Stretching is the process of placing parts of the body into a position that will lengthen, or elongate, the muscles and soft tissues
There are 3 different types of stretching exercises:
A static stretch is when a muscle group is stretched while the body is at rest (not moving). The stretch is held for 15-60 seconds. The benefits of static stretching include:
Below is a YouTube video showing a few dynamic stretches for the lower limb.
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching involving repetitive movement into a stretched position. It uses momentum to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion. It is performed for 1-2 minutes. The benefits of dynamic stretching include:
This type of stretching is used in sports with athletes. It is often performed passively, with the therapist performing the stretch on the athlete’s body. It uses a Hold-relax, contract-relax concept which is thought to allow the muscle to relax further after contracting, therefore allowing for a more significant stretch.
Click on the video link below to see an example of how PNF stretching is performed
Stretching type exercises are useful when combined with strength and aerobic exercises for reducing symptoms relating to osteoarthritis.
Evidence exists that plantar fascia stretching can reduce heel pain.
There is evidence for static stretching being beneficial in hamstring injury rehab. There is decreased time to regain range of motion and return to sports with a more intensive stretching program following hamstring injury.
Static stretches are best performed after exercise or training whereas dynamic stretches are most helpful performed before exercise and in combination with a warm-up.
Please remember to perform your stretches as directed by your therapist to ensure you get the best outcome!