Physiotherapy Types of Stretches

Stretching is where we stretch the connective tissue around muscles. We also assist with the sliding and gliding of muscles relative to others increasing mobility. By stretching we give the body more options for ways to move. Have you ever had to roll over a certain way because your back is stiff?

There are many different ways to stretch. Read some of the ways below.

Five different ways to Stretch

Some stretches focus on extended holds, while others employ dynamic movements, allowing tissues to smoothly interact. Specific stretches are designed to mobilize your nervous system within your tissues. Mindful stretching, where you consciously focus on the muscle or tissue lengthening, is most effective in my opinion. The power of the mind in influencing our flexibility is often underestimated. This is Yoga.

Did you know that we tend to become stiffer every year after the age of 29?

Combat this natural progression by incorporating regular stretches into your routine.

1. Dynamic or Ballistic Stretching:

Utilize momentum to stretch, mobilizing joints and nerves through muscles and fascia. This type of stretching primes the body for optimal performance, especially when tailored to the movements required in your chosen sport. It’s best to warm up before engaging in dynamic stretching to avoid potential injury.


2. PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation):

Release muscle tension by either contracting its opposite muscle or contracting it against resistance before relaxing. Ideal for recovering from injuries, PNF stretching can enhance range of motion more effectively than other methods. This technique often involves a partner to help provide resistance, or a surface you can press against. It is commonly performed with the guidance of a therapist or trainer.


3. Static or Sustained Stretching:

Hold stretches near the end of your range for about 30 seconds. Beyond this point, additional holding time provides no extra benefit to muscle length but may serve other purposes. Relaxation and controlled breathing during static stretches lead to more lasting results. Consistency is key – aim for five minutes of stretching per day, five times a week, focusing on each muscle group. Doing this in a Yoga class can make it more interesting and fun.


4. Mindful Stretching with Yoga:

Yoga embodies a unique approach, integrating interoception – an inner sense that goes beyond superficial muscles. By moving to the stretch point between “effort and ease” and breathing into the stretched area, yoga enhances flexibility effectively. Results often manifest within three weeks of regular practice.


5. Whole Body Stretches:

Recognizing the interconnectedness of our body’s connective tissue, or fascia, is vital. Tom Meyers’ discovery of fascial ‘slings’ running from head to toe, detailed in “Anatomy Trains,” aligns with the ancient wisdom of Yoga. This age-old practice, developed thousands of years ago, naturally follows these fascial lines, contributing to its holistic effectiveness.


Embrace the diversity of stretching methods, incorporating them into your routine for improved flexibility, enhanced athletic performance, and overall well-being.