Introduction To The Four Types Of Stretching

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There are many benefits to stretching – it improves athletic performance, enhances recovery after exercise, and reduces your risk of injury.

Stretching wasn’t a part of mainstream fitness in the Western Hemisphere until the early 1950’s. In the past half-century though, it has gotten more and more popular.

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Here is a quick overview of the four main types of stretching:

Ballistic Stretching:

Back in the day, bouncy, ballistic stretches were the most common. Athletes and coaches thought that bouncing into a stretch was the best way to loosen up the muscles.

It turns out that the opposite is true: The muscles contract to protect themselves during bounces, and so resist lengthening with ballistic stretches.

Muscles can even be injured with ballistic stretching, so almost no athlete uses this method today.

Static Stretching:

This approach involves holding a stretch with little or no movement.

The standard method is to stretch out to your level of slight discomfort, then hold that position for 30 seconds to several minutes.

stretching girl for carson city stretching blog

Static stretching is the most popular style of stretching.


Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) has been found to be at least 15% more effective than static stretching.

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There are many protocols for PNF stretching, some of them are very complex.

Basically, you stretch and then contract a certain muscle group. Here’s an example:

1. Have a partner stretch your hamstrings and hold for 10 seconds
2. Push against your partner to contract your hamstrings for 5 seconds
3. Repeat 3 to 8 times
4. Always finish with a static stretch

Active Isolated:

Active isolated stretching is a method where you briefly assist a stretch with a rope or towel and repeat it several times.

You would stretch to the point of a bit of tension, hold for a 2 count, then release. Repeat 6 to 12 times. Do not bounce into the stretch!

Why should you stretch? Simple: It’s fun, easy, and the benefits to you are enormous!

Now get out there and stretch!

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