Stretching has a direct correlation to injuries in weight training. Performing static stretching before a workout not only leads to injury prone muscles but weaker muscles. Want to be weaker before strength training, just stretch.
Stretching the muscles that are to be worked out is a no-no. Stretching in between sets is okay only if you do so with the antagonist (opposite) muscle group. For example if you are training your Quadriceps, stretching hamstrings in between sets will result in stronger quads for your workout. So simply put, never stretch the muscle currently being trained, stretch the opposing one. A good one is to stretch your Pecs when you train your back. Do that in between sets and you will be stronger, it’s amazing.
A very personal story on stretching and how it adversely affected me is “the day of change” as I call it. Without this day I wouldn’t be where I am today in terms of studying and expanding knowledgeable practices in strength training. I now stop stretching completely. I tore my Pec on October 24, 2005. I attribute my pec tear to stretching before a light to moderate set. The poundage was a womanly 235 lbs. but I made the egregious error of stretching seconds before getting under the bar. I was flowing the poundage with ease. Perhaps my mind wandered midway through the set now that I look back on it. I had just completed my sixth rep and as I lowered the bar and surged upward for my seventh repetition the last thing I expected in life happened. I felt the “pop” and what scares me to this day is that I heard the “pop” and that audible terror was followed with the terrible sensation of my muscle tearing away. I was in total shock. But oddly enough numbness and heat were the only immediate affects. Shock was so strong I actually pushed for the eighth rep. After I racked the bar, tingling took over my arm, especially in the bicep region, and extreme warmth took over my pectoral muscle. I was distraught, I knew that I did a number on myself, I knew I tore my pec.
I actually felt like crying, not because of discomfort or pain but because of the disappointment. I couldn’t believe that I would never be the same. But in actuality: the way I do things would never be the same, but for the better. To be honest more details to this story exist…I think a bike accident a week prior to the Pec Tear contributed to the tear occurring. A series of calamities so to speak. My pec was torn while I trained on vacation in Tampa, Florida.
I plan on revealing more details, but for now…STOP STRETCHING!