There’s a lot of myths and confusion out there these days regarding stretching, with a lot of recent research suggesting that stretching should now be considered irrelevant. In order to be effective, the right form of stretching needs to be performed at the correct time. With this article I’m going to set you straight on the different types of stretching and why it’s an essential part of everyone’s routine, sports and non-sports people alike!
It’s important to point out from the start that there are two accepted forms of stretching: Static Stretching & Dynamic Stretching.
This is the stretching with which we’re all familiar – stretching muscles while the body is motionless. The muscles in our body are attached to our bones through our tendons. These muscle-tendon units are what we are stretching when we perform static stretches. Static Stretching is useful in increasing the length of these muscle-tendon units, particularly in people who do not stretch often and who get stiff.
Static stretching has now been shown to have little effect if only performed immediately before sport or exercising. It also does not significantly reduce the risk of sustaining an injury during the subsequent sporting activity. Static Stretching is, however, very effective when you make it part of your regular routine – this can increase the length of your muscle-tendon units and the flexibility of your joints for the long term.
If you’re having trouble incorporating Static Stretching regularly into your routine, or want to know the right type of stretches to be doing, why not join us for a Stretching & Posture Class – click here for more info.
This is stretching that involves purposeful movement of the body’s muscles. For example, dynamic stretching of your quadriceps muscle group (the muscle group on the front of your thigh) involves repeated straightening of your knee from a fully flexed position.
This form of stretching is less effective at increasing muscle-tendon length long-term, but is quite effective at warming and loosening up cold muscles immediately before exercise. Dynamic Stretching performed immediately before exercise is much more effective at preventing injury than Static Stretching, and you’re likely to perform better as well.
Stretching & Posture Classes
Our Stretching & Posture classes incorporate all the static stretches you need in your weekly routine to keep your back, hips, neck, shoulder, knees and ankles loose and flexible. It also helps to relieve stress and tension as well as reduce the build up of lactic acid. For a schedule of our classes, click here.
- Dynamic Stretching immediately before exercise to reduce injury!
- Static Stretching the day after exercise to help squeeze out lactic acid!
- Static Stretching a couple of days per week for great long term benefits!
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Seán Flynn is the Senior Physiotherapist with Flynn Medical Exercise, and takes patients in their Sandyford clinic. For more information on taking part in our Stretching & Posture classes, why not give us a call? PH: 0861546175