Have you heard the buzz about static stretching? Static stretching are the exercises that are used to elongate the muscles typically to prepare the muscle groups for a work out. Athletes made passive static stretching popular in the gym community there has been some debate in the last few years as to whether this type of warm up has any real value.
No matter what side of the fence you sit on the static stretching debate these exercises should not be considered as useless. They are a very important factor in range of motion and prevention of injuries.
The studies that were released were geared toward athletic ability and whether it was enhanced or hindered by these type of stretching exercises. The studies found that the muscle groups were slower to contract after these stretching exercises which “could” be detrimental to an athlete.
These stretching exercises are very important to anyone that is not competing for the Olympic Gold.
Static Stretching is a slow constant stretch. A good example is the ham string stretch. You lie on your back face up and slowly move your leg outward toward your shoulder as far as you can by pulling your leg up and hold it for a count of up to 30 (initially as long as you can even if it is a 5 second count). Over time your muscle will elongate and allow you to bring your leg closer and closer to your shoulder.
The goal with Static Stretching is to elongate the muscles over time. This type of stretching done without a partner is called active static stretching.
Static stretching can also be done with a partner. For example doing the ham string stretch but instead of you pulling your leg up your partner does, so technically your activity is passive you are simply allowing your leg to be pulled by your partner!
Long Term and Short Term
With a partner or without you can use static stretching as a regular exercise tool that will increase your range of motion over time in the long term. In the short term you can still use these types of stretching exercises to warm up for your work out and to help heat up your muscles to avoid injuries.
Static stretching has been around and used by both trainers and individuals to ready bodies for their work out.