I am guilty of not doing this enough. Why I should be doing it more and why it is so important. Stretching - part three.


What are the different types of stretching?

1. Corrective

·         Self-Myofascial Release aka Foam Rolling - Applying gentle force to a knot in a muscle. We can use a foam roll to do this. Corrects muscle imbalances, reduces trigger points. Can be used before and after exercise.

·         Static Stretching – The process of passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Think sitting hamstring stretch, one leg extended out bending your torso over your leg reaching hands towards your toes. Corrects muscle imbalances and lengthens tight muscles. Can be used before or after exercise.

2. Active

·         Active – Isolated Stretching – The process of using muscle pairs to move the joint into a range of motion, improving the muscles ability to be elongated.  Think active kneeling hip flexor stretch where you are down on one knee, moving body slightly forward to stretch the hip. This is active because instead of just holding it statically, you want to hold for 1 to 2 seconds then relax, repeating this 5 to 10 times. Deepens the stretch from the static stretch. Good to do as a warmup before exercise.

3. Functional

·         Dynamic Stretching – Increases the ability to move in all directions. Actively use muscle to move joint through a full range of motion. These types of stretched typically use force and momentum to move the joint through its entire range of motion. Think lunges in all directions. These dynamic stretches prepare for more vigorous workout moves. These dynamic moves can be repeated for 10 reps, and it is good to choose at least 3 different exercises. Good to do for a warmup before exercise.

These three levels of stretching follow a continuum and should be done in order. For instance, one should finish corrective stretching by foam rolling and doing static stretching to fix distortions before moving into the active or functional stages.

Although many people, including myself at times, rush to get a good workout in, we must stop to realize that unless our muscles are preforming optimally our workouts will build on distorted muscle patterns. Stretching can help to fix muscle imbalance and restore a full range of motion to our muscles so we can truly have a worthy workout.


Works Cited

Clark, Michael; Sutton, Brian; and Lucett, Scott. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Jones & Bartlett Learning. MA. Print 2014

Samantha FriedmanComment