Be honest, how many of you perform stretches as part of your training regime? If you do, are you aware of which stretches to perform in order to make them most suitable and effective for your individual situation? If you answer yes to one or more of the above questions then here at FitnessBeans we’re already impressed! The truth is, the majority of individuals don’t stretch and if they do, then it’s often not as effective as it could be.
There are numerous variations when it comes to stretching; static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF to name but a few. This article is going to consider static stretching. This type of stretching, as the name suggests, involves holding a stretch for a specific time period. If done correctly, static stretching can offer numerous benefits. Often however, it is misused and then receives a bad reputation and a Chinese whisper is born! This article aims to consider the benefits of static stretching.
Before moving on it is important to clear up a dispelled rumour. Static stretching does not prevent injury and in some cases it can actually inhibit sporting performance if used as part of a pre exercise regime and as a result other stretch variations should be considered here. Pre workout aside, static stretching can offer numerous benefits and gains;
If you’ve retired from exercise or simply don’t perform any physical activity for whatever reason, then static stretching can assist in allowing you to maintain a good range of motion. Flexibility is useful for posture and correcting any muscular imbalances throughout the body. Static stretching also places little demand on the body.
The act of performing static stretching means that everything else in your life has to wait for a moment or two. This environment is conducive to a feeling of relaxation. Furthermore, the stretches themselves are also an additional means of ridding the body of stresses and strains. Ensure each stretch is maintained for a minimum of 10 seconds.
As mentioned previously, static stretching is not beneficial as a pre workout tool. It is however beneficial following an intense workout. Static stretching at this stage assists the target muscle in returning to its normal length and prevents it from remaining in a shortened position. Your muscles and body really will appreciate this stretching.
So there you have three beneficial reasons why static stretching shouldn’t be overlooked or omitted. If you’re a sedentary individual then static stretching can aid range of motion whilst providing an opportunity to relax. Conversely, for those active individuals amongst us, why not utilise this stretching technique following an intense workout to enable muscle length management.
Before signing off, it’s important to reiterate that static stretching is not beneficial as a pre workout build up and in some cases might even diminish your ability to perform. As long as you understand the benefits of static stretching whilst at the same time acknowledging its limitations, then you won’t go too far wrong.