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All stretches are not created equally!

Stretching... "Go strech" says coach but maybe there should be a littttttle more focus to that phrase

Weightlifters tend to focus on three types of stretches:

Static Stretching: This style helps prevent injury and permit greater flexibility and agility.

Ballistic Stretching: These stretches involve bouncing or jerking. It is purported to help extend limbs during exercise, promoting agility and flexibility.

Dynamic Stretching: Personally my favorite, this type of stretching involves moving the body part in the desired way until reaching the full range of motion, to improve performance.

I strongly urge athletes and coaches to experiment with different styles for different athletes. I have had athletes where static stretching has done more harm than good due to their body types and pre-existing flexibility and I’ve had other athletes who say don't feel ready to lift unless they have done explosive work like jumps and other plyo exercises (previous CrossFitters… cough). Personally, I like static stretching my “tight” areas and nothing else besides drilling the bar in the movements of the day.

At the end of the day like Vorbeyev said, “The warm up should not be fatiguing. On the contrary, it should invigorate the sportsman to perform the exercises” (A.N. Vorbeyev, 1988).

Static stretching

Static stretching is the “traditional” way of holding a stretch for 30-60 seconds and then releasing and switching to the other side. Its sole purpose is to deliberately flex or stretch in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. In these variations of stretching we are extending the myofibril and allowing the muscles to extend to their natural range of motion. Recent studies found that this style of stretching is not as beneficial as previously believed, especially in athletes a wide range of motion. Studies also found that static stretching can actually be harmful to athletes because, while it may achieve the desired flexibility, it loosens the muscle fibers up and risks losing elasticity. Without the ability to quickly contract the muscle fibers explosiveness has been found to lessen with overstretching.

Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic stretching is a method of stretching where the joints natural ranges of motion are exceeded with the intent that the stretched fibers, tendons, and ligaments will “force” the joint back to its natural range of motion. Due to the violent nature of the joint returning to normalcy it creates a sudden force. This concept is believed to help the body gain better range of motion over time and also learn to create more force from greater than normal ranges of motion. Many professionals believe that this method is utilized by beginners and generally “untrained” individuals and does more harm than good. It should be done under careful supervision of people that understand it fully. Some examples of ballistic stretching would be deep lunging as well as open chest arm swings.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is a method of stretching where the stretch takes the soft tissues to their natural range of motion then briefly is held there for 3-5 seconds as opposed to static stretchings 30 second forced hold. This method is believed to allow the muscle to become lengthened and then used to its newly acquired range for the training session. Dynamic stretching is believed to lessen injuries to athletes as the way the joints load pressure and stress best represents many of the stressors we see sports put on the body.

Hope you understand stretching a bit better now and again, I STRESS you and your coach figure out which ones, what combinations, and how to better prepare yourself using these examples for your regular training.

- Coach

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