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What is static stretching?

Stretching has different forms but is more commonly associated with static stretching (i.e. holding a muscle in a stretched position for roughly thirty seconds). Static stretching has been shown to decrease nervous system activity to the muscle, creating a more relaxed muscle. This is one form of stretching and is important for lengthening or relaxing a tight, overused muscle. One example would be stretching your calves. You would hold the calf stretch position for thirty seconds, reducing the tension in the calf muscle.
Static stretching is a type of flexibility best used to provide elasticity of tissue in a muscle.

It is best performed post-activity or independent of activity (static stretching immediately prior to performance can inhibit performance levels if not combined with other forms of movement preparation) and involves holding a stretch position for around 20-30 seconds - research indicates that a static stretch must be held for a minimum of 20 seconds for benefits. 

For typical application I recommend performing 1-2 sets of a static stretch and holding each set for 30 sec. 
Static stretching is the most common method used for improving flexibility. Static stretching uses a slow, constant speed and generally involves holding the stretched position for an extended period of time (usually 30 sec). Due to the slow and controlled speed at which stretches are performed, the risk for injury is minimal provided proper static stretching techniques are used. Muscles should only be stretched to a point of mild discomfort or tightness, not pain.
Static stretching involves holding a muscle in the stretched position for at least twenty seconds. It is encouraged to hold at the point of mild tension. Static stretching does not involve bouncing movements.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.