When Should I Stretch?

If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely hate when athletes perform a static stretch before a game or a training session.  I specifically call this out in a previous post titled, "Your Football Coach Is Ruining Your Career".

It is not that I hate static stretching. I just think that most people are doing it at the wrong time.

When is the right time?

Good question.

In this post, I will give you my own personal recipe for success with respect to when and how you should stretch. In addition, I will discuss how to properly activate your muscles before a training session and how to recover afterwards.

Step 1: Preparation / Recovery

When: Before Your Training Session

What: Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

SMR can include rolling on a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, a soft ball, a medicine ball, etc.

In my opinion, its best to get the "knots" out of your muscles before you even begin to try to move around in the gym or on the field.
The best $20 you will ever spend.
Step 2: Stimulate the Nervous System

When: At the Start of Your Training Session

What: Jump Rope

Every session at Advanced Training begins with 3 rounds of 150 touches on the jump rope.

Not only does it help with foot speed, coordination, and power generation, it also helps stimulate the central nervous system and get the blood pumping to your muscles. 

It is only after we have blood pumping to our muscles that we begin the dynamic stretch.

He would have loved Advanced Training

Step 3: Muscle Activation

When: Right after Stimulating the Nervous System

What: Dynamic Warm-Up

After jumping rope, we immediately move into some form of a dynamic warm-up.

The warm-up should last no more than 5 minutes, and it should focus on both mobility and muscle activitation.

Here are videos of the two dynamic warm-ups we are currently performing.

Step 4: Train / Compete

Step 5: Muscle Recovery

When: Right After the Session / Right Before Bed

What: Static Stretch + SMR

Despite my "hating on" the pre-training static stretch, I am a big fan of the Post-Training static stretch.

At Advanced Training, we perform a series a static stretches at the end of every session.

While it is not optimal to perform these stretches immediately after a session, I don't trust anyone enough to believe they will do it later on their own.

If you are well disciplined person, the optimal time to perform your static stretching would be right before bed. If you really want to take it to the next level, couple your late night static stretch with another foam rolling session.


If you follow all 5 of my "ingredients" above, I promise you will have a long, healthy training career.
If you decide to throw "Paint on the Mona Lisa", don't expect a Get Well card from me after your next surgery.

Related Articles:

Stretch to Lose

Your Coach Is Ruining Your Career

The 4 Minute Warm-Up

The 2.5 Minute Warm-Up

Big _____, Big Bench

It started out with a simple phrase ...

"Big Back, Big Bench"

I would say this over and over again as we performed any type of rowing movement - seated rows, chest supported rows, ring inverted rows, db bent over rows, and any other exercise that ended in "rows".

At the time, not many people knew or cared to know about the benefits of rowing. They wanted to bench, bench, and bench some more.

They then wanted to walk onto a football field and use that same motion 1000 times to dominate their opponents.

Rather than talk to them about muscular imbalances and overuse injuries, I simply told them that increased rowing equals increased benching.

And I did this by saying, "Big Back, Big Bench" over and over again each time we lifted.

The Second Generation

As time went on, I came to realize it wasn't only a big back that helped your bench.

I started to notice that the guys with the biggest bench also had some pretty big wrists, forearms, shoulders, and triceps.

(I also noticed that guys who lost weight also lost gains on their bench. 
Even if the weight was as little as 5lbs and even if that weight was all fat, their bench went down.)

As a result, I started saying things like "Big Shoulders, Big Bench" when we did overhead presses and "Big Triceps, Big Bench" when we executed dips.

The Final Generation

Within a couple of months, a few of the guys I trained started to question just how far I would go with this "Big (fill in the blank), Big Bench".

As the People's Coach, I obliged and started to say things like "Big Ankles, Big Bench" just to irritate them.

Not long after, one of the guys (Nick Fugallo) recommended that we got a shirt that said "Big _____, Big Bench."

Again, as the People's Coach, I obliged and created the shirt displayed below on CustomInk.

I have to admit that the combination of the saying, the logo on the back, and the dri-performance texture makes this shirt awesome. 

If anyone would like one, please email me at george@mahoneyadvancedtraining.com.

Don't Steal My Gainz

No matter how much time you spend in the gym, the world will try to steal your gainz the minute you walk out of it.

You think I am crazy?

Here are 5 quick examples.

1. The Guy Who Wants To Snow Blow My Sidewalk

I know you mean well, but I take it as a personal offense when you offer to use your toys to clear my sidewalk.

Grown men don't play with toys.

They pick up shovels and go to work.


Much Respect to this future Toughman Winner

2. The Guy Who Brings in Bagels for his Birthday

Just because it is your birthday, it doesn't mean you get the right to force simple carbohydrates down my throat.

Want me to celebrate your birthday?  Bring this in ...

3. The Guy Who Puts the Heat On in the Car

I take cold showers and wear an ice vest in my house.

Why do you think I would want to drive around with you in a hot car?

You might as tell me it's your birthday and make me eat a dozen bagels.

If you are driving with me, expect these conditions.

4. The Guy Who Takes Food Off My Plate

I will give you the shirt off my back.

I will buy you a second dinner.

But please ... please ... please do not take food off of my plate.

Why should I be short on my caloric intake because you aren't happy with your meal choice?

Be an adult and eat your own food. You made a decision, now deal with it.

It's not gonna happen little guy ...
5. The Last Bit of Protein That Won't Come Out of My Jug

At the bottom of every protein jug, there is about 10g of protein powder that refuses to come out cleanly. 

Despite my attempts to surgically remove it from the jug and place it in my shaker, it usually ends up on my floor and then in my dog's mouth.

Man's best friend? I think not ...

Keep dropping the protein brah ...