Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle, or muscle group is deliberately elongated. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Stretching can be dangerous if performed incorrectly. There are different types of stretches, which can be used at different times, for different muscles.


Static stretching – is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. It is composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position which is maintained for a minimum of 30 seconds. When done properly, static stretching may lessen the sensitivity of tension receptors allowing the muscle to relax.


Dynamic stretching – is a form of stretching beneficial in sports, and utilizing momentum in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range not exceeding one’s ability. This form of stretching prepares the body for physical exertion and sports performance, and increases blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion. Examples include butt kicks, lunge walking, high knees.


Ballistic stretching – can be passive or dynamic stretching, which includes a bouncing motion at the end of range. These stretches force the limb into an extended range when the muscle has not relaxed enough to enter it. Ballistic stretching has been found to cause injury and tissue damage, and should only be used by athletes who know their own limitations and with supervision.


PNF stretching (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) – is a combination of stretching and contracting a muscle, or muscle groups. It is used to encourage flexibility and co-ordination throughout the limbs entire range, and is used in a wide variety of patients: from athletes to patients with paralysis.  Some commonly used techniques include hold-relax, contract-relax and contract-relax-antagonist-contract, and can be applied to different areas. Some techniques require assistance, and some can be taught and performed alone.