Here are some notes on stretching that are important to consider when doing your flexibility programs. Remember that Can Fit Pro recommends stretching 4-7 days/week- more than cardio and strength. Your muscles need to be stretched and lengthened every day to avoid shortening and the discomfort and impairment of the resulting limited range of motion.
Dynamic Stretching: This is stretching that takes a body part through a range of motion. It involves gentle movement which typically mimicks the activities you are preparing for. This is ideal for a warm up program. The body is not yet warm and so can be less flexible to static positions. I always recommend beginning with a full body head-to-toe, followed by any additional stretches to target key areas.
This is a great routine for a wake up stretch.
It is important to be aware of form with dynamic stretching. Do not swing the body through movements, but rather try to lift it through the range of motion with slow, gentle and smooth precision. Each repetition should increase the ROM slightly.
Static Stretching: This is commonly what we think of when we think about stretching, and involves holding the body in a position with resistance. These postures are static and are meant to be held for 20-30 seconds, after which time the stretch can typically be deepened for an additional 20 seconds. These stretches are best when the muscles are warmer and therefore make an excellent cool down program.
This is a great routine for a before bed stretch.
It is important to maintain body alignment in static positions to avoid hyperextension and/or joint impairment. It is important to release static stretches very slowly!
Enjoy stretching! Every day you increase your mobility incrementally and before you know it you will have more ROM than you ever did before! I encourage people to focus on the hamstrings and lower back, and upper back and chest, as these are very common areas of extreme tension.