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Dynamic VS Static Stretching.

Stretching is an important component of physical fitness and without it, your joints can stiffen and your risk of injury increases. The American Council on Exercise recommends that a fitness program include 30 minutes of stretching three times a week and stretching every day is recommended if you have lost flexibility. That not inclusive of any time spent at the gym or outside doing any actual physical exertion (weights, running etc.). For something that is so highly recommended and comes as an essential ingredient in the health and fitness realm, stretching is so widely misunderstood.

Static stretching and Dynamic stretching are two terms that I have heard tossed around quite flippantly, with a majority of individuals not utilising either techniques when working out so I hope that this post sheds some light on the matter and can motivate others to utilise the technique more.

Static and dynamic are two stretching techniques that can help you maintain flexibility or prepare your body for a vigorous activity and help it recover. Dynamic stretches involve slow and controlled movements through a complete range of motion, and should be specific to the exercise you are about to do. Static stretches apply force to a muscle and are held for 15 to 30 seconds at a time.


Static Stretching Explained

A static stretch involves stretching your muscle to a point where you feel a slight discomfort, but not to the point where you feel pain. The stretch and your position are then held with no movement for a period of time. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends holding the stretch 15 to 30 seconds and performing it three to five times. When done correctly, static stretches are relatively safe and can improve your flexibility. An example of a static stretch is the seated hamstring stretch. This is where you sit on the floor, extend your legs straight out in front of you and lean forward until you feel the stretch at the back of your thighs.

Dynamic Stretching Explained

Perform dynamic stretches before a workout to prepare the muscles you plan to use. When you perform dynamic stretches, instead of holding the stretch for a period of time, you repeatedly move your joints and muscles through a full range of motion. Dynamic stretches also improve your flexibility and help reduce risk of injury. Your movements are controlled and deliberate and are meant to mimic the movements your joints and muscles go through in a specific sport or activity. An example of a dynamic stretch is standing heel dips. This is where you stand on the edge of a step and slowly and controllably lower your heels to stretch your calf muscles and the backs of your ankles. You then raise yourself all the way up, pushing down with your toes, and repeat.

Stretching Mistakes

Stretching is most effective when done properly. Avoid stretching cold muscles as this increases the risk of injury. Perform a short warm-up to get blood flowing to your muscles. Avoid quick, bouncing or jerking movements when doing static stretches because this could result in muscle tears and pulls. It is better to hold a stretch or move in a slow, controlled way to minimize the risk of injury. Finally, listen to your body and don’t push a muscle too far. Stretching should not be painful and if you have stretched to the point of pain, ease back slightly.


Caley Olesen

This post was written by Dr Caley Olesen.

You can find out more about Caley here or book an appointment here.

Alternatively, you can call the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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