Flexibility And Mobility – Methods, Types Of Stretching And When To Stretch

Methods Of Stretching


Active Stretching

In active stretching there is no outside assistance, no walls, or other person stretching you.

It involves actively contracting one muscle or muscle group in order to stretch its opposing muscle group. When you stretch your triceps, the biceps relax, and the other way around.

This type of stretching is very important for athletes, because it is an essential aspect of dynamic flexibility and thus has a greater correlation with sports performance than passive stretching.


Passive Stretching

In the case of passive stretching you receive assistance from partner, another part of the body or wall. For example placing your leg on top of a bench to stretch your hamstrings.

This method is used by physiotherapists to increase joint range and muscle length.



Types Of Stretching


Ballistic Stretching

This form of stretching involves quick, repetitive bouncing or bobbing actions. This is done to increase the stretch beyond the muscle’s normal range. In this case you use momentum and body weight.

It is generally not the best stretch for the average exerciser, as it can lead to muscle damage that may occur as a result of the stretch reflex.

They are usually used as a radical method of stretching adhesions and stubborn fibrous tissue in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.


Dynamic Stretching

This is similar to ballistic stretching, however, there are no bouncing or jerky movements. These stretches are performed under control and should mimic the movements of the following sport or activity and act as a kind of rehearsal.

  • perform 10-15 repetitions of each stretch under control, gradually increasing the ROM

Dynamic stretches are recommended at the beginning of the workout. The following is a dynamic stretch:



Static Maintenance

Static maintenance stretching is where the muscle is taken to the end of its normal range and held without bouncing. These are short stretches, held for 10-15 seconds. They are used to maintain the normal length of the muscle.

Following repeated contractions during exercise, the muscle becomes shorter and thicker and a maintenance stretch is used to return the muscle to its normal length.

  • take the stretch to the point where you feel your muscles stretching, maintaining good alignment and posture
  • hold for 10-15 seconds
  • relax
  • repeat if desired


Static developmental

These stretches are used in flexibility training to develop the length of the fibres themselves, increasing range of movement at a joint. It should follow this pattern

  • take the stretch to where you feel tension and your muscle stretching, maintaining good alignment and posture
  • hold for 10 or more seconds, until the tension within the muscle has reduced
  • relax and passively (assisted by a person or object) increase the ROM of the stretch until tension is felt again
  • again hold for 10 or more seconds, until the tension within the muscle has reduced
  • again increase the ROM of the stretch until tension is felt again
  • hold until the tension reduces, then slowly and carefully return the limb to its normal position
  • repeat the stretch if desired


When to stretch

Stretching can be performed at any time of the day, appropriate to each person. You can stretch at home, watching TV, or at the office, in order to balance out periods of immobility in positions of poor posture.

As part of your workout, stretching should form an significant part of the warm up and cool down. In Karate we used to have 15-20 min of stretching at the beginning and at the end. It is essential

Warm up Cool down
Static stretching Static maintenance
Dynamic stretching Static developmental
Ballistic stretching

Any questions? Contact me.


Alexandra Merisoiu, The Body Engineer, is the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique - Institute Of Health And Human Movement and Dracula’s Retreat. She is also a qualified Low Back Pain Management and Prevention Exercise Instructor and REPS registered.

She specialises in working with runners, beginners and advanced, who want to run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries. This is done through natural movement fitness and running technique and mechanics drawn from the many disciplines Alexandra has studies throughout the years, including long distance running.

Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches. Throughout her Martial Arts career she has achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, runs her own Karate club and is IJKA 2017 triple World Champion, 2016 WMO Martial Arts British National and European Champion. She still competes at an international level.

It is through these learnings, and drawing inspiration from respected natural movement names such as MovNat, IdoPortal and POSE Method of running among many others, that she has created The Merisoiu Technique and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with Natural Human Movement.

Alexandra’s mission is to challenge the status quo of how to achieve the truly strong, fit and powerful body a runner needs to perform at their best level. This is done through building strong, lasting foundations in the natural outdoor environment; reducing the risk of injuries and educating people on the power of the fundamentals of natural human movement and running mechanics.

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