Stretching

What it is? Types of Stretching, and how to stretch properly.

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What it is? Types of Stretching, and how to stretch properly

What is Stretching?

Stretching is the act of releasing tension from the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons, and gaining youth as you do so. Kika Stretch Studios looks at stretching as a way to find that ultimate relief you’ve been searching for. Not only will stretching make your body feel good, but it’s health benefits will reduce the effects of aging and leave you feeling and looking younger. 

Types of Stretching

Stretching is an important part of sports medicine, as it is the only way to increase blood flow to the muscle fibers, improve range of motion, and aids in preventing injury. There are five types of stretching:

1. Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic Stretching is a type of stretching that is based on movement, which uses the muscles to stretch themselves. It is more so used as a warm-up for athletes, as it does not stretch the muscles to their fullest capacity, and works on activating them instead. An example of a dynamic stretch would be doing arm circles before lifting weights or doing an arm-heavy sport. 

2. Static Stretching

Static Stretching is stretching where you hold a single position for a period of time, typically less than a minute. It is usually done after a workout, as it increases blood flow and range of motion, but could poorly impact an athlete’s performance. An example of static stretching is holding a forward fold position.

3. Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic Stretching is a form of stretching that attempts to use the momentum of a body part to stretch past normal range of motion. This typically looks like bouncing in and out of a stretching position to try and get farther into the stretch. An example of this might be bouncing forward in a seated position in an effort to touch your toes. 

4. Passive Stretching

Passive Stretching What we do! This is a type of stretching where you stay in one position for a period of time. What is so great about passive stretching is that it gives your muscles the time to fully release, which other forms of stretching do not. The Kika Method is a form of fully assisted passive stretching, which means that the coach is doing all of the work for you, and your only job is to relax. An example of passive stretching is having a person gently push your leg towards you in a lying hamstring stretch. 

5. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF stretching 

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF stretching is a method of stretching used to find maximum range of motion through holding and releasing the muscle, or contracting and releasing the muscle. This is done by passively holding the stretch, pushing the muscle out of the stretch, and then allowing it to go back to the passive stretch, hopefully with more mobility. An example of this would be a lying hamstring pull, by pushing against your hands to contract the muscle.

Benefits of Stretching

What’s the point of stretching?  Stretching is the point.  In today’s world, everything is about how fast you can go and how much you can do. When does one’s body get a chance to let go and just completely relax? The first and last step to any fitness program is stretching. Stretching is beneficial to both flexible and inflexible people.  

1. Relief from Discomfort

Most people have a nagging feeling of discomfort, hidden in the body that they can’t seem to release.  Stretching (The Kika Method) helps you release the tension that’s locked inside of your body. By stretching regularly, your body will start to feel:

  • Less discomfort in their bodies 
  • Become more flexible than ever before
  • Feel younger and happier

2. Improved Physical Health Through Flexibility

Stretching is often the fitness program that people overlook, or are misinformed about.  A continuous stretching program is imperative for physical health.  Whether you’re already flexible or are looking to increase your flexibility stretching can help:

  • Allow a constant flow of blood to all muscle groups helps revive all areas of the body
  • Very flexible people balance out the body and alleviate all discomfort, even if they don’t know that they need it
  • Reduce the impact aging has on the body and make you feel and look younger.

3. Workout Recovery

When you work out, do strength training or take other types of fitness classes, your body becomes very toned, but it also accumulates a great amount of tension. Why do you need to stretch?

  • You need to release the tension that you gain during workouts, in order to truly benefit from the activity that you are doing.
  • Imagine eating for 5 days and not brushing your teeth in between.  All of the food that has entered your mouth will get stuck between your teeth and accumulate. Over time, this pattern will lead to more accumulation, a backup, and further health problems. 
  • The same is true with not releasing the tension that Is being held within your body, it will cause more problems as you age. 

4. Pain Relief

This tension can be relieved through both dynamic and static stretching, which will help to release the connective tissue that is causing you pain. Stretching in a lot of cases is a way to solve chronic pain without a million different doctor visits.

How to Stretch Properly ?

When stretching, it is important that you are doing it properly, so that you do not risk worsening or causing new injuries, and are releasing the muscles that you intend to. Whether you want to release tension in your lower back, upper back, hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, shoulders, or anywhere else, you have to stretch correctly to see results. 

1. Warm-up before stretching

It is important to warm-up before you stretch so that your muscle fibers don’t tear. The warmer the muscles, the loser they are. When your muscles are loose, you are able to stretch further and find more release in the position because your muscles are not busy trying to warm up. 

2. Consult with a professional

When it comes to stretching, you want to make sure that you are doing what is right for your body. You can try a stretch studio like Kika Stretch Studios, and find out exactly what your body needs and how to do it correctly. 

3. Stretch regularly

In order to see long-lasting results and relief, you need to work stretching into your daily routine. Even if it is only 5 minutes a day, a little will go a long way in terms of maintaining flexibility. 

4. See results

By following these steps, soon you will start to feel that relief and flexibility you desire! 

What is Kika Method Stretching

Kika Stretch, or The Kika Method, is a form of passive assisted stretching that helps the body release tension in muscle groups that has been trapped inside of it for years.

The Kika Method of stretching helps invigorate any and every fitness program. When you stretch by yourself, you only go so far each time.  How can you increase your range of motion in specific muscles if you never go past your current level of flexibility? Kika coaches help lead the body and encourage it to go to a new level in a safe and effective way, through regular stretching and a stretching routine. Maintaining your current state of flexibility is good, but improving it and releasing tight muscles is how you can best prepare your body for the future.

Learn more about Kika Method

The Basic Stretching Exercise

Forward Fold

Forward Fold stretch demonstration

This exercise is great for any level of flexibility. If you have very tight hamstrings, this is a great exercise to start out with, as it will allow gravity to do the work for you. You will not need any equipment for this stretch. For the best results, repeat this stretch up to three times a day to lengthen your muscles.

Step 1. Begin by standing straight up, with your arms down by your sides.

Step 2. Start tucking your chin to your chest and rolling down towards the floor.

Step 3. Reach your arms to the floor and allow the weight of your head to drop.

Step 4. Stop when you feel a gentle stretch and continue to let gravity pull you down.

Step 5. Hold the stretch until hamstrings release.