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Seven Types of Stretching You Should Know About

Stretching is a very important part of exercise, as it helps prevent injuries and makes muscles more flexible. Most people have heard of the benefits of stretching but not many people know that there are actually seven different techniques that you could use to stretch your muscles. Read on to find out more about these seven techniques and how they can help you in your fitness plans:

 

  1. Static Stretching

To complete a static stretch, you extend a muscle as far as you can, and then hold it in position for an extended period of time. Static stretching is best used at the end of a workout session, to help muscles relax.

  1. Passive Stretching

There is only a subtle difference between static stretching and passive stretching; with passive stretching, you stretch in a similar manner as you do with static stretching but this time, with the aid of a partner or some external object, you stretch the muscle a little further than you might have been able to with a static stretch move. This is an ideal alternative to static training for people who are experiencing some muscle soreness or cramps, after training.

  1. Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching involves the stretching of muscles using dynamic motions, such as walking lunges and squats, which mimic the range and nature of the type of motions you might make when performing any given exercise. This form of stretching is best used prior to a workout session.

  1. Isometric Stretching

This is a slightly more complicated stretching technique than some of the other techniques described on this list. With isometric stretch moves, you start by stretching your muscles, passively, and  then reverse the move by exerting resistance towards this force.

  1. Active Isolated Stretching

For beginners, this might be one of the more advanced and significantly difficult stretch techniques on this list. Active-isolated stretching is done by fully extending a muscle, and holding it position, using only the activated muscle itself and without any assistance whatsoever.

  1. Ballistic Stretching

The ballistic stretch is a technique that uses short bouncy movements to briefly extend a muscle beyond its regular range of motion. This is a good way to increase flexibility but, beware: stretching in this way can actually lead to injury and is not advisable for beginners.

  1. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is not exactly a stretching technique on its own; rather, it is a combination of static, passive and isometric stretching techniques. You start off with a static stretch, then ease into an isometric stretch—where you stretch a muscle against an external force, and then allow the muscle to flow with the force instead of against it (passive stretch), and finally hold the muscle in a static stretch. Repeat the process four to five times.

Conclusion

You can use these seven stretching techniques, to effectively help increase your flexibility and prevent muscle injuries. Don’t jump straight into the more difficult techniques such as PNF or active isolation, without mastering the basic ones like static, passive and isometric stretching.

A fitness instructor will be able to guide you and show you how to do a stretch more effectively, and if you would like to hire one, we would be glad to recommend someone you can trust. Kindly get in touch with us at:

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