Not All Stretching is The Same: 3 Ways to Stretch

There are many different ways to stretch muscles. Each way is different and has its own benefits. Stretching requires movement of a body segment past its usual range of motion. Force is applied to stress further the range of motion. Stretching can be performed either by your own body or with assistance. An active stretch occurs when you do the stretch yourself. However, a passive stress occurs with assistance. For example, using a stretching machine or partner stretching.

Let’s learn more about each and get stretching!

Static stretch

This type of stretch is slow and constant. The stretch is held for 15 to 30 seconds without movement. The likelihood of sustaining an injury while static stretching is minimal. Low injury risk is due because a slow stress does not trigger a stretch reflex. Static stretching is generally easy to teach and learn. Further, this stretch has been shown to improve flexibility and range of motion. We recommend this type of stretch to anyone who wants to increase flexibility.

Ballistic stretch

Ballistic stretching typically involves an active muscle effort. It uses a bouncing type movement that does not hold the end position.  It is often used in the pre-warmup for the athletic events. However, this stretch can cause injury if not appropriately controlled or sequenced. This causes those with previous injuries need to be extra careful when performing ballistic stretching.

Ballistic stretching usually triggers the stretch relax that does not allow the involved muscle to relax, which may limit range of motion. Since ballistic stretching has been shown to be as effective as static stretching in enhancing range of motion, it also can be used for range of motion improvements. So, when choosing between the static and ballistic stretching, it comes down to your preference. 

Dynamic stretch

Dynamic stretch is a type of functional-based stretching exercise that uses sport generic and sport specific movement to prepare the body for activity. It can also be called or refer to as mobility drills. When performing dynamic stretch is placed on the movement requirements of the sport or activity, rather than on individual muscles. Essentially, one can think of dynamic stretching as actively moving a joint through the range of motion encountered in a sport.

Dynamic stretching avoids bouncing is performed in a more controlled manner than ballistic stretching. Although when performing such stretches, the range of motion may not improve as much as ballistic stretch. However, dynamic stretching demonstrates the control required to be able to actively move through ROM. Overall, dynamic stretching is very sport/movements specific stretch. 

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Check out how to create a stretching program if you want to learn more. In addition, we have some quick and easy stretches to do if you’re going on a road trip this summer!

Moreover, New Jersey has direct access that can get you in for evaluation without you having to see a doctor. In short, calling us directly can end up saving you both time and money!

Call us to schedule an evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy or check us out on Instagram!