The primary purpose of stretching is to relieve and protect the muscles for maximum health benefits. There are many myths and misconceptions about types of stretching that you may have heard when exercising. You may not understand the scientific concepts behind solo or assisted stretching, but they play a significant role in promoting good health.
Types of Stretching
To understand the best time to stretch, you need to know the basic types of stretches.
Active stretching intentionally focuses on a specific group of muscles you are targeting while you exercise.
Passive stretching involves holding a pose by hand to lengthen or tighten the targeted muscles. These stretches will also improve your posture and flexibility. They are a perfect after-workout stretch because the muscles are more pliable and stretch without risking health.
Dynamic stretches bring in momentum and liveliness through several muscle repetitions. These stretches increase the body’s core temperature and bring the muscles up to speed. They prepare the body functionally for the impending workout because of their intensity. Examples of dynamic stretches include push-ups, lunges, jumping jacks, squats, and others.
Static stretches involve creating tension within the muscles and holding the position for at least 15 seconds with several repetitions.
PNF (Assisted Stretching)
PNF stretching relies on a certified stretch therapist for assisted stretching. It restores injured muscles through repetitive contraction and release movements. With assisted stretching, you lie on a table where a stretch therapist will perform different exercises to eliminate resistance and get your body back to full fitness. It is best for a recovery or rejuvenation session.
Should You Stretch Before Your Workout?
There are common misconceptions about stretching before your workout. Some types of stretches, like active stretches, will not benefit your body in any way. They will not warm up the body as expected. Instead, they will lower your performance and intensity during your workout. Stretching a cold muscle will also make you more injury-prone.
In contrast, dynamic stretches will help you quickly ease into your workout session. They give the body the rhythm and appropriate warm-up that your muscles need to prepare for the workout. You can start with short, lesser, or slower dynamic stretches and increase the intensity as you build towards the exercise.
Should You Stretch After Your Workout?
Stretching after a workout is necessary to cool down the body. An excellent warm-down technique will include several passive stretching methods that help you cool off after an intense workout session.
You will recover better and may have just minor muscle soreness with an appropriate warm-down technique. Scientifically, it improves blood flow to all body parts, especially limbs. Efficient blood flow will promote the delivery of nutrients and oxygen, which rejuvenates the muscles. You will end up having just minor soreness and will recover better in between sessions.
Warm down techniques also aid in slowing down the heart rate. These calm down the nervous system, creating a relaxing ambiance for your recovery.
Should You Stretch During Your Workout?
When you stretch during a workout, you give your muscles a pause and an opportunity to recover. Instead of waiting until the end of the session, you can work on static stretching after each session. This helps the muscles start the recovery process and get back to the initial condition. Such a method also increases muscle flexibility.
You can also introduce some dynamic stretches when shifting to different exercises. They will help you increase your flexibility and care for your health.
There is no straightforward answer to what stretch method will help you the most. While considering different factors, you need to incorporate the various techniques at other points in your workout session. It is up to you to find out what works best for you. By using assisted stretching, you are most likely to achieve wholesome results.
You can find out more about stretching from the certified professionals at Stretch 22.
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