Stretching Videos: Dynamic vs Static Stretching and How Long Should You Stretch For?
Video 1: Static Versus Dynamic Stretching Before Running
This is a video for all of you that like to run.
What I have noticed in the clinic these days is that a lot of my patients want to start running. Right now it’s winter and many people want to start losing weight before we get to summer.
A common problem I see is that a lot of people don’t know how to stretch out before their run. We were all taught those stretches in PE class, those static stretches where you hold it for a couple of seconds and then you stretch out the other leg.
- Unfortunately, a lot of studies have shown that this actually relaxes the muscle
- It doesn’t get you ready for running
- It also does not prevent you from injury and it doesn’t stop you from getting that muscle soreness.
So what stretches are the best stretches for you to do before your run?
The best warm up is to do dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are still taking those joints to those end ranges for flexibility but not necessarily holding it in that position.
What are the best dynamic stretches?
I find the best dynamic stretches are:
- The high knees
- The butt kicks, and
- The leg swings
These dynamic stretches are great because they encourage blood flow to the area and get your body ready for the actual movement. This is compared to static stretches, where you stretch out the muscle and relax it: this doesn’t get you ready for the run at all.
Video 2: How Long and How Often Should I Stretch For?
Often when people start feeling stiff in their joints, the first thing they want to do is start stretching. What becomes very confusing for a lot of people is how long they should stretch for and how often.
Lots of the research revolving around this topic has focused on the flexibility of stretching out the hamstring.
Here is a copy of the research for you to read and review yourself (or just skip down to my notes below if you don’t want to read this!).
The Effect of Time and Frequency of Static Stretching on Flexibility of the Hamstring Muscles.
Background and Purpose.
Frequency and duration of static stretching have not been extensively examined. Additionally, the effect of multiple stretches per day has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal time and frequency of static stretching to increase flexibility of the hamstring muscles, as measured by knee extension range of motion (ROM).
Ninety-three subjects (61 men. 32 women) ranging in age from 21 to 39 years and who had limited hamstring muscle flexibility were randomly assigned to one of five groups. The four stretching groups stretched 5 days per week for 6 weeks. The fifth group, which served as a control, did not stretch.
Data were analysed with a 5 x 2 (group X test) two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures on one variable (test).
The change in flexibility appeared to be dependent on the duration and frequency of stretching. Further statistical analysis of the data indicated that the groups that stretched had more ROM than did the control group, but no differences were found among the stretching groups.
Conclusion and Discussion.
The results of this study suggest that a 30-second duration is an effective amount of time to sustain a hamstring muscle stretch in order to increase ROM. No increase in flexibility occurred when the duration of stretching was increased from 30 to 60 seconds or when the frequency of stretching was increased from one to three times per day.
(Bandy WD, Irion JM, Briggler M. The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on flexibility of the hamstring muscles. Phys Thr. 1997:77:1090-1096).
According to this research, statically stretching out the hamstrings does increase its flexibility, but what they did find was that there was no added benefit for stretching it for 30 seconds compared to 60 seconds.
And what they also found was that there was no difference between stretching once a day compared to three times a day.
So if we were looking at the bare minimum amount of work for you to see results from your stretching, you should be stretching at least 30 seconds per muscle one time a day.
Keep in mind, this study was performed over a six week period, so it can take at least six weeks or even more for you to see any results from your daily stretching regime.
So the take home message for today is to be consistent with whichever stretch you choose.
Find Out More
I hope these videos were helpful, give us a few likes if it was. Comment in the section below if you have any more questions and we will see you soon.
If you want to address your health challenges, if you want to reduce bodily aches and pains and if you want greater mobility and flexibility, contact me in the Inner West suburb of Dulwich Hill today.
My Back Relief Clinic
Suite B 390 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203