—a drill in which you "drop onto all fours and crawl the width of the court, as if you were climbing a wall." Whether you're an occasional exerciser or a fitness freak, check the article for more detailed options on how to warm up in a healthy manner.