Back when I was in grade school—wearing my split shorts, knee-high sports socks, and participating in the mandatory track events to earn a scrap of satin in the form of a participation ribbon—stretching was a ritual that we all performed before the main event. Back then we were all programmed to believe we absolutely had to stretch our muscles before exerting them if we wanted to avoid things like the dreaded groin pull.
Times have changed. And luckily, so have gym uniforms.
These days there are many studies that caution us away from stretching before workouts. According to the research, not only does our performance suffer (less strength, less speed, and less power) but it also does not protect us against injury (even the dreaded groin pull).