Before you begin your workout, it is always a good idea to complete a few pre workout stretching exercises. Taking a few minutes to stretch can help you focus and prepare yourself to get the most out of your workout. There are different kinds of stretches that achieve different results, and you should know exactly how your muscles are affected by each one to enjoy a safe and beneficial workout.
Stretching a muscle in a single position to the point of mild discomfort for roughly 30 seconds. Muscles are stretched to an elongated position until you feel a slight pull. Static stretching improves flexablity and many people complete a few static stretches before starting their workout.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
Holding a stretch while contracting and relaxing the muscle can help improve range of motion and is often used as a clinical rehabilitation technique. The combination of hold, relax and contract stretches used in PNF stretching routines allows for rapid gains in range of motion.
Repetitive movements within one’s range of motion will gradually increase one’s range of motion. One example would be arm swings where the person exercising rotates back and forth to increase oxygen and blood flow to their muscle tissues. This kind of streching is gaining traction as the preferred stretch of coaches and athletes before sporting events.
Once engaged in a stretch, the person stretching will bounce or jerk back and fourth, increasing their range of motion. Some health professionals warn that ballastic stretching can lead to injury caused by muscles tightening.