Stretching should be done after a sufficient warm-up, this is crucial as stretching when muscles are cold can contribute to pulled or injured muscles. Stretching properly may reduce muscle injuries and improve athletic performance. In addition, stretching provides:
- Increased flexibility and range of motion
- Assistance for injury prevention
- Prevention of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
- Improved posture
- Assistance towards stress relief
Dynamic stretching improves range of motion and is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.
Static sustained stretches involve holding a position to improve the range of motion of a joint or a muscle. They should be minimally challenging but comfortable.
So which type of stretching should you be doing?
If your end goal is to improve your flexibility and range of motion both static and dynamic stretching will help.
Dynamic stretching is a crucial part of a warm up routine, or before a game or event. Dynamic stretching has been proven to be more effective in preparing muscles by increasing the temperature of the muscles as well as improving general stretch tolerance.
Slower static stretching can help improve the elasticity and flexibility of muscles over time. Static stretches are not recommended pre-game as research shows that stretches held over 60-seconds pre-match actually worsen performance.