What is it?
Static stretching is one of the techniques used to increase flexibility and help our muscles relax. It is one of the most widely used types of stretching for its simplicity and lack of things that can go wrong.
How is it done?
It is performed by taking a muscle to its point of resistance by moving a joint. When we move a joint towards the end of its range of motion, we will likely feel a springy like block in movement or a pull in the opposite direction (from the stretched muscle). These (often) painful sensations are the acknowledgement that we are stretching the muscle. Once reaching this point of resistance or pain we hold this position for 30 seconds, then move further through the range of motion to a new point of resistance.
A classic example is the hamstring stretch; Place your foot on a chair or something slightly raised, keeping your knee almost fully extended (locked out/ straight), lean forwards from the hip. As you start leaning forwards you should gradually feel the movement gradually coming to a halt with pain increasing in your hamstrings. If you feel the pain anywhere but the muscle then you will need to play around with position until you get the right feeling.
Most benefit from stretching is gained from performing them every day. Small increases happen every time you stretch, but will only be kept or improved upon if the stretching stimulus is repeated. As soon as you stop stretching you will gradually lose flexibility, unless it is used within your sports performance, training or acts of daily living.
What are the benefits?
Acute (straight after the stretch)
Reduced muscle tone (relax muscle)
Relax muscle spasm
Reduced contractile speed
Long term (weeks+)
Increased flexibility (range of motion)
Hypertrophy (increase in muscle size)
Reduced tension on tendon
Increase joint health