The 3 Best Stretches and Tips to Know When and How to Stretch Safely.

Should I Stretch Before or After Exercise?

Stretching before and after exercise has been questioned in the last few years. Some sources are suggesting that you do not stretch before exercise and others are stating not to stretch at all. I know when I do not stretch that I am tight and sore the next day. Keeping my muscles flexible reduces soft tissue restrictions and potential injury, but the key is to know HOW and WHEN to stretch.

3 Best Stretches for Performance and Flexibility

  • Dynamic Stretching– is active and prepares the muscles for performance. Should be performed prior to activity or athletic performance.
  • Slow prolonged stretch: is used to reduce spasticity and lengthen tight muscles after exercise or a long work day.
    • TIP: Take up the slack and hold, wait for the muscle to melt, and follow it to the end and then you are done. Takes 90 to 180 seconds for the muscle to relax.
  • Contract relax Advanced Stretching technique. The purpose is to reduce tight overactive muscles. A good technique to reduce tight muscles from holding static positions during the workday. Have someone trained in contract-relax teach you how to perform.
    • Example: for tight upper trap muscles, bring shoulders to ears hold for 5 sec then relax and let your shoulders drop.

How do I Know When Stretching is Not Safe?

Caution#1: Do not let someone else stretch you unless they are trained. An untrained person stretching you can push too far resulting in small muscle tears.

Caution#2: Stop any stretch that results in shooting pain, tingling, or burning pain. This indicates that you are stretching a nerve that is trapped or irritated. A Physical Therapist can teach you nerve glides to perform to alleviate these symptoms.

Do Stretching straps help?

  • The answer is yes, but you can certainly stretch well without a strap. The straps help you to control your stretch for long periods of time and allow you to achieve stretching positions that may be difficult to achieve due to limitations in arm’s length or body position. The strap is used for slow prolonged stretching, Not for dynamic stretching. #affiliatelink#commission earned. Use the following link to view or purchase a multi-loop stretching strap.

If you have questions regarding stretching, text or call 803-831-1454 and a physical therapist will be happy to answer your questions. We offer in-person and telehealth options.

These tips are not to replace recommendations by your physical therapist or physician. Never start a new exercise routine without consulting your physician, physical therapist, or personal trainer.