Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
The famous question that goes around the fitness industry, “should I do dynamic stretching or static stretching?”
Well the real question is, why not both? As a personal trainer part of our job is writing proper individualized exercise prescription for our clients and as you probably notice, being a client of Fitness Together, each exercise incorporated within that prescription offers a certain benefit. There is a rhyme to reason I promise you. Each form of stretching offers a certain benefit to HMS (human movement system).
Static stretching, the process of passively taking a muscle to its point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. This form of stretching combines low force pressure with a longer duration. During a static stretch, by holding the muscle in a stretched position for prolonged period, certain receptors in the muscle that are sensitive to change (Golgi Tendon Organ) are stimulated and produce a inhibitory effect on other receptors that are sensitive to change in the length of said muscle (Muscle Spindles). Moreover, this allows for the corrective of existing muscle imbalance and tightness.
In contrast, Dynamic stretching uses force production of a muscle and the body’s momentum to take a joint through its full available ROM (Range of Motion), or essentially movement without compensations. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of muscles on one side of a joint relaxing to accommodate contraction of mirrored muscle on other side of said joint (reciprocal inhibition) to improve the capability of soft tissue to be elongated. One can perform one set of up to ten repetitions using anywhere from three to ten dynamic stretches. This particular form of stretching, is more functional based, aiding in the increase of flexibility; the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion.
Returning back to our question, “which form of stretching should I be doing?” The proper answer to our previous question is being able to incorporate both. One example may be to perform some lower body dynamic stretches (hip swings and walking lunges) before a lower-body workout to warm you up. Once your workout is completed it would be a good idea to incorporate some static stretching, a small session lasting about five minutes in total. It might consist of kneeling hip flexor and standing adductor stretches, helping to decrease tightening of muscles after your workout.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to dabble with both forms of stretching. Remember each variation offers their own unique benefits to an individual. Take some time on a workout to experiment with both, maybe some people have a preference for one over the other. There is no superior form of stretching; it all depends on what you as a client are hoping to gain.