Stretching exercises are not only for athletes, but it is done by people before doing any exercise activity. However, stretching is necessary for all people to promote mobility and independence. It is advisable to do regularly especially in the morning. Morning stretches is very important because it keeps the muscle flexible, healthy, and strong. Imagine if you’re not stretching, your muscles shorten and become tight. Without some stretching then you are at risk for joint pain, muscle damage, and strain.
There are several types of stretching that have specific applications and additional health benefits. Regular stretching can make the muscles healthy and help a person with balance problems to avoid falls. Before stretching, you need to know the proper execution of each type of stretching. Without any basic knowledge, it can cause damage to your bones and joints when you executed improperly.
1. Static Stretch
These stretching exercises are the most common activity that most people do regularly. One example of a static stretch is seated hamstring stretch. It is done by reaching forward to your toes and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. According to research static stretching before a workout can be detrimental to performance, it can reduce strength, power, and explosiveness.
2. Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that involves performing a controlled movement that brings the muscles to their maximum range of motion. It is recommended before workout compared to static stretching. Some examples of dynamic stretching are leg swings, jump squats, and high kicks. It is a good addition to any workout because it stretches the muscles and increases blood flow.
3. Ballistic Stretching
It is a kind of morning stretches that uses momentum to force a limb beyond its normal range of motion. Even though this kind of stretching can promote benefits, there is no research to prove its effectiveness. It can be dangerous to beginners if not executed properly because it doesn’t allow the muscle to relax and adjust to an ideal stretch position. An example of ballistic stretching is swinging your leg up to a bar with force at a height you wouldn’t reach in a controlled movement.
4. Passive Stretching
This kind of stretching exercises is similar to static stretching and be combined. Passive stretching or also called “relaxed stretching” because it relaxes the muscles as much as possible during the stretch. One example of passive stretch is raising the leg and holding the back of the thigh with hands.
5. Isometric Stretching
Isometric stretch is a kind of stretching exercises that do not use motion and involves the resistance of muscles through tensing of the stretched muscle. It can be the fastest way to develop increased flexibility and it is more effective compared to passive or active stretching. Isometric stretching can be either done on your own or with the help of a partner. An example of isometric stretch that you can do your own is holding on to the ball of your foot and using calf muscle to straighten instep so the toes are pointed. The hamstring stretch is an example of an isometric stretch with a partner.
6. Active Stretching
Active stretching and dynamic stretching are similar. An active stretch is using the strength of an agonist’s muscle in a position to stretch the antagonist’s muscle. The best example of active stretching is yoga because of positions that bring the leg up in front of you as high as you can and hold the position using the strength in your leg.
7. PNF Stretching (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation)
This kind of stretching exercises is not typically used by athletes or during work out sessions. It is usually used as a treatment for stroke patients. It can be the most effective and fastest way to increase stative-passive flexibility. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), PNF stretching is not a type of stretching but it is a technique combining the passive and isometric stretching to achieve maximum static flexibility. Some examples of PNF techniques require a hold and relax position, performing a passive 10-second pre-stretch, holding, and resist force applied by the fitness professional that can cause an isometric contraction in the target muscle group. Another is for done for six seconds to relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch and hold it for 30 seconds to increase range of motion (ROM), and many more.