Static and dynamic stretching
The benefits of stretching are numerous, ranging from increased flexibility, improved balance and physical activities to improvement of posture, reduction in stress, and increased range of motion.
There are various types of stretching; however, the two most common are static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching involves holding a stretch in a comfortable position for 20 to 60 seconds. I describe this is my clients as a "gentle stretch." You want to feel the muscle or muscles stretching, but you don't want the stretch to be painful or forced. I recommend static stretching after your workout. Dynamic stretching consists of movements that cause your muscles to be stretched and are active in nature. In order words, your body is moving and not held in a specific position as is done with static stretching. These stretches can be done before your workout, but I recommend a light warmup beforehand. Whether it is a static or dynamic stretch, the goal is not how far you can stretch, but the stretch itself.
Muscles must be warmed;
Stretch within your comfort zone;
Do not bounce; and
If painful, stop.
If you have an injury or a physical limitation that prevents you from stretching properly consult your physician for guidance.
I provide my clients the opportunity to stretch between sets when lifting weights, engaging in body-weight exercises, or using machines. Stretching increases the blood flow to the muscles you are training and helps to relieve tightness. It also stimulates muscle growth. You do not have to worry about looking too muscular, Ladies. It doesn't occur that easily!
To your health!