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5 Types of Stretching Exercises

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Stretching is often part of any warm up and cool down program because it helps loosen up tight muscles, widen their range of motion, boost circulation, as well as improve one’s flexibility. However, did you know that there are different types of stretches that you can do depending on the workout program that you’re going to do? Static and dynamic stretches are two of the most common types of stretches that are done by most people who exercise.

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Static is basically stretching a certain body part as much as possible then hold that position for 30 seconds or so without any fast movement or even bouncing on your part. There are two kinds of static stretching and these are active where added force is done to the stretch to increase the intensity of the stretch and the other one is passive stretching where the additional force comes from a gym equipment or exercise partner in order to increase the stretch’s intensity.

Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, make use of controlled swinging of the arms and legs until they reach the farthest range of motion possible. In this stretch, each of the body parts is moved while gradually increasing speed, reach, or a combination of the two. This stretch is typically used by athletes to help increase their muscles’ performance.

5 Kinds of Stretching

Aside from the two mentioned above, what other types of stretches should you know about?

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AIS or Active Isolated Stretching

In this stretching exercise, the pose is held for two seconds at a time and is performed numerous times with the degree of resistance increasing for every repetition. Just like with any strength-training program, AIS is done in several sets with a specific number of repetitions for each set.

Isometric Stretching

This type of stretching requires equipment or a spotter because as one area of your body is stretched, you will be trying to resist the stretch by going to the opposite direction. One example of this stretch is having someone to hold your leg up as high as you can while you’re pushing downwards in order to resist the stretch. This exercise is actually the perfect stretch to use if you want to increase the range of motion of your joints. It also helps strengthen the ligaments and tendons while maintaining the flexibility of your muscles and joints.

Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic stretching is a kind of stretching exercise that pushes a body part to go beyond its regular range of movement by making this specific body part bounce to a stretched pose. This stretching exercise is reserved for athletes who are preparing their body to perform a workout regimen that is strenuous to their muscles and joints.

Myofascial Release

The fascia is targeted in this stretching exercise. The fascia is actually a system of connective tissues that not only unites but covers different compartments or areas of the body as well as their underlying muscles. This exercise aims to provide relief to the tension in the fascia using a foam roller or something similar to it to improve one’s flexibility. In Myofascial release, small and continuous movements go back and forth in area of 2 to 6 inches within 30 to 60 seconds. The amount of pain that can be tolerated will determine how much pressure can be applied to the target area.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

The combination of isometrics, passive, and static stretching is what proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is all about. The goal of this stretching exercise is to improve one’s flexibility. To do this stretch, you need to passively stretch your target muscle then isometrically contract the said muscle against the resistance in your stretched position. The final step is to passively stretch the target muscle through the increased range in motion that is the result of the stretch. This is considered to be an advanced stretching exercise that not only improves flexibility but can aid in boosting muscle strength as well.
As you can see, stretches aren’t limited to static and dynamic. Knowing which type of stretch to use based on your workout program is a must in order to give your muscles and joints more strength and flexibility. If you are not sure which one to use, you can always ask for professional assistance so you can prepare your body better.

 

Sources:
http://www.acefitness.org/blog/2966/what-are-the-different-types-of-stretching
http://www.livestrong.com/article/539154-7-types-of-stretching-exercises/

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