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The Great Debate: What Form of Stretching is Superior?

Static vs Active Stretching

active vs static strething

Static vs Active Stretching

In the last several years, there’s been a GREAT DEBATE taking place in the Fitness World about what is the Superior Form of Flexibility Training…Static Stretching (like in Yoga) where you hold a stretch from anywhere from 20 – 40 seconds, or Active Stretching where you only hold the stretch for 1-2 seconds and do 5 – 10 repetitions.  I’ve been in several debates arguing the case for BOTH methods.

Static Stretching

In fact, Static Stretching has actually come under attack in some circles, with the argument being that when you Hold a pose for more than a few seconds, the  body actually sends out a ‘Warning’ Signal to the nerves in the fascia to ‘Protect’ it from stretching too much.  This phenomenon is called a Myotatic Stretch Reflex.  The naysayers against Static Stretching say that this actually Slows Down the fast twitch fibers in the nerve which slows down athletic performance.

Active Stretching 

On the other hand, the case against Active Stretching is that because you’re only holding the Pose for 1-2 seconds (before the Myotatic Stretch Reflex kicks in), you’re not  giving the brain and nervous system time enough to Memorize the neuron pattern‘ and balance the muscle chains.

Summary

In my opinion, I think that both arguments have merit and I think it’s foolish to diminish the effects that both methods have to offer, and I say this because I’ve seen both methods produce terrific results.

To summarize, and generally speaking, when I have a client that needs to rehab an injury and get back into proper alignment, I’ll nearly always give them a Static Stretching Protocol, and on the other hand, if I’m prepping an athlete who wants more Speed and Power, I’ll usually give them an Active Stretch Program—especially runners.

Think about it, Yoga has been around for around 2,000 years and is more popular now than ever before in history.  Anything that lasts that long and is still incredibly effective, can’t be too bad!!

Get Your Flexibility Back

Wherever you stand on the “Great Debate” stretching and flexibility is key to a healthy lifestyle. If you are ready to get your flexibility back or maybe you never had it to start with consider getting on of my programs. One of the best programs that I have put together is the Roger Fredericks’s Reveals the Secrets to Golf Swing Flexibility although this program focuses on Golf related aspects it is excellent for flexibility related issues. If flexibility is really an issue you should consider one of my customized Flexibility Programs. 

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2 thoughts on “The Great Debate: What Form of Stretching is Superior?

  1. Hi Roger,

    Can you share your comments on another great debate: stretching vs strengthening?

    One argument is that if your muscles are weak, you should work on strengthening them first. I found that strengthening is much more effective to me personally. By working different muscles groups with machines, my flexibility has also improved.

    Thanks,

    Charles

    1. Charles,
      Always remember that the body has 3 requirements for a balanced body: Cardio, Range of Motion, and Strengthening.
      ‘’Generally speaking’ if a person is brittle or has tight muscles, getting on a Strengthening Program initially isn’t preferable and will usually end up making the muscle tighter. Although some strengthening protocols do increase Flexibility, most don’t and don’t compared to the results a person gets on a ‘Proper’ Flex Program.

      Also, a person’s posture is important for determining a workout program; For example, if a person has Rounded Shoulders/Forward Head and does a lot of strengthening for their anterior, they’ll usually end up ‘Strengthening their Dysfunction’ which puts more friction on the muscles and joints. Also, and ‘Generally Speaking’, for older people, I normally always start them on Flexibility Protocols first – THEN ‘when they’re ready’ can start getting them stronger.
      Regarding machines, I usually don’t favor them because a person has to get in awkward postures which automatically puts get them out of alignment – which again, will usually ‘Strengthen their Dysfunction’.
      (As I recall, I don’t remember there being any machines in the Garden of Eden ).

      I’d suggest you visit my websites http://www.fredericksgolf.com and take my Flexibility Tests, my Posture System Website… http://www.myposturesystem.com and take my Posture Tests.
      If you pass them all, then I’d say keep doing what you’re doing. If not, then you might want adjust your workouts to get yourself ‘Straight’ before you Strengthen.

      Good Luck,

      Roger

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