If you usually skip stretching, think again. Stretching can not only prevent muscle tears and other injuries, but it also increases flexibility—vital for any athlete. It also promotes blood flow and circulation to the muscles, prepping them for being broken down during training.
Avoid static stretching—the most common type of stretching—before beginning exercise, because it can actually have negative effects, such as fatigue and decreased coordination. Instead, try a dynamic warm-up routine first, incorporating active and continuous movements such as hops, bounds, skips and jogs. Then, post-workout, incorporate static stretching.
Helpful STACK content on this topic includes Dynamic Warm-ups vs. Static Stretching, 8 Stretching Mistakes and Get Hip with Flexibility—with Peyton Manning.
Make sure to hit each of these areas:
For runners especially, don't forget the IT Bands along the outside of your legs (Click here to see how to stretch them!).
Or try the Spider-Man Stretch to get a full-body stretch.