Static stretching vs. dynamic stretching: Which is the best?

Ten years ago we were told not to stretch before exercise. Now it’s the opposite. When it comes to static stretching vs. dynamic stretching, which is best?

Stretching is essential to improving your health, muscle tone and most importantly, flexibility. However, flexibility is often overlooked and generally not the main focus of workouts and fitness programmes.

There are several different types of stretching, static, dynamic, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). In this blog post, we’re going to focus on static stretching vs. dynamic stretching. A subject open to much debate. For more information on PNF stretching check out our recent post.

What is static stretching?

Static stretching is probably the most common type of stretching. With static stretching, you stretch a muscle or group of muscles by holding the stretch for a period of time. The stretch is usually held for 15-60 seconds. This is then repeated 2–4 times.

Static stretching seems to be subject to conflicting opinion. Michael Boyle states in his book NEW FUNCTIONAL TRAINING FOR SPORTS that static stretching has gone from being the best way to warm up to being something no-one should ever do again. Research in the 1980’s found that static stretching before exercise could decrease muscle power. Some sports such as football (soccer) are against static stretching because of the research supporting this. However, other research suggests that static stretching has been found to effectively increase flexibility and range of motion (RoM).

Some research has suggested the use of static stretching is more appropriate for the cool down.

What is dynamic stretching?

Dynamic stretching is a more functionally oriented stretch. Sport specific movements are used to move the limbs through greater RoM. It involves whole body movements and actively moving a joint passed its RoM without holding the movement at its endpoint. This is usually repeated around 10-12 times. Although dynamic stretching requires more thoughtful coordination than static stretching, it has gained popularity with athletes, coaches and trainers. Research has shown that dynamic stretching is effective for increasing flexibility, maximal muscle strength, sprint and vertical jump performance. However, other studies show that dynamic stretching has no effect on strength and performance. Source:

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