I see athletes stretch for massive amounts of time before they start training. Standing there touching their toes in every direction possible for 15 to 20 minutes. Stretching does exactly what you think it does, lengthens muscles. This however is not good before you begin training. Stretching actually reduces the amount of tension or force your muscles can produce. Instead of stretching it is much better to warm your muscles by going through active range of motion movements. For example, when preparing to do a sprint interval, start by progressively increasing the speed of your sprints.
Daily stretching exercises are now being strongly recommended by many health care professionals to help relieve the symptoms of pain. These stretching and strengthening exercises help by taking the pressure off the sciatica nerve and thus relieving some of the pain. Bad posture is one of the leading causes of stress on the spinal column. In addition to the spinal column, stress is placed upon the discs, the muscles, the ligaments, the joints and even the nerves.
Stretching is still important. It should be done after the workout and cool down are completed. The goal of stretching is to maintain a range of motion that allows your body to move in the way it was meant to. So forget about doing splits and test your flexibility by doing a squat. If you can’t hold the bottom position with your feet flat, then you have some work to do.