How important is stretching?Joseph Trotter
Very important! One’s flexibility is defined as the extensibility between two joints, allowing for range of motion. What is most important, when looking at stretching, is the type of stretch being utilized along with the timing and placement of the specific stretch.
For example, before a chest workout we would want to incorporate a dynamic chest stretch to lengthen the chest muscles, increase core temperature, thin synovial fluids in the joints, and prime the nervous system.
A set or two of pushups, with a pause at the bottom of the movement, is a perfect example of how to achieve this. The biggest mistake I see people making is incorporating static stretches (holding a stretch for 30 seconds or longer) before training the specific muscle.
This action will desensitize the nervous system and will decrease strength. It also throws off a person's proprioception (where the muscle is in time and space) increasing the chance of injury.