The Basics: 4 Types of Stretching

When it comes to stretching, not only are there many stretches to choose from; there are several types of stretches you can do. These categories are the four major classifications into which stretching can fall.

  1. Static Stretching: Static stretching is when the stretch itself is reached and held. In static stretches, you reach and stretch in a particular direction and when you’ve reached the edge of discomfort, you hold that position for 10-30 seconds. With static stretches, it is important to ensure that muscles are warmed up and that one does not overstretch. Static stretching is best used for increasing flexibility and reducing soreness after a workout.
  2. Dynamic Stretching: The opposite of static stretching is dynamic stretching, which creates a stretch through consistent movement. While dynamic stretching is not recommended for individuals who may have weakened joints or individuals who struggle with balance, it can be very useful when preparing for an athletic event or rigorous workout.
  3. Passive Stretching: A passive stretch is a stretch in which the muscles are fully relaxed during the stretch. This is best achieved via the assistance of a qualified trainer or practitioner who can move relaxed limbs into positions that will target specific areas in need of stretching. Keeping muscles relaxed allows for a deeper, more effective stretch, and therefore more enhanced flexibility.
  4. Active Stretching: An active stretch is one in which the muscles are engaged during the stretch. Think of the earlier definition of static stretching- in order to hold the static position, certain muscles- called “agonists”- will need to be engaged in order to keep your body where it needs to be. While this can be helpful for achieving stretches without assistance, it does not allow for as deep of a stretch as a passive stretch.

Choosing which type of stretch is best for you depends on your individual goals and flexibility aspirations. At Stretch Zone, we help our clients achieve those goals with practitioner-assisted stretching. To learn more about the Stretch Zone method, check out our About page.

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