Welcome to Empower Physical Therapy & Performance’s resource for Stretching.
It is hard to ‘stretch’ your mind around the hundreds of ways to stretch your body. Whether it be to assist an injury or just to become more flexible, stretching is an integral part of keeping the body fit and healthy, but what is the best way to stretch, and what are the most important things to remember when doing so? This article will provide you with tips and practical advice that will help you stretch better. If you have a specific injury you are dealing with or a specific area you feel needs extra stretching you should book in to see your Physical Therapist at Empower Physical Therapy & Performance to get an individualized assessment and personalized advice on the best stretching program for you. Remember, just because something feels tight, that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be stretched!
Despite years of athletes of all levels performing long static stretches before their event or exercise there has been an overwhelming volume of evidence that has actually shown that these types of stretches do not reduce the incidents of injury and may actually be slightly harmful rather than helpful to the athlete when done prior to exercise! In addition, rather than assist the body to perform better in the impending exercise, long-hold static stretches have been shown to activate a reflex within the body that actually inhibits the muscles ability to fire. To put this in simple terms, you wouldn’t be able to jump as high after performing static stretches as you would if you didn’t perform them! The conclusion that has been drawn is that in order to prepare the body for muscular performance and to avoid injury, a combination of a general body warm up, a neuromuscular warm up, along with dynamic-type stretches (rather than static-type ones) are actually more beneficial.