Do you feel tight before, after, or during your workouts? It's your body's way of telling you to give your muscles a good stretch!
Because there are SO many different ways to stretch, I wanted to share some of my favorite techniques!
Whether I am teaching a bootcamp or working one on one with a private client, I always begin the workout with dynamic stretches—moves that get their bodies moving while also loosening up their muscles. Once we are finished with the workout, I implement a series of static stretching to target specific muscle groups and to bring their heart rate down.
If the studio or the client has a foam roller on hand, I will use one of my favorite forms of stretching, myofascial release, before and after their workout. Foam rolling applies pressure and really releases any tension in the muscles.
As an ACE Certified Personal trainer, I love to use their definitions to help you understand the different types of stretches.
Dynamic Stretching: Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching requires the use of continuous movement patterns that mimic the exercise or sport to be performed. Generally speaking, the purpose of dynamic stretching is to improve flexibility for a given sport or activity.
An example of dynamic stretching would be a sprinter doing long, exaggerated strides to prepare for a race.
Static Stretching: The most common stretching technique, static stretching is executed by extending the targeted muscle group to its maximal point and holding it for 30 seconds or more. Usually performed after your workout.
There are two types of static stretches:
- Active: Added force is applied by the individual for greater intensity
- Passive: Added force is applied by an external force (e.g., partner or assistive device) to increase intensity
Myofascial Release: Through the use of a foam roller or similar device, myofascial release relieves tension and improves flexibility in the fascia (a densely woven specialized system of connective tissue that covers and unites all of the body’s compartments), and underlying muscle. Small, continuous back-and-forth movements are performed over an area of 2 to 6 inches for 30 to 60 seconds. The individual’s pain tolerance will determine the amount of pressure applied to the target area.
Enjoy your workouts, and don’t forget to stretch before and after!