Should you stretch before you workout?  Back in grade school, before soccer games we ran around the field and then as a team performed a series of static stretches yelling out “ONE, TWO, THREE…” all the way up to 10 and then “SWITCH.”

This is no longer what is recommended to prevent injury.  In fact many studies have said that stretching before a workout does not do anything to prevent injury!

Dynamic exercise for athletes was then proposed as the way to go.  Then another study said if you don’t regularly stretch before a workout, don’t start.  If you do, continue.  It’s the switching up of your routine that actually causes injury.  At this point, I’m confused but I know what works for me.  I like to do 2 things.

When I go running, I warm up with a light jog for 5 minutes and then do a series of stretches as seen below.

When I do my strength training, I warm up using a foam roller.

Then I perform a series of dynamic stretches. When I went to visit Joe Dowdell at Peak Performance I was taught “The World’s Greatest Stretch.” Yes, that is the name of it and I am now a firm believer that it is in fact the world’s greatest stretch.

I do this exercise 5 times on each side and it prepares my body for the work that I am about to do. It activates my muscles and feels amazing. Who doesn’t like feeling limber and flexible. If you do one stretch before you exercise, I suggest doing this one!

Do you stretch before you workout?

PS I had the most amazing experience this morning.  As I walked to the gym, I saw a group of guys hanging outside Equinox who looked a little other side of the tracks/gang like at first glance.  Not a big deal, I live in a city but when I got closer, I realized it was one of my biggest Hollywood crushes of all time, MARK WAHLBERG, wearing an oversized red hoodie with the hood up.  Swooon.  My day, week, year is complete.   Sorry for bragging but I had to share with someone!  He and Mila Kunis have been working out at my gym while filming in town.  It’s been good motivation to get to the gym in the AM but I had yet to see Mark until this am.

The World’s Greatest Stretch

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  • Jill is Active

    Thanks for the stretches and foam rolling video. I definitely want to incorporate The World’s Greatest and foam rolling into my routine.

    Omg that’s amazing! Mark Wahlberg is for sure my #1 actor. I’m planning to move back to Boston in a few months — apparently I need to come sooner! 🙂

  • Tiffany

    When I first started running (in February), I didn’t stretch. I warmed up with a brisk walk and did not suffer injury at all. When I joined my running group, I stretched because I saw other people stretch. I’m not sure if that’s why I went for a couple weeks with stiff hips/lower back or not. But after reading this and other articles recently, I’m going to go back to warming up with my walks and stretching afterwards since I haven’t been doing it for that long.

  • Matt

    Hey Sarah, Love the fitness website and videos. I just got hired as a trainer at Equinox on dartmouth st and start in three weeks. I’m sure I will see you there!


  • Lindsay

    I am terrible for stretching, if someone is not doing it with me I just weaksauce it up. Never though to use a foam roller! Will certainly be looking into that! I am just coming back of an injury, re-irritated my hamstring, such an unforgiving muscle! Thanks for all your tips and tricks! Simply an amazing site!

  • Kyle


    I just came across your site today. Very cool. I too do “The World’s Greatest Stretch” before I work out. I first saw it in the November 2010 edition of Men’s Health magazine where they call it “The Microwave”. No matter what you call it, it’s a great warmup and I try to pass it on to everyone I work out with.

  • Krishna

    Thanks for posting this, Sarah! i find “The World’s Greatest Stretch” similar to the sun salutations in Yoga, but with nice embellishments.

  • samantha bullock

    I also remember being taught in grade school the importance of stretching before playing any kind of sports. I guess that stuck to me since I always do stretches right before running or whenever I attend Australian Les Mills Classes Adelaide at Paragon Fitness. Thanks for the videos, they are awesome! I’ll remember to give them a try.

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