Stretching can be a great way to warm up your muscles before a workout, cool down after a workout, or just relax and unwind from the day but it's important to know what types of stretches to do and when to do them to get maximal benefits. Properly implemented stretching can help to avoid injury but if done incorrectly, it can actually increase risk of injury so let's go over the correct implementation of two main forms of stretching so we can use it in a way that is helpful and not harmful.
#1: Dynamic Stretching - Also known as "active stretching," dynamic stretching is a movement based type of stretching that requires the muscles themselves to move through different stretching positions. Unlike more traditional static stretching, the stretch positions aren't held for extended time. Dynamic stretching is best performed as a warm up before a workout.
#2: Static Stretching - Also known as "passive stretching," static stretching is a more traditional method of stretching where you are holding a static stretched position for an extended period of time allowing the muscle to relax and lengthen. Static stretching is great for a post-workout cool down or as a way to relax and unwind before going to bed. Avoid doing static stretching pre-workout because it can cause instability which can lead to increased risk of injury during a workout.
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