The importance of stretching cannot be overstated when it comes to any workout routine. Regardless of the type of physical activity, you engage in, stretching your muscles before and after can improve your performance and prevent injury. But what is the right way to stretch? The most basic form of stretching is bending and flexing the body. The debate over when to stretch, how to stretch, and which type of stretching is best is a common one in the fitness community.
Stretching generally consists of two types: Dynamic vs Static stretching. Your fitness goal will determine which one works best for you. In this article, we will discuss both types of stretching and when they should be performed suitably.
Dynamic Stretching: What Is It?
Dynamic stretching involves flexing your muscles while moving continuously. This functionally oriented stretching increases the range of motion and lengthens connective tissue. In addition to being a whole-body movement, it requires more coordination. Several sport-specific movements are used in this type of stretching to move the limbs through a greater range of motion. These stretches can be measured with VBT. The benefits of dynamic stretching include improved flexibility, heightened vitality, enhanced performance, and increased efficiency.
The dynamic stretching method has gained popularity with athletes, coaches, and trainers because it requires more thoughtful coordination than static stretching.
The effectiveness of dynamic stretching has been proven in research to increase flexibility, maximal muscle strength, sprinting ability, and vertical jump capability. Despite these findings, other studies show that dynamic stretching is not detrimental to strength and performance.
Static Stretching: What Is It?
Most people tend to stretch using static stretching, which does not require them to move their whole body. This involves holding a pose for an extended period to stretch a muscle group. The stretch is usually held for 15-60 seconds. This is then repeated 2–4 times. In this type of stretching your muscles cannot be contacted or engaged through stretching. Since static stretching relaxes the muscles, it is considered a passive type of stretching.
Extending an arm behind the back to work the triceps is a static stretch. There is a lot of controversy surrounding static stretching. Static stretching has gone from being the best method of warming up to becoming an obsolete practice, according to Michael Boyle. In addition, research conducted in the 1980s stated that static stretching before exercise may decrease muscle power. Therefore, Static stretching is not allowed in certain sports, such as soccer (football). Other studies, however, show that static stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion (RoM). In some other studies, static stretching has been suggested as a more appropriate technique during the cool down.
Is It A Good Idea To Stretch Before A Workout?
Stretching before a workout has long been a contentious topic. Experts have recommended stretching before workouts, activities, and sports for many years. Before strenuous efforts, stretching was thought to reduce injury risk and prepare the body. Typically, people stretched only during this time. Most of the stretching was static. Nevertheless, it is crucial to assess dynamic vs. static stretching when warm-ups are concerned.
Recent research on full-body flexibility suggests that stretching before a workout might lead to more injuries, particularly if it is static stretching. In addition, some evidence suggests that static stretching before a workout can decrease power and speed. As a result, coaches and personal trainers recommend dynamic stretching before exercise as a must.
Static Vs. Dynamic Stretching
According to different fitness studies, warm-ups can include both types of stretching. Before high-intensity exercise, an active warm-up is critical to preventing critical injuries. Thus, performing dynamic stretching exercises before practices, matches, or lifting sessions can decrease your chance of hamstring and groin injuries. Overuse injuries, such as low back pain and shoulder pain, are not affected by dynamic stretching.
So, static stretching vs. dynamic stretching, which is best? The answer to this question is difficult to give since it depends on the individual. The evidence indicates that stretching before a workout does not automatically increase your injury risk, even your performance won’t be affected. So, it’s rational why athletes, trainers, and coaches resent using static stretching when the research is so compelling.
Lack of flexibility, however, appears to be a contributor to gradual-onset injuries among athletes today. It appears that these overuse problems result from long-term tissue changes that aren’t always responsive to dynamic stretching. New Functional Training for Sports states that athletes’ warm-ups should include both dynamic and static stretching (preceded by foam rolling). Furthermore, In the eyes of many coaches and personal trainers, active warming-up before workouts and static stretching afterward are the best ways to prepare for a workout.
When it comes to Boyle subprograms, you might benefit from static stretching at the start of your warm-up followed by dynamic stretching. You can increase your flexibility by static stretching when your muscles are most likely to expand. Following that, a dynamic warm-up is needed to get your muscles ready for exercise. Generally, dynamic stretching is recommended over static stretching before working out. Therefore, static vs dynamic stretching will likely continue to be a topic of discussion.
Stretching is important to your health, muscle, and, most importantly, your ability to work out. However, It is often overlooked in exercise programs and workouts that stretching is not the main focus. Stretching in both forms has benefits and drawbacks. But if you are going to run or play sports that involve all your muscles, then you should do dynamic stretching, that you can monitor with Vitruve. As a result of which your heart rate is lessened and your body temperature is elevated, allowing your muscles to move more efficiently.
While a static stretch can be practiced to target muscles such as the biceps and triceps. However, static stretching before vigorous exercise may reduce strength and power according to studies. Performing static stretches post-workout is recommended to reduce muscle soreness and increase blood flow. Thus, one should adapt stretching techniques according to their health, sports, and safety needs.