Flexibility and mobility is an important part of fitness and injury prevention. Stretching increases your range of motion making your soft tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, longer by decreasing stiffness. It can also help improve performance, help with soreness after exercise and lower your chance of injury.
There are two main types of stretches: static stretches and dynamic stretches. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for period of time, up to about 45 seconds. Dynamic stretches are active, fluid movements that move your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues to their full range of motion, such as a lunge, squat, toy soldier or hip/leg circles.
Both of these have different purposes and should be used at different times in your workout.
Improves speed, agility and acceleration. It involves the active tightening of your muscles and moving your joints through their full range of motion. Functional movements help increase muscle temperature and strength and decrease muscle stiffness.
Dynamic stretches are used as part of our warm-up routine. The lunge to toy soldier move found in this weeks TOTW is an example of a dynamic stretch that warms up the hips, hamstrings and glutes.
Static stretching requires you to move a muscle as far as it can go without feeling any pain, then hold that position for 20 to 45 seconds. You should repeat static stretches two to three times each. This is a very effective way to increase flexibility.
Static stretches should be used as part of your cool-down routine to help prevent injury. Using static stretching as a maintenance stretching program will also help reduce your risk of injury.
According to HSS, using static stretching in a warm-up may negatively impact your performance. This is because static stretching may limit your body’s ability to react quickly.