NY Times Advocates stretching prior to exercises. There are better regimens you should consider
The NY Times reported in their article The Right Reasons to Stretch Before Exercise by Gretchen Reynolds, that although many articles show little or no benefit to stretching prior to exercise, there are some benefits. Check out her article here
I would disagree because functionally, stretching muscles does not improve its function. Muscular tissue and regions of the body tighten because of the myofascia. This is described at length in both Thomas Myers book on Anatomy Trains or in the consumer book Cheating Mother Nature, What you need to know to beat chronic pain (available through Amazon.com), The Fibromyalgia Myth Factory and a $3 Million Dollar Reward beginning pg 65.
It is the myofascia that is shortened, rather than the muscle, which cannot be stretched. Myofascia is connective tissue that surrounds all the muscles and tissues in the body. If that is the truth, how can stretching be of benefit?
Foam rollers, on the other hand can be quite helpful, because it releases fascial adhesions and improves function prior to exercise. In other words, it is a crude form of myofascial release that is effective as a pre exercise regimen to loosen tight muscular regions. You can purchase an inexpensive foam roller through Target for about $20. The good news is it comes with a video and everything you will need.
Stretching should be done lightly after exercise. Stretching after exercise works because tissues that are healing after exercise need tension on them to heal with good flexibility.
To summarize: Foam roll before you work out if needed, then mild stretching after the workout.
Let me know what you think? As always, I value your opinion