In this post, Rob Rossi, our Active Care Specialist, explains when to use dynamic vs static stretching.
What type of stretching should we be doing and when?
Muscles have a certain length they can extend depending on the individual. Different situations call for different kinds of stretching – many people don’t know that doing the wrong type of stretching can actually be detrimental.
There are two main types of stretching: static and dynamic.
What is static stretching?
A static stretch is a more common and recognized form of stretching. These stretches are done while the body is at rest.
To do a static stretch, you simply stretch the muscle to a lengthened position to the point of tension and hold it for extended periods of time, ranging from a few seconds to several minutes.
When would we want to do static stretches?
Because of this type of stretch relaxes muscles, it is best to do them after exercise. We want to bring the body back to relaxed state after exercising.
If static stretches are done before exercise, the muscles will not be ready for exercise workloads. Doing so actually increases the risk for injury. We don’t want relaxed muscles when exercising. We want the muscles to be active and ready to respond quickly and effectively.
Therefore, use this type of stretching to improve flexibility and cool your body down after exercise.
What is dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching is lengthening and shortening muscles involving movement. The stretch is not held like as a static stretch, where we would hold the muscle in a lengthened state for a period of time.
This type of stretching is repetitive and resembles movement in sports activities, exercise, moving our limbs in different directions.
When would we want to do a dynamic stretch?
Dynamic stretches should be done after a proper warm up and before any sports activity or exercise. This is because they closely mimic movements made during exercise.
This type of stretch will not relax the muscle, but get it warmed up and make the nerves responsive. The lengthening and shortening of the muscle will get it ready for workloads and reduce the risk of injuries. Dynamic stretching is usually used to prepare for athletic events.
Our muscles can be strained if overstretched, so a good warm up and dynamic stretch will best prepare the body.
Like this? You might also like:
- Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries: A Physiotherapist’s Perspective
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