Stretching can feel challenging but rewarding and evidence supports it’s health benefits. But with different types and duration of stretches, it can be hard to understand what is best for your body. Here is an introduction to three different types of stretching commonly used in Physiotherapy management, as well as in your classes at Core.
Your best stretch!
Holding a stretch in a challenging but sustainable position for 15-30 seconds.
Can be active (holding it yourself) or passive (someone else or other apparatus holding for you. For example, some of our pilates equipment).
Ideal as part of a warm down, as it aids in lowering your heart rate following exercise and has been proven to improve joint range of motion when held for 15-30 seconds.
Involves moving a limb or body part through full range of motion to end range and repeating several times.
Has been proven to improve muscle strength immediately following, so is ideal for a warm up prior to competitive sport.
Has also been proven to increase joint range of motion.
Pre contraction Stretching
Involves contracting the muscle you aim to stretch followed by a “relax” phase, where an increased range of motion is found. The resistance during the contraction can be provided by a therapist or other apparatus such as an elastic exercise band or various Pilates apparatus.
Studies show this is the most effective for immediate, safe gains in range of motion/ flexibility. This can be especially helpful in Physiotherapy guided rehabilitation of joint replacements or returning to activity after a break as well as many other conditions or injuries.
Literature suggests that the benefits of stretching are individual to the population studied. This means, you will greatly benefit from asking your Physiotherapist at Core what stretches will best help you achieve your goals. Whether they are to do up your shoes easier, lower your golf handicap or feel less stiff at the end of a long day in the office – ask us about your best stretch.
Lauren Charlton, Physiotherapist