There is a lot of information out there on the importance of stretching when working out. The benefits are plentiful such as increased flexibility, reducing post workout soreness and reducing stress, to name a few. Knowing when and how to stretch is important though, in order to get the benefits and avoid injuries. Whether you stretch at the beginning, the middle or after a workout you will get some benefit. If you are able to do all three, that is the best. Some people think stretching before a workout is not a good idea, however experts agree it can be done safely if you are very mindful of the way you stretch, starting gently, moving gradually into the stretch. If you can though, it's preferable to warm up before stretching. Riding a stationary bike, walking on a treadmill for 5-7 minutes or the equivalent is a good way to prepare your body for a pre-workout stretch. Stretching during a long workout is also a good idea. Between sets do some gentle stretching to keep those muscles loose and flexible. And don't forget to stretch after your workout. Five minutes of stretches on the major muscles will give you great benefits. Don't rush it, remember your workout isn't over until you stretch. Stretching the right way is just as important. When you stretch, the movement should be slow and easy, holding each stretch for 30 - 40 seconds. It's important not to bounce. Focus on the muscle you are stretching and do a gradual stretch. Do not stretch to the point of pain. When you stretch correctly it feels good, if you are feeling pain - you've gone too far, stop. Remember stretching is natural and is something that's good to do throughout the day as well as when you work out. Stretch - it does a body good.