Static stretching is a technique used to stretch the muscles of the body while at rest. Static stretching is to gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position and hold that stretch for at least 30 seconds. For best results, it is recommended to stretch the muscle until only a mild discomfort is felt. Stretching a muscle to a painful range is counteractive and reduces all the effects as the muscles reaction to pain is to shorten and spasm.
The general guideline for static stretching is to hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Since everybody is different, a more effective approach is to hold the stretch until you can feel the muscle tension reduce or disappear. For optimal results, static stretching is recommended post activity, after a proper cool down. Static stretching while the body and muscles are cold are a waste of time and do not carry many benefits.
There are several benefits and advantages to implementing a proper static stretching program. A post activity stretch can help reduce muscle soreness by lengthening the muscle, removing lactic acid and increasing blood circulation. Other benefits include increasing the range of motion of your joints, increasing muscle strength, reducing fatigue as well as increasing coordination, body awareness and improving posture. Stretching also helps decrease muscle tension and is a great way to reduce stress.
Foam rolling is a technique that helps break down scar tissue and muscle adhesions that occur with exercise in addition to stretch muscles and their tendons. The results of which include increasing blood flow and circulation to soft tissue. It includes a foam cylinder that is usually 6 inches in diameter and 12-36 inches long, which the athlete uses to roll over tender areas or trigger points.
Recent studies have shown that implementing both static stretching and foam rolling techniques into ones training, athletes are able to really reduce the negative effects of exercise, enabling better training habits and consistency and play a key role in injury prevention.