Fitness

Advantages and Disadvantages of Static Stretching

What is Static Stretching?

Well first of all, you probably know that a stretch is an action that elongates your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This prepares  them for strenuous physical activity. In fact, stretching should always be done before any kind of exercise.

Static stretching is a category of this kind of action. It involves stretching while the body is in a state of rest. Static literally means “without movement,” and this kind of stretch is indeed that. Static stretches are  achieved gradually and held in a position for a certain amount of time, usually about 30 seconds. This is in opposition to dynamic stretching, which involves quick, repetitive movements to achieve a stretch.

Examples

Here are a few examples of static stretches

  • Butterfly stretches, for the groin
  • Toe touches, for the back of the leg
  • Arm raises, for the shoulder and upper back
  • Leg extensions, for the calves

Advantages of Static Stretching

  • A slow, easy pace conducive to relaxation and steadiness
  • Static stretching is probably the safest form of stretch. You can take your time and push yourself to the limit easily without worrying about accidentally pushing yourself too far
  • Static stretching is the best stretch to use for aches, pains and cramps. Dynamic stretching can irritate and worsen an issue
  • It can be done by almost anyone, with little training. It can even be done by people who are very out of shape or very weak for whatever reason

Disadvantages of Static Stretching

  • Can take a very long time,. especially if you’re going to do static stretches for the entire body
  • Lack of physical exertion means the body can cool down somewhat, making  it somewhat counterproductive in a warmup situation
  • Can only stretch a muscle within the body’s natural range of motion
  • It is not very effective for stretching certain muscle groups.

 

How to do it

One of the nice things about static stretching is that you can do without needed professional supervision or training. Keep in mind, however, that these things can help the effectiveness and efficiency of your stretching. Simply perform the stretch you want to do slowly and methodically. Achieve the desired position and hold it. You should feel a mild discomfort and warming sensation, but not pain. Hold the stretch for about thirty seconds. Be sure to stretch your body symmetrically in order to get consistent physical performance.

References

McMillian, D., et al. “Dynamic vs. Static- Stretching Warm Up: The Effect on Power and Agility Performance”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2006; 20(3): 492–499.
http://www.castonline.ilstu.edu/lagally/KNR%20451/uploads/RBarticle2.pdf

Young, W.; Behm, D. “Should Static Stretching be Used During a Warm-Up for Strength and Power Activities?”. National Strength & Conditioning Association. 2002; 24(6): 33-37.
http://www.portalsaudebrasil.com/artigospsb/flex011.pdf

Bandy, W.; Irion, J. “The Effect of Time on Static Stretch on the Flexibility of the Hamstring Muscles”. Physical Therapy. 1994; 74(9): 845-850.
http://physther.net/content/74/9/845.short

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