There are 3 main different types of stretching, Static, Dynamic and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). All three are important and have their place in a training program.
Starting off with Static Stretching, this is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. It is composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position (to the point of discomfort) and hold that position for 30-60 seconds. This type of stretching is best-performed post training as recovery.
Next is Dynamic Stretching, which is performed by gently moving the muscle through a range of movement that exceeds its normal length with the aid of momentum. These active movements stretch the muscle fibres without holding them in the end- range position. This type of stretching is best performed before training to warm up the muscles.
Lastly, it’s PNF Stretching, which is performed by contracting a muscle against an immovable object followed by a stretch of that same muscle. It is used to enhance both active (performed by yourself) & passive (performed by someone else) movement.
Mobility Vs Flexibility
Mobility differs from flexibility; it is difficult to stretch and increase a muscle’s flexibility when the joint has limited mobility to allow you to do this. An example of this in rowing is having the flexibility in your muscles to fully compress into the catch position (start of the rowing stroke), but lacking the mobility in your ankle, knee or hip joints to do so.
- How a joint moves
- The range of motion a joint has
- Ideally performed pre-session
- Length of a muscle
- Component of mobility
- Ideally performed post-session