One of the most common gym mistakes I see made is in the warm up. So many people have been taught or assume stretching is all the same, right? Wrong. There are actually 7 types of stretching methods:
- ballistic stretching: using your body’s momentum to attempt to move a limb passed normal range of motion
- active stretching: holding a stretching with no assistance from anything or anyone
- static stretching: stretching a muscle the farthest it goes and then holding that position
- passive stretching: also known as partner stretching, but it can also be stretching with the help of an apparatus
- isometric stretching: a type of static stretching that uses no motion
- dynamic stretching: consists of controlled lime swinging, not to be confused with ballistic stretching
- PNF stretching: (proprioreceptive neuromuscular facilitation) It is not so much a stretch as it is a combination of isometric and passive stretching with the goal of achieving max states flexibility.
For the purpose of the article I am going to be emphasizing static and dynamic stretching.
Static stretching is what most people do to warm up, but it is actually one of the worst things you can do as it leaves you more prone to injury.
- static stretching actually cools down your body temperature, yet the purpose of a warm up s to increase your body temperature and heat up your muscles in order to prevent injury.
- unlike dynamic stretching, static stretching very VERY simply put tells your brain that your muscles will no longer really be needed to contract turning off those specific signals wishing the body
- Given the above information, plus given the conclusions reached through scientific research, it is safe to say static stretching goes AFTER your workout or training as part of the cooling down process.
Before a workout you should be utilizing dynamic stretching in order to send the signal to your brain that the muscles will soon be needed to contract at a higher rate than normal and avoid potentially pulling a muscle or even worse.
If you’ve fallen victim to this common gym mistake, you aren’t the only one. People just don’t know, because not everyone studies or understands basic human physiology. Unfortunately, too many personal training certification courses do not even touch on this subject because they focus on more simple topics, so many trainers themselves don’t even know and I blame the curriculum and how easy it is to get your CPT. But anyways, now you know!
Remember Dynamic Stretching for warm ups and Static Stretching for cool downs!
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