Handbook to Different Types of Stretching

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different types of stretching
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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Different Types of Stretching

It’s evident that the fitness and wellness sector has undoubtedly seen phenomenal growth in the past decade and in the near future, the industry is only expected to witness a worldwide unprecedented success. This tremendous transition has been driven largely by behavioral changes and the dissolving of false beliefs amongst individuals.

In the contemporary world, fitness is not about creating a perfect figure or shrinking your body. On the contrary, it seems to be more associated with ensuring a healthier lifestyle. Fitness isn’t a specific size, it’s not a precise body type, it isn’t a certain look yet Fitness is a necessity for each and every person. As healthcare expenditure increase annually, to tackle any health issue people continue to prioritize their time and invest their money over fitness and wellness.

Daily exercise is indeed the key to optimizing health and ultimate fitness. One of the core components you must aim to incorporate into your regular fitness routine is “STRETCHING”. Contrary to old school belief, stretching does not make you weak; in fact, it strengthens you. Stretching is the key ingredient of playing or practicing sports. Stretching effectively and efficiently keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and active!

Stretching is an integral part of any physical therapy. Stretching is just as beneficial to your body as a tough workout. Leading fitness experts claim that it is the element of an exercise that most individuals overlook. What’s the perfect way to prep your body for a great workout? Do you also engage in high-intensity workouts right away? If you’re doing so, pause for a moment and reconsider. Before any workout, make sure to stretch. There are no shortcuts to growth. Stretching improves the way your muscles respond to exercising. Stretching routinely is therefore incredibly important.

Stretching as a practice provides a plethora of advantages that positively affect an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. Stretching on a regular basis corrects posture flaws, improves long-term mobility, boosts athletic performance, and uplifts your mood instantly. Stretching tends to increase the range of motion enormously. All athletes stretch as helps with soreness after exercise and prevents any possible injury. While gradually raising the body temperature, it creates an ideal environment for the body to engage in the upcoming workout that requires muscles flexibility.

Range of Motion (ROM):

Range of motion refers to a joint’s capacity to move in a specified direction and over a specific distance.

Stretching entails, a lot more than merely touching your toes. In addition, there are different types of stretching techniques, each with its own set of benefits. Doing a bit of each will hinder a healthy lifestyle. As a result, identifying the several types of stretching is necessary to determine when a specific type of stretching is perhaps the most appropriate.

A Deep Dive into Different Types of Stretching:

Did you know stretches can be classified in seven different ways? If you didn’t know, you’re not alone. Don’t worry, we’ve got all the answers. Despite the fact that there are numerous ways to stretch, current practice involves seven primary types of stretching: Static Stretching, Dynamic Stretching, Ballistic Stretching, PNF Stretching, Active Stretching, Passive Stretching, and Isometric Stretching.

a. Static Stretching:

When it comes to different sorts of stretching, the most prominent type is static stretching. Static, as the name itself implies, is stationary- no movement. This stretching focuses on bringing an isolated muscle or even a specific muscle group to their peak position. During a static stretch, you generally hold a single position for a certain length of time, usually between 20-30 seconds. These are primarily performed as a post-workout exercise during a cool-down phase to boost stamina, facilitate recovery, reduce stiffness, improve flexibility and range of motion.

However, Static stretching is frequently condemned as being unhealthy or harmful. Its ability to change the range of motion is fairly limited. Yet, Static stretching can be beneficial if executed effectively with appropriate application, intensity, and timing.  With the right application, this type of stretching reduces the risk of injury and also increases strength.

Examples of general static stretching exercises are as follows:

  •  Butterfly stretch
butterfly stretching
  •  Cobra pose
cobra pose stretch
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  • Triceps static stretch
triceps static stretch
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b. Dynamic Stretching:

The importance of stretching in fitness and working out is often undervalued by a majority of people, especially beginners. A solid workout can transform your entire workout. Warming up with static stretching, on the other hand, is a major mistake. Warm-up with dynamic stretches instead.

Dynamic stretching must be incorporated into your workout as it enhances blood circulation and relaxes your muscles. It is not just about holding a stretch for a certain period of time, it’s about taking your body through ranges of motion for warming up prior to your workout. Dynamic stretches are regulated motions that warm up your muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues in preparation for a workout.

Unlike static stretching, Dynamic stretching bets your muscles warmed up and helps to ease you into your workout. This type of stretching improves flexibility, mobility, agility, and acceleration.

Here are some incredible dynamic stretching exercises to carry your workout to the next threshold:

  •  Leg pendulum

 

 

  • Trunk Twists

 

c. Ballistic stretching:

Ballistic stretching is the type generally practiced to prepare your body for an intense and tough workout or physical activity. Ballistic stretching combines bouncy, quick, and sudden movements to stretch the desired muscle group prior to the core workout.

This is not the same as dynamic stretching. Don’t confuse the two. This type of stretch is highly recommended for professional athletes. Beginners are more likely to strain or pull their muscles. These stretches are usually performed by swinging your body into multiple positions. The stretch reflex is frequently triggered by this high speed and high-intensity movements, which provide momentum to carry the body segment through a range of motions.

 In terms of harmful effects, ballistic stretches are often associated with slight injury risk. Excessive stretching might harm the ligaments and tendons that encircle your joint. Ballistic stretching, when performed appropriately, is just as effective as static stretching in terms of increasing range of motion.

Following are a few examples of ballistic stretching:

  • Toe Touch
hamstring stretch
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  • Single-Leg Stretch
single leg stretch
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d. PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) Stretching:

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching is a much more advanced but underappreciated technique of stretching and flexibility training. Basically, PNF stretching involves tightening the opposing muscle to the one that’s being elongated over a series of exercises to increase muscular mobility.

PNF Stretching allows a stiff muscle to perform its function. One of the most effective strategies to enhance flexibility is to stretch in a contract-relax motion. According to several recent studies, It’s among the most effective approaches of stretching for building perfect flexibility and enhancing passive and active range of motions.  

Although PNF stretches can be practiced individually, stretching along with a companion makes it a lot more effective. This type of stretching is associated with three different phases listed below:

  •   Contract- relax the contraction of the target muscle
  •   Hold- relax the contraction of the muscle
  •  Contract- relax with agonist contraction

e. Active Stretching:

 Active stretching is described as stretching a muscle without any external sources. This type of stretching relies upon the strength of our own muscles to stretch another muscle, rather than using external force, equipment, or gravity.

 When you stretch actively, you achieve a range of motion without using any helping hand. For example, to stretch while standing, raise your leg with your knee kept straight.

active stretch
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f. Passive Stretching:

The most recommended method of stretching for beginners is passive stretching. This is a stretch wherein you hold a specific position for a specific period of time while being supported by external factors. The external force may include objects like a floor, a wall, gravity, or even your own hands.

 Passive stretching usually relies on gravity to drag your body weight further into the stretch. This form of stretching, like the majority of others, promotes flexibility while reducing the chance of injury. For example, to stretch the hamstring while standing, raise your leg while holding your foot.

passive stretch
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g. Isometric Stretching:

Isometric stretching is a sort of static stretching that incorporates muscle tension. Everything engages throughout isometric stretching, yet nothing moves. While performing a stretch, you apply resistance with the same muscle groups you are stretching.

Deep isometric stretching reduces tendon stiffness, improves stamina as well as lowers blood pressure. Stretching in this form commonly does not worsen pain, but rather functions as an analgesic to reduce it. 

 

Should you stretch or not? What are your thoughts? Which stretching exercises do you prefer? Stretching only once today isn’t going to miraculously improve your flexibility and mobility. The success of your workout is not determined by muscle soreness or how sweaty you are or how early you get an hourglass shape. Consistency is the key. Slowly but steadily, you will reach your health goals. Nevertheless, Grab your yoga mat, stretch your entire body and be unique in your own way!

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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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