Q&A: Stretching Modalities

Static Stretching

Do you still feel static stretching is the best type of stretching over passive, dynamic, AIS, etc?

The question of stretching methods comes up often; so I figured this was something that would be well received within a blog post.

I think one of the issues that we see is that people get too focused on one specific type of stretching, versus using all the possible stretching methods available to us. For instance, blindly saying that static stretching is good only tells part of the equation.

I use static stretching.

I use dynamic stretching.

I use eccentric quasi-isometrics.

I use long duration, low load stretches.

We spend so much time talking about stretching as a whole, but we really need to be discussing is the appropriate timing and the appropriate type.

Static stretching can be used at both ends of the spectrum.  Someone that is seeking improved mobility could actually static stretch before and after his or her training session.

In contrast, someone who was looking to maximize strength and power gains would static stretch at other times throughout the day, and would minimize pre-workout static stretching.

As a general rule of thumb, I typically use dynamic stretching pre-workout, static stretching either post workout or later in the day (such as right before bed), and eccentric quasi-isometrics are typically used immediately post workout.

Obviously, there are exceptions to these rules, but for the large majority of the population this works quite well.  If you are looking for more info, consider picking up a copy of the Indy Seminar Series, as Bill has an entire discussion on not only the various types of stretching we use, but how to use the right type at the right time.

I hope this gives you clear insight as to how we use all the various modes of stretching here at IFAST.  Thanks for the question!

Stay strong

Mike

3 Comments

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  1. “At IFAST, we’ll also reinforce thoracic spine mobility during horizontally loaded cable exercises, like horizontal pushes and pulls, as well as unilateral shoulder exercises such as PNF diagonals, and total body exercises like chops and lifts.”
    Mike,
    I saw this over on Bill’s Blog and was wondering what goeson/what you add in with the movements listed in order to further enhance/reinforce T-Spine mobility.

  2. MR:
    Generally it is accepted that methods that involve stretching of the lumbar spine in any fashion, be it flexion, lateral flexion, or even mild rotation should be avoided. Are there any special cases where this caveat should actually be “suspended”, so to speak and that might warrant some form of gentle stretching in this area.

  3. Coach,
    I read through you articles and you have helped me a lot with regards to getting my body ‘fixed up’.
    I’m a bit confused about stretching and mobility exercises for the back after reading Jim Smith’s article about lumbar extension on diesel crew at this link: http://www.dieselcrew.com/core-strength-do-not-ever-do-this-exercise/
    In it he mentions that repeated hyperextension of the back may cause damage to the spine, and quoted you on the description of the injury.
    I’m now confused as to which stretching and mobility exercises are okay or not, in so as to avoid hurting yourself when trying to stretch, mobilize or activate the back. Aren’t things like thoracic mobility with the foam roller when you roll and stretch back similar the ‘do not do’ exercises that is depicted?
    I hope you have time to explain the ins and outs of this and differences between which ones help vs which ones harm.
    Thanks

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