I’ve discussed dynamic stretching in the previous post. Let’s see what static stretches are. First of all, they are great for cooling down after weight training or other kind of intensive training.
Static stretching – can be classified to active, passive, isometric and PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretches.
For example, standing straight up slide your right hand down the side of the right thigh towards the knee. Active static stretch creates tension in the agonist muscles which helps to relax antagonists (the muscles being stretched).
Active stretching increases active flexibility. The optimum duration of an active static stretch is 10-15 seconds. You can do them many times per day.
Passive static stretch is such stretch when you hold assumed stretching position with your own hand or other body part. Instead you may be assisted by your training partner or use the things around you to hold the stretch (wall, post, floor etc.).
For example, holding your extended leg up with your hand while laying on the floor. Passive static stretch using the floor example can be splits. Normally, these stretches are held for 10-30 seconds. You can use this type of stretching as often as you like.
Isometric static stretch is such stretch when you tense the muscle groups that are being stretched (continuously resist the stretch). Isometric stretching is more effective in developing flexibility than active and passive stretches due to processes caused by simultaneous stretching, contracting and relaxing of separate muscle fibres. Also you may find this type of stretching less painful. You can hold an isometric stretch the same way like passive stretching (with your own hand, partners assistance or using the things around you).
For example, laying on the floor and holding your extended leg up with your hand, while trying to push the straight leg down, or laying on the floor and pushing your raised straight legs against the wall.
A full session of isometric stretches is demanding on the muscles being stretched and should not be performed more than once per day for a given group of muscles (ideally, no more than once every 36 hours).
When you do isometric stretching, first assume passive stretch position then tense the stretched muscle for 7-15 seconds. Then rest (stop stretching) for at least 20 seconds. You can repeat the stretch a few times.
I will discuss PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) static stretches in my next post.