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Is stretching good for you?

stretching good

Making time for static stretching in your daily life for better wellness.

There seems to be some misunderstanding with the necessity of static stretching in your daily workouts. Many individuals seem to think that there is no value to static stretching based on some past studies that were presented in the media. What many of the studies are suggesting is that static stretching decreases muscle performance and therefore are a waste of a person or athletes time. The truth of the matter is this. If you hold a stretch for longer than 45 seconds there has been evidence that it will decrease the output of the given muscle. That being said static stretching is not a valuable tool for the beginning of your workout but is extremely beneficial at the end or before bed.

As a physical therapist assistant a significant amount of my patients issues can be traced back to tight musculature which leads to poor mechanics and inevitable injury. In many cases static stretching either done by the therapist or instructed to the patient with proper technique can help alleviate a vast number of their symptoms and gradually lead them back toward normal functioning.

Basics of static stretching

The stretches should be held for approximately 20-30 seconds to allow for muscles to adjust to new length tension.

You should perform 3 to 5 repetitions per stretch for the 20-30 sec hold.

The stretches should only be done to a mild pulling sensation. You should not have any pain or irritation with the stretch. It should be more comfortable than uncomfortable.

Static stretching should only take up about 10 mins of your time. Stretching for too long or overstretching actually has an adverse effect and can be more harmful than beneficial to you.

Some common useful stretches:


Pectoral Stretch



Upper-trapezius-stretch

Upper Trapezius Stretch



Levator-scapulae-stretch

Levator Scapulae Stretch



gastrocnemius-stretch

Gastrocnemius Stretch



soleus-stretch

Soleus Stretch



hamstring-stretch

Hamstring Stretch



Quadriceps-stretch

Quadriceps Stretch



itb-stretch

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Stretch



Piriformis-stretch

Piriformis Stretch


Conclusion

To review, don’t be mislead by certain studies that suggest static stretching is not beneficial to your health and well being. What is accurate is that it is more beneficial to you when it is done at the end of a workout or end of your day before bed and not at the beginning. It helps keep your muscles at a proper length for function and prevents tightening which can lead to mechanical injury. Remember 10 minutes a day can keep you in the gym or game and out of the doctors/physical therapy office.



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