Dynamic Stretching Works Before Exercise – Sort Of: What Is Dynamic Stretching?
The word “stretch” might sound like something that would make your spine hurt or cause pain, but it’s actually not so bad if done correctly. A good stretch is one that doesn’t involve any movement at all. You don’t need to move your muscles either; they just have to lengthen their length. For example, when you bend over to pick up a book, your muscles are stretched out and shortened. Your body is doing its job by extending and contracting. However, when you extend your legs forward while keeping them straight (as in the picture above), you’re not really stretching anything because there isn’t any muscle contraction involved. If the leg extends too far forward or back without any resistance from gravity or some other force, then it becomes called a static stretch. Static stretches are usually painful. They tend to shorten the muscles and increase blood flow to the area. However, these kinds of stretches aren’t necessary for optimal health and they can even be harmful.
Static stretching is often used during weight training exercises where you want to strengthen certain parts of your body such as your arms or legs. For example, if you want to improve your grip strength, you’ll probably do arm curls instead of dumbbell curls with weights. Dynamic stretching is a perfect way to improve your grip strength while getting blood flow to the target muscle. If you’re going to work out using arm curls, then you would want to do dynamic stretching before and after the exercise. You could also use static stretching for about twenty seconds directly before the arm curl if you really wanted to improve your strength without equipment.
PNF Stretching: What Is It Anyway?
PNF stretching is an exercise designed to improve your flexibility. It stands for “proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation”, which is a fancy way of saying that it helps increase the body’s range of motion through successive contraction and relaxation of muscles. Basically, it allows you to stretch your muscles further than you would be able to during static stretching alone. You can achieve this by doing a standard static stretch in every position for one second.
Sources & references used in this article:
Acute effects of different stretching exercises on muscular endurance by BL Franco, GR Signorelli, GS Trajano… – The Journal of …, 2008 – journals.lww.com
A prophylactic effect of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching on symptoms of muscle damage induced by eccentric exercise of the wrist extensors by P Khamwong, U Pirunsan, A Paungmali – Journal of bodywork and …, 2011 – Elsevier
The effect of static, ballistic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching on vertical jump performance by PS Bradley, PD Olsen, MD Portas – Journal of Strength and …, 2007 – academia.edu
Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review by DG Behm, AJ Blazevich, AD Kay… – Applied physiology …, 2016 – NRC Research Press
No difference in pre-and postexercise stretching on flexibility by BB Beedle, SN Leydig… – Journal of Strength and …, 2007 – search.proquest.com
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF): Its mechanisms and effects on range of motion and muscular function by K Hindle, T Whitcomb, W Briggs… – Journal of human …, 2012 – content.sciendo.com