The short and sweet answer is no. There is a ton of published research stretching over the last twenty years, and not one study of note concludes that static stretching is helpful to producing maximum force or torque in a workout. Most studies actually support the idea that static stretching, since it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, is counter-productive to the strength training process, because parasympathetic nervous system stimulation relaxes the body.
There are eight methods of improving flexibility that I can think of off the top of my head that do not stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Some of them are better than others in specific situations. Three of my favorites are CRAC- (Contract Relax, Agonist Contract) type stretching, ballistic stretching, and acupuncture techniques to create a short-term change in the length-tension relationship of muscles. As such, I see no reason to use static stretching immediately prior to training except in a few specific circumstances.
Static stretching is most useful for creating permanent gains in flexibility. If you want or need to improve your flexibility using static stretching, the best time is two or more hours prior to the workout, or four hours or more after it.
Pre-workout, you should be concerned with making sure that you have all of the flexibility that is immediately available to you through active means. All active means of stretching stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
Continue reading about the reasons to static stretch a client before a workout.
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