Are you wondering if you are stretching the right way before your workout? There are plenty of ways to loosen up and improve your flexibility, and we here at painPRO want to make sure that you are doing it right. Here’s how you can practice effective stretching in your routine.
Stretching involves moving joints through their range of motion in order to elongate the stretched muscle and improve range of motion around that joint. Stretching can be useful before, after, or separately from a workout. It increases flexibility, improves range of motion or mobility, and can even lessen Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) following a workout. There are several types of stretching, each with their own benefits and methods.
Static stretching is when one moves into a position where they feel a stretch in their muscles, and holds it without moving for a certain duration of time (usually 30-60 seconds). Holding the stretch for this amount of time allows time for the muscle to relax and elongate. Because of this, static stretching can temporarily improve flexibility in one session.
Static stretching is also safe provided you only move into a light stretch (30-40% stretch). The stretch should not be felt very intensely. A common misconception is that static stretching impairs athletic performance by decreasing muscle strength and power. Several studies have indicated that there is actually no such effect, so static stretching can definitely be used before a workout!
Dynamic stretching involves controlled movement through the range of motion, and does not involve holding a stretch, unlike static stretching. These stretches are usually more functional – they mimic movements that would either be done during an activity you’re warming up for so that you can be better prepared to exercise. They can also be used during daily life to relieve stiffness or muscle tension, and are a good way to get your body moving. A simple example of dynamic stretching is doing bodyweight lunges.
Ballistic stretching involves quick, bouncing-like movements into the end of the stretching position. Similarly to dynamic stretching, ballistic stretches are not held, but they are done much faster than dynamic stretches. With this method, the muscle doesn’t relax at all. Ballistic stretching has been shown to improve flexibility but due to a higher risk of overstretching injury, it is typically not recommended.
Static and dynamic stretching can be incorporated into a warm-up routine before exercising to prepare your body for movement. Although stretching is commonly thought of as being useful for injury prevention, in reality, these effects are little to none. On the other hand, exercising, particularly resistance training is very effective in preventing injuries. Make sure to stretch along with doing other exercises!
Learning how to stretch effectively is a big part of what we do at painPRO. Learn about this and the painPRO difference today.