Pre-Workout Stretches | Stretch Before or After Workout? | IMPACT Physical Therapy

Important Pre-Workout Stretches

Soccer Players Stretching Before a Game

Dynamic stretches before a workout raise the temperature of your muscles and prepare them for intense movement and load-bearing. Dynamic stretches—as opposed to the static stretches that you may be more familiar with—involve taking your muscles through their full range of motion. Setting aside just 5 to 10 minutes for pre-workout stretches will help you to avoid injury, and may even boost speed, agility, and power during your workout!

Should You Stretch Before a Workout or After?

Pre-workout stretches and post-workout stretches are equally important. For most people, only performing stretches before a workout isn’t enough. For preventing injuries, it’s much more effective to bookend your workout with dynamic pre-workout stretches and static post-workout stretches.

As mentioned above, dynamic pre-workout stretches are great for warming up your muscles and preparing them for movement. Once you have completed your workout, your muscles will be warm for about 30 to 40 minutes, so take advantage of this time to perform 10 minutes of static stretches. This will regulate blood flow and break up lactic acid accumulated in your muscles during exercise.

5 Easy Dynamic Stretches for Before Your Workout


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
  • Squat down by engaging your core, bending at the knee, and pushing your hips back. Keep your chest up and hold your hands out straight in front of you.
  • Continue squatting down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Standing Toe Taps

  • Stand straight, feet aligned with your hips.
  • Extend your arm straight in front of you.
  • Keeping your legs straight, raise the leg on the same side up until your toe taps your hand.
  • Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.

Arm circles

  • Stand straight, feet aligned with your shoulders.
  • Extend both arms straight out to the side, parallel to the floor.
  • Move your arms forward in small circles, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
  • When you feel a stretch in your triceps, stop and circle in the reverse direction.

Hip Circles

  • Stand straight, feet aligned with your shoulders.
  • Place your hands on the hips and bend your knees slightly.
  • Slowly rotate your hips, making big circles.
  • Do a set in one direction and another set in the opposite direction.

High Knees

  • Stand straight, feet aligned with your hips.
  • Keeping your back straight, lift one knee to your chest and then lower it.
  • Lift your other leg to your chest and lower it.
  • Continue switching from leg to leg, keeping up a jogging or sprinting pace.

Boost Performance and Prevent Injury with Physical Therapy

Questions about what muscles you should stretch before a workout? Need help resolving persistent sore or stiff muscles? A licensed physical therapist can create a customized regimen of stretches, specially designed to improve athletic performance and keep you moving for years to come. Find a location near you and schedule an appointment to learn more!