what you need to know about stretching

Fitness specialists say it’s the part of a training that most people tend to be lazy in it or skip overall. It can make a difference in how your muscles react to training. Stretching warms your muscles, and warm muscles are more applicable.

movement is dependent on the range of motion (ROM) available in movable joints. In general, ROM may be limited by 2 anatomical subjects: joints and muscles. Joint restraints include joint geometry and congruency as well as capsuloligamentous structure that surround the joint. Muscle provides both passive and active tensionstiff muscles can cause strain on the neighboring joints even during normal daily function let alone training, or they themselves can become injured.

For an instance, sitting all day long may result in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to straighten your leg or straighten your knee to full extend, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly ordered for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury.

Although we need stretching to stay healthy and fit for normal day to day functioning, Most stretching happens in an athletic context, and most of the reasons people give for stretching are sports-o-centric: warm-up and injury prevention, recovery and performance. The more general assumption, usually unstated, is that flexibility is a major component of fitness, on par with strength and endurance.


What types of stretches do we have?

Static stretch: stretching muscle to point of low discomfort and holding that position, normally for at least 30 seconds or more.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF): there are different types of PNF but generally PNF involves holding a stretch while contracting and relaxing the muscle. 

Dynamic stretch: involves gentle repetitive movements, such as leg swings, where one gradually increases the range of motion(ROM) of the movement, but always remains within the normal range of motion. 

Ballistic or bouncing stretches: going into a stretch and performing bouncing movements to increase range of motion.

The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching, helps muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. We are not saying that static stretching is bad, we just say there is a time for every type of stretch. Also keep in mind you should Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.

Also Some evidence suggests that it’s helpful to do stretches involving the muscles used most in your sport or activity. If you play soccer, for instance, stretch your hamstrings as you’re more vulnerable to hamstring strains.

Stretching muscles after training to relieve pain

The deep soreness that follows a hard workout (“delayed-onset muscle soreness” (DOMS) or sometimes just “post-training soreness”) is very uncomfortable and it does have an impact on performance. Many people believe that stretching can prevent or relieve it. But this definitely doesn’t work but nothing anyone has ever claimed as a treatment for it has actually passed a fair scientific test. Whatever minor effect stretching has on inflammation, it does not add up to a DOMS cure.

Stretching for symmetry

Everyone’s genetics for flexibility are a bit different. Rather than striving for the flexibility of a dancer or gymnast, focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury). Flexibility that is not equal on both sides may be a risk factor for injury. Instead Concentrate your stretches on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders and Make sure that you stretch both sides.

Also keep in mind Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can injure your muscle and actually contribute to muscle tightness specially in one side.


If you have a chronic condition or an injury, you might need to adjust your stretching techniques. For example, if you already have a strained muscle, stretching it may cause further harm. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.

Also remember that stretching doesn’t mean you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, won’t prevent an overuse injury.