Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific skeletal muscle (or muscle group) is intentionally stretched. It is recommended that after a workout to do a gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility and range of motion.

There are many theories and practices when it comes to stretching. Even though many experts recommend that you stretch after training, studies have been increasingly clear that static stretching alone before exercise is not recommended. In a study from 2008, conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well. Probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.

“There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” says Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching.