When and What type of Stretching should athletes implement?
Stretching can be an awesome tool to warm up or cool down your body, gain or maintain range of motion, and well, keep you feeling flexible! But what KIND of stretching should you do WHEN?
It is recommended that static stretching should NOT be a part of most warm up routines as it can adversely affect muscle performance and running or jumping performance. So then how do you get the mobility you want before you exercise? Good news! Dynamic stretching, is NOT associated with any performance deficits. So, incorporate DYNAMIC stretching into your warm up routine instead.
If you are still set on static stretching in your warm up routine, keep the stretches under 30 seconds and follow it up with a dynamic stretch of the same muscle group.
-Position is HELD with the muscle on tension for a length of time
-Best in a cool down routine, after exercise
-Stretch held 15-30 seconds, perform 2-4 reps
-Controlled MOVEMENT through a full range of motion repeatedly
-Best in a warm up routine, before exercise
-No hold time OR stretch held for maximum 3-5 seconds, perform 10-15 reps
Where these recommendations may not hold true:
- Sports such as dancing and gymnastics where flexibility is a key component of the sport itself; static stretching in the warm up is more beneficial!
- Injuries such as hamstring strain; static stretching in a pain free range will be gentler and safer on the healing tissues.
- Adults older than 65 years old; benefit from longer hold times in static stretching such as 1 minute.