Available research is inconclusive regarding the optimal time to stretch. In addition, strong evidence is lacking with regard to the beneficial effects associated with pre-exercise stretching (e.g., injury prevention or enhanced athletic performance). In fact, research exists to suggest that stretching prior to an athletic activity may decrease power output resulting in diminished physical performance. Some individuals incorporate stretching at the end of the warm-up period, however this practice can be somewhat counterproductive since stretching during the conclusion of the warm-up will cause a drop in heart rate prior to the start of the conditioning segment of the workout session. Consequently, the most appropriate time to stretch tends to be at the end of a workout session. Stretching at the end as part of the cool-down segment is recommended because it is safer and more effective to stretch muscles that are properly warmed and, therefore, more pliable. Also, it will help to further facilitate post-workout recovery.
Cedric X. BryantHealth and Fitness Expert
As President and Chief Science Officer, Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, stewards ACE's development of strategies to deliver exercise-science and behavior-change education in ways that are engaging and compelling, recruiting more people to become exercise professionals and health coaches and equipping them for growth in their respective fields. He's responsible for driving innovation in the area of behavior-change programming, overseeing the development of programs that ACE-Certified Professionals® can utilize to help people adopt and sustain healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, he leads ACE's exploration of how science-based programs and interventions appropriately integrate into healthcare and public health. Dr. Bryant represents ACE as a national and international presenter, writer and subject-matter expert, and highly sought-after media spokesperson. He earned both his doctorate in physiology and master's degree in exercise science from Pennsylvania State University, where he received the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the school's highest alumni honor that is given to select alumni who are considered leaders in their professional fields.