August 30, 2017

 

Stretching is a very important part of our training. A saying I once heard goes along the lines of, “a long muscle is a strong muscle”, my interpretation of this is, a muscle with great flexibility has far less chance of injury. A shorter muscle is more likely to tear if put in a compromising position, and Inflexible muscles can lead to injury of surrounding muscles and can cause imbalances through reduced range of motion.

 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the two different types of stretching, and when each is best applied.



Static Stretching

This is the traditional style of stretching we all recognise. Holding a stretch in a ‘static’ position for an amount of time, usually around 30-60 seconds, allowing the muscle to relax and elongate over the time period.

This type of stretching should be done post workout or on its own. If you are looking to do a stretch session on its own, it is advised to do a small warm up beforehand, as static stretching does not warm up your muscles. Some of the benefits of include;

Long term increase in flexibility and joint range of motion

Can help correct muscular and movement imbalances

Can help clear with clearing toxins from the muscles and reduce soreness

This type of stretching is not suitable before training, as mentioned before, it doesn’t actually warm you up. The main reason to save it for after training is that static stretching, elongating and relaxing a muscle before putting it to work can increase instability in joints and cause muscles to be weaker during your workout, decreasing performance and increasing the chance of injury.



Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is the process of repetitively putting a muscle/joint through a range of motion, increasing the range as you go. An example of this would be swinging your leg back and forward, increasing the height of your swing in each direction over the duration.

This type of stretching is great pre workout as you are increasing heart rate and blood flow, getting synovial fluid flowing in your joints, you are also increasing your range of motion, and increasing nerve impulses before you start training.

With this type of stretching you have to remember there is a chance of injury, so start slowly and increase your range of motion as you feel the muscles warming up.


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