Inside our joints we have synovial fluid that, once it is warm, works by lubricating the joints so they can move smoothly, effectively and comfortably. Just by moving our joints through their normal range of movement warms the fluid and prepares joints for exercise.
Before Exercise – Dynamic Stretching
This technique uses a controlled, soft bounce or swinging motion to move a body part to the limit of its range of movement.
You can increase the force of the movement but never allow it to become uncontrolled! Examples of this type of stretching include; free standing squats, arm circles or practicing a resistance exercise without the weight. This type of stretching is also very valuable during exercise.
After Training – Static or PNF Stretching
This is done by placing the body into a position in which the muscle or muscle groups are stretched under tension. Move the body slowly and gently to increase the tension, then hold for 30 seconds.
PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) Stretching
This stretching is highly effective for increasing flexibility. It involves both stretching and contracting of a muscle or muscle group. As well as improving flexibility it develops muscular strength.
First you need a partner. Placing the muscle under tension at its maximum stretch, you then contract the muscle for 5 to 10 seconds while your partner applies enough resistance to inhibit movement. After you relax your partner applies a controlled stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating the contraction phase. You can repeat this 2-4 times.
Stretching Techniques – Mobilise Those Joints!
A Health Tip from Mark Foster