Stretching Shortcuts 3 - Static or Dynamic? Pre or Post Workout?
 
I believe that when you stretch is not as important as how you stretch. If you are putting the previous two Stretching Shortcuts into effect, but the only time you can stretch is in the morning then keep that up! There is, again, much confusion about when you should stretch and whether or not it should be part of the warm up.
 
(1)The Warm Up
This should be exactly what it says on the tin. If you have been sitting at a desk or in a car all day, the best warm up in a brisk walk or a row for about 5 minutes. This increases circulation and raises heart rate which prepares your body for work. You should progress gently through full body exercises which dynamically open up the hips and shoulders… for example slow bear crawls, inch worms, lunges and over head squats. But don’t be tempted to try to do the full movement immediately. If you are lunging or squatting, only move half-way, in the bear crawls or inch worms, just move your feet half way to your hands. Repeat each movement three-five times, going a bit further each time, until you can comfortably reach full depth. I would steer away from static stretching in the warm up, but you could do the stretches dynamically, holding for a maximum of 3 seconds and repeating 10 times.
 
(2)Between Exercises
Similar to the warm up, between exercises and during your workout you want to stay warm and prepared. Again, dynamic stretching is preferable to static as it keeps your body thinking about movement. When you are squatting you don’t want to sit at the bottom of the squat, instead you want to reach full depth and then be able to quickly pop out of the bottom. So dont practice sitting at the bottom of the squat for a few minutes before  you squat. This can switch off your deep stabilisers (because we often collapse into the bottom of a squat when we warm up, rather than imagining we have weight on our back) and doesn’t encourage your body to think about coming back up out of the squat.
 
(3)Post-Workout
This is the best time to practice your static, full body stretches. Your muscles are warm and so most responsive to being stretched. Unfortunately this is often the time we are laid out on the floor panting after the WOD, chatting to our friends, or rushing off home. Ideally spending 10 minutes after your warm up to stretch, ideally 4 times a week will work wonders for your mobility.

For video tutorials of my favourite stretches, have a look at my YouTube Channel