The Essential Facts Of Stretching

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If there’s a true about stretching is that everyone should do it but not everyone in the world really does. I know for experience that a lot of people skip this step when they workout. It can make a difference in how your muscles respond to exercise.

Here’s some of the true and false beliefs about stretching !!

1. The best time to stretch is after exercise. ( True & False ) In a perfect world, you’ll stretch a few minutes into and after your workout. It’s safer to stretch a warm muscle, they’re more relaxed and have greater range of motion.

2. There’s only one “right” way to stretch.

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There are actually a half-dozen or more ways to stretch.

Some of them are:

Static stretching: This is what you probably did in your middle school Physical education class. Gradually elongating a muscle and holding it for up to 30 seconds. Think side bends or the classic hamstring stretch, where you reach for your toes while sitting on the floor. The goal of these stretches is to release tension, making muscles more pliable and less susceptible to pulls and strains.

Active isolated (AI) stretching: is a specific stretching program developed by Aaron Mattes over 30 years ago. Mattes is a registered Kinesiotherapist and Licensed Massage Therapist who has dedicated his practice to helping both professional and amateur athletes become more agile and less injured. His technique uses four basic principles:

  1. Isolate the muscle to be stretched.

  2. Repeat the stretch eight to 10 times.

  3. Hold each stretch for no more than two seconds.

  4. Exhale on the stretch; inhale on the release.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching: According to the International PNF Association, PNF stretching was developed by Dr. Herman Kabat in the 1940s as a means to treat neuromuscular conditions including polio and multiple sclerosis. PNF techniques have since gained popularity with physical therapists and other fitness professionals. It’s easy to understand why. According to research from the University of Queensland, PNF stretching may be the most effective stretching technique for increasing range of motion.

Ballistic or dynamic stretching: Dynamic stretching refers to stretching by controlled coordinated movement with a defined range of motion.  Ballistic stretching refers to stretching in uncontrolled uncoordinated movement, usually involving momentum and bouncing.  As should be clear by the above definitions, dynamic stretching can be safely employed and is often recommended as a warm-up prior to sports activity.  This form of stretching is ideal for pushing blood to specific muscle group and making them more elastic prior to dynamic movement.

3. Stretching should be uncomfortable.(False) 

Actually, if stretching is painful, you’re going too far my friend.Breathe deeply while you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Then relax, and repeat the stretch, trying to move a little bit further into it during the second stretch.

You should hold a stretch for at least 15 seconds. ( True ) Most experts now agree that holding a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds is sufficient and I believe the experts!


Now, if you’re a beginner at stretching here are some basic ones you can try!

•Overhead stretch (for shoulders, neck, and back)

•Torso stretch (for lower back)

•Cat and cow stretch

Better bend than break !