Stretching. Part 2

Recommended Equipment, Attire
Some stretches require a wall or other solid surface to lean against and, occasionally, a chair or bench for support. Other stretches incorporate a towel or are aided by a stretching partner who can add resistance to the movement. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement. Belts and bulky jewelry should be removed, too.

Exercise Guidelines

Ideally, stretching should be done on a daily basis. Perform stretches at least three times per week to maintain flexibility, more often to increase flexibility.
It is imperative that your muscles are warmed up prior to stretching them. Stretch following every cardiovascular workout and weight-training session or perform a five- to 10-minute aerobic warm-up first.
Do not bounce when you stretch!
Perform stretches in a slow, controlled manner. Relax and exhale as you go into a stretch, then breathe normally and slowly.
Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds to the point of mild discomfort or where you “feel the stretch.” Pause and then repeat the stretch once or twice.
The muscles should be stretched so that the pull is felt in the center of the muscle, not at the joints.
Don’t try to force flexibility. Start slowly and progress at your own gradual pace.
Never stretch muscles that are torn or strained.
When stretching one side of the body, be sure to follow with the same stretches on the other side.
Glossary of Terms

Static stretches — Also known as sustained or passive stretching, static stretching involves drawing the muscles slowly into a stretch and then holding that position for 10 to 30 seconds per stretch.

Ballistic stretches — Involve a bouncing or jerking action and are not recommended for the vast majority of people.

Stretch reflex — The body’s warning signal to avoid over-stretching. The muscle contracts in response to being stretched suddenly rather than slowly.

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