January 2, 2018

Understanding Static and Dynamic Stretching

Jamie Fullerton
,
Head Physiotherapist
Knowledge is power and knowing the purpose of all elements of your exercise regime will help you to make informed choices, and ultimately, get the most from your workout or sporting activity.

In our latest blog, we outline key factors of both static and dynamic stretching, helping you to briefly understand how the two methods differ and when to utilise them within your own fitness regime.

Static stretching

Popular for many years, static stretching gained a positive reputation as the optimal way of improving flexibility and range of motion. Static stretches require you to hold the position for a specific period of time (usually a minimum of 30 seconds but some techniques require longer). The stretch can be challenging but is comfortable. You remain motionless and concentrate on the stance, pose and/or posture. The overall aim and main benefit is an improvement in your range of motion.

Though the method has come under scrutiny over the years, thanks to unfounded claims of injury prevention and performance improvement, the technique is in fact proven to maintain and even improve your range of movement. It is, for this reason, the stretches are often used post-workout as a cool down method, rather than prior to a session during the main warm-up. Before starting your main exercise, you want to concentrate on warming up your body, as this is what significantly helps you to avoid injury and get the most from your performance. 

So, what stretch technique should you be practising during your warm-up and prior to exercise?

Dynamic stretching 

Dynamic stretching is an ‘active’ technique which requires you to move your muscles through ranges of motion. The purpose is to replicate the movements you are about to perform, however, benefits also include improvement in your coordination and balance. The stretches are performed in a deliberately slow manner to avoid causing cramps and the method requires a controlled approach to your movements.

But most importantly, dynamic stretches use your muscles in the same way that your exercise will, which means that they will literally warm up the area you are about to use by mimicking how the muscles and joints will react to your activity. By engaging these muscles in an over exaggerated and controlled manner, prior to putting them under any potential stress, you minimise the chance of an injury occurring and get the most from your performance.

There is a lot more to this subject and though we have barely scratched the surface, we hope that the above will clear up any confusion you may have had and also give you a good idea of how to implement both techniques into your routine. If you have any questions at all, we’re always happy to help. Just get in contact via info@thetreatmenttable.co.uk.  

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