Stretching and Mobility
There are lots of different techniques of stretching; am going to discuss static, dynamic and long held poses.
Stretching "the application of force to musculotendinous structures in order to achieve a change in their length, usually for the purposes of improving joint range of motion, reducing stiffness or soreness, or preparing for an activity.” (Armiger P and Martyn MA. Stretching for Functional Flexibility. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010)
Benefit of Static Stretching
Static stretches show benefits to the muscle-tendon unit and reduced neural excitability which increase flexbility
Static stretching increases parasympathetic nervous system which is the activity nervous system that promotes relaxation of the whole body.
After Static Stretches there is an increasing blood flow, oxygenation and velocity of red blood cell to muscles
There a large debate regarding warm up and static stretches. Static stretches were always part of a warm up but growing research suggest that pre exercise static stretches can reduce force production, power output, running speed, reaction time and strength endurance.
Now when you are a top athlete this would very much make the difference on your performance but as people that enjoy sport/exercise if you did a static quad stretch before a workout and sure you will still feel some benefit.
But if you do static stretches before exercise then why not try instead the movement of the stretch instead, not holding for 15 - 20secs but moving through the movement. See if that stiffness, tightness reduces.
The principles of a warm up should be warming up the body (dynamic), and preparing for exercise
Static stretches still have their place but I would suggest after a work out, as part of your cool down.
Dynamic Stretches (Movement Stretches)
A warm up is taking your body through range of motion preparing the body for exercise ahead.
Ideally we should be doing a warm up which includes warming up the body, increasing heart rate, core temperature. dynamic stretching (movement stretches) and sports specific exercises
For example if you are going to the gym to do weights......