Most people will underestimate the importance of stretching. However, stretching has many benefits such as, decreasing your risk for injury, increasing blood flow, improving sports performance, keeping muscular balance, and allowing you to be more flexible. There are seven types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, active, passive, static, isometric, and PNF.

Ballistic stretching is considered not to be useful and can cause injuries because your body does not have time to adjust and relax in the stretched position. An example of ballistic stretching consists of starting in the standing position and then bending over bouncing touching your fingers to your toes. Ballistic stretching is often confused with dynamic stretching. However, the big difference is ballistic stretching is pushing your body past it limits and the movement is jerky.

Dynamic Stretching is one of the most beneficial types of stretching. Most athletes use this type of stretching along with PNF stretching which will be described later in this blog. Dynamic stretching can sometimes be confused with ballistic stretching but they are much different. Dynamic stretching is slow controlled and smooth movements. An example of dynamic stretching is arm swings. Stand in the upright position and extend your arms out and start with making small circles and gradually increase the size of the circles.

Passive Stretching is similar to static stretching but you have assistance. This type of stretching is often used after a workout. For example lie on your back and pull your leg up to stretch your hamstring and hold your leg up with your hands or a towel.
Static Stretching is probably the most common type of stretching. This is often seen with hamstring stretching in which a person will bend over and touch their toes. Holding this position for 30 – 45 seconds will create the stretch. This type of stretching is very beneficial after exercising because it is the easiest type of stretching to do on your own.

Isometric Stretching is when you contract (tighten) your muscles without motion. An example of this is sitting on the floor with your legs extended out and contracting your quadriceps. Keep your quads tighten for 10 seconds and then relax them. This is a great stretching technique that is often overlooked. It does not require another person to help you and it is very simple.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Stretching (PNF) is the quickest way to increase flexibility. This stretching method requires another person to help. For example lye on your back and have someone hold up your leg to stretch your hamstrings. The person assisting you will push your leg until you fell the stretch. Then push your leg against them and hold it for 10 seconds and then you relax for 3 seconds. The person assisting you moves your leg to stretches you a little more. You repeat this 3 times.

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