Types of Stretches

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Types of Stretches

Stretches typically fall into one of five technique types:

  • Dynamic Stretching - which involve movement while gradually increasing range. For examples of dynamic stretches, please visit the section focused on dynamic warm-up routines.
  • Passive Stretching - which involves assuming a position and holding it (this is what most people think of when they consider stretching)
  • Active Stretching - which involves using the opposite (called antagonist) muscle to the muscle we are stretching
  • Isometric Stretching - which involve "tricking" our built-in instincts into allowing deeper stretching
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching - which is a close cousin of isometric stretching

Isometric stretches and PNF stretches should only be used by experienced martial artists, or under strict and knowledgeable supervision. Tearing a muscle due to over stretching is never fun, and can lead to long recovery times and even permanent damage.

Having a basic understanding of how our muscles and reflexes work is very helpful if your aim is to stretch safely and effectively. According to Full Potential Martial Arts in San Diego, the main organs that affect our ability to stretch are the following:

  • Our muscle fibers (of course)
  • Spindle cell stretch receptors, which are part of our neural system, and react in response to stretching in the muscles
  • Golgi tendon organ, which senses when our tendons are placed under high strain

References

  1. Full Potential Martial Arts, San Diego, Stretching and Flexibilty for Martial Arts — Theory and Practice — what's better?, http://www.fullpotentialma.com/stretching-flexibility-martial-arts/, Added - 7/2/14


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