Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Know your stretches !

There are four different types of stretches and each should be utilized differently. Whether you stretch before or after a workout impacts which type of stretch you should be using.
Static Stretching:
This type of stretching is the kind that most people are familiar with. When you perform a static stretch, you hold a position for 10-60 seconds at a clip. For instance, the classic runner’s stretch where you extend one leg straight out in front of you and reach for your toes is an example of a static stretch. This type of stretching should always be done after a workout when your muscles are warm and ready to be stretched. When done after a workout, it’s the best type of stretch to help elongate muscles to improve flexibility.
Dynamic Stretching:
As the name suggests, this type of stretching is basically the opposite of static stretching. Our members are very familiar with dynamic stretches because we always start class this way. This type of stretching is active and requires the momentum of movement. An example of a dynamic stretch would be leg swings where you move in a quick, controlled way through a full range of motion. This type of stretching is beneficial because it improves the range of motion in your joints while also loosening your muscles. It also increases your heart rate and body temperature, and gets your blood flowing so that you are ready for your workout. Thus, dynamic stretches are the optimal way to warm up before training.
PNF Stretching-
PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. To do this type of stretching, you stretch passively for a few seconds and then push actively against the stressor before relaxing into a passive stretch again. This process is be repeated over and over again. For example, lie on your back and have a partner lift one of your legs straight off of the ground until the stretch becomes difficult. Then, relax your leg against your partner’s hand for about 10 seconds until your partner asks you to push back as hard as you can. Relax your muscles again and watch as your leg is lifted higher than before.
The main benefits of this type of stretching is that allows you to increase your ROM quickly, improve your stability surrounding joints, and allows for greater muscle relaxation. It actually resets your nervous system which is why it’s name suggests a connection between your nerves and your muscles. Because it does call upon your nervous system, it is best to do this type of stretching after a workout or even right before bed.
Ballistic Stretching- A ballistic stretch is any stretch where the athlete utilizes a bouncing motion. For example, the butterfly stretch where one bounces their knees up and down is a ballistic stretch. This is an outdated stretch that should really be avoided.
So now that you know about the four types of stretches, what they are used for and when to do them, how do you know what needs to be stretched? As odd as this sounds, that’s an important question. If you have amazing flexibility in your shoulders, but terrible hamstring flexibility, stop stretching your shoulders out and start working on those hammies. That might sound obvious but we all tend to gravitate towards doing what we are good at when sometimes, we need to spend time focusing on the areas in which we need to improve

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