Stretching & Flexibility/forms of stretching

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Question
I was always confused as to which form of stretching is best when. Long static isolated stretches seem only beneficial when you are really warmed up. Is contract agonist/relax agonist stretching safe and effective if you are not warmed up? Also is it beneficial to bounce gently (pulse) if your range of motion? The classic example is the butterfly stretch for the thigh adductors. I figured that this movement would keep increase circulation to the area being stretch whereas not moving at all may cause cramping.

Answer
In my opinion I find that doing dynamic movements to warm up the muscles is the best way. The main reason why we do stretches is to increase ROM  (range of motion). Doing static stretches before will reduce force output of the muscle and can (not always) increase the chance of injury. That is why Static stretches should be reserved for after the work out or at a different time.

The bounce you are referring to ( I hope) is active isolated stretching. This is a technique to increase range of motion without relaxing the muscle to the point it will reduce force. Ballistic stretching is something more of bouncing vigorously and should be avoided.

Take home message, use Dynamic stretches before working out and Static after your work outs. As for the contract agonist and relaxing antagonist forget about that for now.  In reality lets say you do a bicep curl. The agonist (Bicep) and antagonist (tricep) are both working, except bicep is contracting and tricep must relax through reciprocal inhibition, otherwise you cant curl if both are contracting. So for me it would be a cross cancellation,it is already relaxing. Active Stretching is supposed increase range of motion and it also will inhibit muscle. Point being, dont get too stuck on that for now. Let me know if you need anymore clarification and I also apologize for the delay in my response.

Hope this helps.  

Stretching & Flexibility

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