Stretching is a separate area of ​​fitness. Exercises aim to profound study and stretch the body’s muscles and the development of its elasticity. It is a set of gymnastic movements suitable for people of all ages and levels of physical fitness.

Stretching is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and a beautiful body. It is present in any set of exercises. The benefits of stretching are vital in minimizing the risk of injury, improving fitness outcomes, and developing flexibility.

WHAT IS STRETCHING?

Unlike stretching at home, assisted stretching is a personalized procedure performed by trained practitioners.

Some muscles cannot be effectively stretched with independent exercise. You may inadvertently seek “light stretching,” which will lead to poor results, and improper positioning can lead to damage. 

Assisted stretching allows us to control the intensity and frequency of stretching for optimal results.

Static Stretching

The most common type of stretching, static stretching, is performed by stretching a target muscle group to its maximum point and holding it for 30 seconds or more.

There are two types of static stretching:

Active: extra force is applied by the person for greater intensity

Passive: Additional pressure is used by an external party (such as a partner or assistive device) to increase power.

Dynamic Stretching

Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching requires continuous movement patterns that mimic the exercise or sport. Dynamic stretching aims to improve flexibility for a given sport or activity.

An example of dynamic stretching would be a sprinter taking enormous, exaggerated strides to prepare for a race.

Ballistic Stretching

This type of stretch is commonly used for athletic exercise and uses repetitive bouncing movements to stretch the target muscle group. These bouncing movements usually trigger a stretch reflex and can pose an increased risk of injury. They can be done at low speed or high speed and preceded by static stretching.

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Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)

 

It is performed many times for several repetitions, each time exceeding the previous point of resistance by several degrees. AIS is conducted in several sets with a certain number of repetitions.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial relaxation relieves tension by using a foam roller or similar device. It improves the flexibility of the fascia (a tightly interwoven specialized system of connective tissue that covers and connects all parts of the body) and underlying muscles. 

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)

This type of stretching is based on the use of autogenous and reciprocal inhibition and includes three types of techniques:

  • Hold-relax
  • Perform a passive 10-second pre-stretch.
  • Hold and resist force applied by the fitness professional, causing an isometric contraction in the target muscle group for six seconds.
  • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch; hold for 30 seconds to increase range of motion (ROM).
  • There should be a more significant stretch during this final phase due to autogenic inhibition.
  • Contract-relax
  • Perform a passive 10-second pre-stretch.
  • The fitness professional applies resistance, counteracting the client’s force of the target muscle group’s concentric contraction without completely restricting the joint through its ROM.
  • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch; hold for 30 seconds to increase ROM.
  • There should be a more significant stretch during this final phase due to autogenic inhibition.
  • Hold-relax with agonist contraction
  • This technique is similar to the Hold-relax technique but differs for the final stretch.
  • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch. Concentrically contract the opposing muscle group of the target muscle group that is being stretched; hold for 30 seconds to increase ROM.
  • Due to reciprocal and autogenic inhibition, there should be a more significant stretch during this final phase.

Neural Stretching

Neural stretching refers to stretching the structures of the nervous system. It is necessary for injuries with excess neural tension, such as muscle-related sciatic pain.

You can find it in the neck, shoulder, or pelvis area.

Neural stretches are adaptations of neural tension tests, such as the slump and upper limb tension tests.

The limb is taken to the point of stretch and held for a maximum of 10 seconds, although initially, this may be as little as 3-4 seconds to avoid causing damage to the nerves.

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