Preventing Injuries – Knowing When To Use Dynamic or Static Stretching

franklin physical therapy

Stretching before and after exercise is the right idea when done correctly.

woman_stretchingAccording to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) we have no conclusive evidence making a connection between stretching and injury prevention. I really hope they don’t spend any taxpayer dollars to study this anymore, because it’s just common sense. Ask any athlete if they need to warm up or warm down with stretching, and the answer is conclusive – YES!


We do see most average people skip a good stretch after exercising, which is why over a period of time they end up injured. For many stretching is not a very exciting thing to do, but when the body begins physical activity and is not ready to move freely, then other areas of the body will move causing a stress of the muscle tissue and joints. Stretching will also enhance exercise and athletic performance by improving strength, endurance and power.


Key To Safety Is Choosing The Correct Type Of Stretch

The three most common stretches people perform are Static, Dynamic and Ballistic.

  • Static stretch is a stretch to the muscle belly that is comfortable and held for 20-60 sec.
  • Dynamic stretch is performing functional activities and used for warming up prior to exercises.
  • Ballistic stretch is where you rock or bounce while performing the stretch. If not performed correctly, a ballistic stretch will cause injury. Ballistic stretching should not be performed unless proper technique is taught by a professional.

Stretch To Feel Good and Avoid Injury – No Need To Push Limits

Stretching should feel good and relaxing it should not hurt. There is no reason to try to push the limits on how far you stretch. Going too far into the stretch can cause injury to the muscle tissue.
To prevent injury you want to stretch to allow for your body to move more freely and get the proper nutrient and blood flow to the muscle tissue you are exercising. Ideally you want to warm up the muscle tissue that you will be working on that day.


Dynamic Stretch Before and Static After

The best type of stretch to include in your warm up program is dynamic stretching. This can be done by doing high knee marching or walking by bringing your knees toward your chest, trying to kick your buttock. You will also want to cool down and return the blood flow throughout the body by stretching at the end of your workouts. This is where you would want to perform the static stretch, which includes a 20-60 sec hold hamstring, quad, glut, calf, shoulder, etc…


Consider performing a group of dynamic stretches for a warm up as well as static stretches at the end of your workout to cool down. Not only will you reduce the chance of  injury, but also feel better, improve your overall health, and enhance your sport performance.


To learn more about the best stretching routine for you, give me (or any of the Franklin staff) a call and we’ll schedule a free injury prevention screening, or visit franklinrehab.com/free_screening.