The best way to stretch

We often get asked how to stretch best. In general, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching has resulted in greater increases in range of motion compared with static or ballistic stretching. PNF is a set of stretching techniques commonly used in clinical environments to enhance both active and passive range of motion with the ultimate goal being to optimize motor performance and rehabilitation. Static stretches are a bit easier to do and appear to have good results. Studies indicate that continuous stretching without rest may be better than cyclic stretching (applying a stretch, relaxing, and reapplying the stretch) Most experts believe ballistic, or bouncing during a stretch, is dangerous because the muscle may reflexively contract if restretched quickly following a short relaxation period. Such eccentric contractions are believed to increase the risk of injury. You don’t like an injury. Just trust me on that.

In addition to improving range of motion, stretching is extremely relaxing and most athletes use stretching exercises to maintain a balance in body mechanics, besides it feels good doing it!

Some tips from me from my ballet point of view

  • Leave 48 hours between heavy stretching routines.
  • Perform only one exercise per muscle group in a session.
  • For each muscle group complete 2-5 sets of the chosen exercise.
  • Each set should consist of one stretch held for up to 30 seconds after the contracting phase.
  • PNF stretching is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. (unless you’re a ballet dancer)
  • If heavy stretching is to be performed as a separate exercise session, a thorough warm up consisting of 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise and some dynamic stretches must precede it.

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Paultje and Team Model Workout

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