Stretching after strength training - does it make sense?

For several years there has been controversy about whether flexibility training through a stretching routine is suitable for strength athletes. Critics of stretching exercises argue that stretching after training can reduce muscle growth and affect athletic performance.

Proponents see stretching after strength training as an important element in keeping the body fit as a whole. What are the benefits of stretching after muscle training ? We have looked at the topic from all sides and summarize the main results in this article.

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What is stretching and stretching after strength training all about?

There are already some misconceptions about what stretches are. Some people assume that this involves lengthening a muscle. However, muscle lengthening is not anatomically possible. With a stretching process - also known as stretching in Anglo-Saxon usage - a muscle is stressed to its full length.

This reduces muscle tension. This effect is particularly interesting in connection with strength training. Strength training regularly leads to an increase in muscle tension (muscle tone). If this tension continues unabated for a long period of time, an effect known as muscle shortening occurs.

Even then, the muscle doesn't actually shorten. It no longer unfolds its entire length because the tension is so high. Shortened muscles have a negative effect on the entire condition of the body. Our fitness and thus also our well-being can decrease.

5 basics of physical fitness

Enthusiastic strength athletes, but also fans of intensive endurance training , often underestimate the fact that our physical performance potential does not only depend on strength and not only on endurance.

5 factors influence it:

  • Power
  • Endurance
  • speed
  • agility
  • coordination

The condition of the muscles in terms of muscle tension primarily affects mobility. A lack of mobility puts a strain on us in everyday life. It is not clear scientifically whether it also makes us more susceptible to injury. There is evidence of a positive effect of stretching, especially for muscle strains and ligament injuries .

Aminosäuren zur Unterstützung Ihrer Gesundheit

Stretching and range of motion

Anyone who stretches does something for their mobility. This usually has a direct impact on our well-being. Feeling flexible and supple makes everyday movements easier . Without sufficient mobility, there is no subjective feeling of health and fitness. Therefore, you should not neglect this area.

As we get older, movements become more difficult and we feel stiffer. One of the reasons for this is that our mobility decreases because we don't train it enough. Regardless of strength training, stretching is especially important to keep us feeling young and comfortable. We often underestimate this factor.

From this perspective, there is a lot to be said for including stretching as an integral, regular component of a personal training program.

Fascia and mobility

The fascia also benefits from stretching. These are connective tissue fibers. Among other things, they surround our muscles and organs. They also form a sliding layer between various elements of our anatomy. Tense fascia is a common cause of musculoskeletal pain. Stretching processes can have a positive effect on fascia.

This also supports our general mobility. It can help prevent pain. The importance of fascia has only been recognized in recent years. There is still a need for some research here. Doctors and sports scientists assume that the condition of connective tissue has an impact on our well-being and health .

Aminosäuren zur Unterstützung Ihrer Gesundheit

Stretching after strength training: Can it prevent muscle soreness?

We note in an interim result that the stretches can have a positive effect on our mobility and the condition of the connective tissue . Scientific data also suggests that muscle strains and ligament injuries can be prevented. If we can move well, we feel good.

Can stretching after muscle training or after running also prevent muscle soreness?

Muscle soreness is a stretching pain caused by fiber damage to the muscles. Heavy strain causes micro-injuries in the muscle that are painful. It has long been believed that targeted stretching can counteract muscle soreness . Many athletes today still claim that light stretches help relieve existing muscle soreness. Scientific data cannot support this approach.

There is evidence that stretching cannot prevent or relieve muscle soreness .


When people feel better after stretching, they often attribute it to increased self-efficacy. In this context, self-efficacy means that someone feels better because they actively influence a certain event or certain symptoms. Stretching is an activity and can therefore increase well-being in this area. Even when doing strength training without equipment, many athletes appreciate stretching afterwards .

Are there any known negative effects?

Stretching can have a damaging effect on acute injuries . This certainly applies to very active, aggressive forms of stretching . Scientific studies also indicate that stretching can reduce muscular performance. However, it should be taken into account that the study mainly involved stretching movements before training.

Whether stretching hinders muscle growth has not yet been clearly scientifically proven. There is evidence of this.

We've talked about stretching in general so far. We have not yet gone into the different types of these movements. How intense a stretching process is depends on various factors. Among other things, it also depends on whether it is an active or passive stretching process.

There are also dynamic and static processes in stretching . Before we take a closer look at the differences, we would like to emphasize how important correct execution is when stretching. These should never be aggressive, hard movements. This also applies in the dynamic form. Pain is not part of stretching.

Some principles can be clearly understood in this video :

The 4 types of stretching

We differentiate between 4 types of stretching.

The movement can...

  • be active-static . This is known, for example, from yoga, where you actively hold a position.
  • be carried out actively and dynamically . For example, you swing an arm or a leg.
  • be passive-static . A classic exercise here is stretching the calf muscles while standing.
  • be carried out passively-dynamically . For such movements, an assistant such as a sports therapist is involved, who brings the athlete into a position.

It is questionable whether we can speak of stretching exercises as typical exercises. The stretch varies depending on which parts of the anatomy and which muscles in particular are to be targeted. In order to compensate for training-related, one-sided stress , the stretching must be aligned with the previously stressed muscles.

Different basic exercises are required after running training than after strength training. Anyone who has done intensive abdominal muscle training also stretches in a special way. Shoulder exercises also require appropriate special stretching processes . On the one hand, stretching can be based on the previous training stress.

We can also combine separate training sessions with stretching for the entire body. Then stretching is an independent part of our training program that we do, for example, during breaks in training.

Why is stretching part of a muscle building training plan?

Flexibility training is an essential part of holistic body training. We shouldn't view strength training independently of our entire anatomy. A stretching routine is therefore essential. Intensive strength training balances out one-sided tension because the muscle tone relaxes every now and then.

Post-stretching is part of strength training, endurance training and other types of training. Separate training sessions for stretching, which you supplement with smaller stretching elements after your training, can be ideal.

It is also advisable not to make the training load through weight training one-sided. This means that when we do our strength exercises, we also put the opposite muscles under strain one after the other. For example, if we perform shoulder exercises that train us to bend forward, we complete an exercise with a backward bend.

Our training plan for building muscle should be structured systematically. This also allows us to achieve certain stretching processes in the muscles .

Yoga and Pilates use various stretching processes in almost all exercises. The different types of stretching are also combined . The many positive effects of a yoga routine are well known.

Whenever you exercise, remember to supply your muscles with “ building material ”. Essential amino acids play a key role in the regeneration of your muscles. A nutritional supplement with additional amino acids can also be considered if you train intensively.

Aminosäuren zur Unterstützung Ihrer Gesundheit

Conclusion: Stretching after strength training

As critical as stretching has been in recent years, the benefits outweigh the benefits for most strength athletes. Training-related injuries , such as muscle strains, appear to be preventable through stretching.

Even if, according to current knowledge, stretching does not have a positive effect on stretching pain (muscle soreness), many people subjectively find gentle stretching to be relieving. The gentle stretching also has a positive effect on the fascia. Athletes who only do strength training alongside their actual sport also benefit from stretching.

This applies, for example, to strength training for runners . Strength training for children should also be accompanied by gentle stretches, as the development of mobility is particularly important here. Stretching remains a legitimate part of regular exercise. It deserves more attention than many athletes have given it so far.

Anyone approaching middle to older age is likely to benefit even more from stretching . Being agile means being young for longer. The next abdominal muscle training, the next strength training for runners are waiting - the stretching afterwards too.

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