It can be easy to think of stretching as one category, but there are actually several types of stretching and each have different benefits. As your needs and goals change, switching up your stretches can also change to help you progress. Let’s take a look at what different stretches there are and how each type of stretch can fit your needs.
Static stretching– this is the most well known type of stretching. You perform the stretch by holding the pose for around 30 seconds. This is best to do after activity or a workout. This type of stretch is also great to increase range of motion (ROM). Do this by holding 20-60 seconds. Do not perform this before workouts, but after.
- Static-active– this type of stretching involves movement to help you increase that ROM. You slowly move toward your extreme ROM (go passed what you normally stretch to) to maximize the stretch.
- Static-passive– this is the same except someone is assisting you for the stretch while you relax.
Static stretching is perfect for post-workout. All the stretches in our April stretch month involve static stretching. It allows your body to get a good stretch and helps flexibility, range of motion, and aches and pains.
Dynamic stretching– this stretch uses movement the whole time. It is typically used to warm-up for a sport or activity. It involves swinging arms or legs in a controlled manner. An example of this would be a runner doing exaggerated long strides down a track slowly to warm up for their event.
This is great for truck drivers to do once getting out of a truck because it will warm up muscles without going for a deep stretch. This would be jogging in place, arm circles, squats, etc.
Myofascial release– This type of stretching is a deep tissue manipulation which helps release tension from a muscle. This is done through either foam rolling or massage. A foam roller is an excellent item to use when you have chronic aches and pains that regular stretching can’t alleviate. It’s a great way to take a “massage therapist” on the road with you because foam rollers are very light and you can get small ones that can fit in a bag. This is highly recommended for a full body stretch, but can specifically target the back, legs, and feet.
Whether you’re warming up, trying to release tension, or increase your body’s ability to move better, stretching is the foundation. Practice dynamic stretching before a workout, static stretching after a workout, and myofascial for getting deep into those tight, achy muscles after a long day on the road. Your body will thank you for a getting your stretches in!