Stretching for Athletes

Stretching for athletes is important because it helps to manage muscle imbalances in an athlete's body. Stretching is also essential because it helps to prevent injuries. Stretching for athletes has long been recommended as it helps to prevent soreness and also improves performance. Stretching is done to increase the range of motion around a joint. There are several different types of stretching and each has its specific benefit. Athletes should choose stretches that are relevant to their particular sport and activity. The different types of stretching are:

  • Active Stretching: Such kind of stretching would make you assume a position and then keep it without any other assistance apart from the strength you get from your agonist muscles.
  • Dynamic Stretching: This involves moving different parts of the body while gradually increasing the range of motion and the speed of movement. This kind of stretching does not go beyond the normal range of action.
  • Isometric Stretching: This is a type of static stretching. This means that no motion is involved in the stretch. It involves the tensing of the muscles that you are stretching.
  • Ballistic Stretching: This kind of stretching uses the movement of a body or a limb to stretch beyond the normal range of action.
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching: This is not actually stretching but a combination of isometric and passive stretching. This is currently a popular way to increase static passive flexibility.
  • Passive or Static Stretching: Relaxed stretching is another name by which it is popularly known. A passive stretch would be a stretch where you take a position and keep it with the help of either a partner, or another part of the body or even a prop.

Before doing any kind of stretching for athletes do remember to:-

  • Warm up before stretching
  • Do a combination of static and dynamic stretching for the warm up.
  • Stretch to the limit you are able to, you should not feel any pain while stretching.
  • Keep breathing throughout the stretch
  • Ensure that you are stretching/targeting the muscles that will be used in the sport you are training for.
  • Hold static stretches for about 20-30 seconds.

Doing a warm up before stretching helps to increase the range of movement. After exercise, cool your self down and hold the stretch till you feel your muscle pull. The muscle will relax as you are holding the stretch. If you feel less tension, stretch again till you feel the pull again.

answered by G R

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