To stretch or not to stretch?
Whether, when and how to stretch? Before the sport? After the workout?
Countless questions and at least as many answers. Different prerequisites and goals, perspectives from different disciplines, scientific studies and personal experiences shape the diverse opinions.
What is stretching anyway? There are different types, such as static stretch, dynamic stretch or PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation).
Static Stre tch involves holding the stretch exercise for sometimes over 60 seconds. Static Stretch is recommended more after sports or as a separate training session.
The Dynamic Stre tch is a sequence of stretching and tightening (eccentric and concentric movements). As a warm-up exercise, the Dynamic Stretch is often adapted to the specific sport.
PNF is a mixture of static stretch and isometric contraction (change in tension without change in length of the muscle). PNF has its origin in therapy and rehabilitation.
A look at the research reveals more studies are called for that examine specific questions about stretching, because there are no clear answers to many questions (yet).1
Whether, when and how to stretch remains a question that has to be answered individually.
- Adapt the exercises to your body (e.g. several short sessions throughout the day or one intensive session).
- Pay attention to your breathing (count the breaths and not the seconds to avoid holding your breath)
- Combine stretching with other flexibility exercises or incorporate it into a workout session as a warm-up or cool-down.
Our trainers, sports therapists or chiropractors will be happy to help you find an individualized stretch routine.
1 David G. Behm, Anthony J. Blazevich, Anthony D. Kay, and Malachy McHugh. Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 41(1): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2015-0235