Everyone was born as a noodle. Some folks seem to be born as flexible as a cooked noodle while the rest of us were given the flexibility of an uncooked noodle. 

In this post I strive to give you the tools to become a cooked noodle in your flexibility journey. 

To become a cooked noodle you will need to know the correct type of stretching and when to use it, how long to stretch, and how consistency is the key to maintaining flexibility!

*Disclaimer* I am not a medical professional and only speak from 16 years experience in professions of physical movement and instruction.If you are unsure if you are physically able please consult your doctor before attempting stretching exercises.

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What type of stretch should I do?

Here are 3 of the most common types of stretches and what they are best used for!

Passive stretching

Passive Stretching is the most widely known type of stretching in which you hold one position for a set amount of time and allow your body to relax into the position.

This type of stretch is basic and best if used after performing physical activity when the muscles are warm and ready to go!

Here is a great video on passive stretching from Tom Merrick

Active Stretching

A type of stretch you would typically use to prepare a muscle group for an upcoming task. To do an active stretch you contract a muscle to stretch the opposing muscle.

An example of an active stretch would be to lie on your stomach and draw your heel towards your glutes. In this stretch you are engaging the hamstrings to stretch the quads.

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Below is a detailed article on Active Stretching!

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/active-stretching

Dynamic stretching

This is a movement base type of stretching. This uses the muscles themselves to bring about a stretch.

 Dynamic stretching uses active full range of motion to stretch and warm muscles before activity.

Active Healthline has a very helpful in detail post about Dynamic stretching if you’d like to learn more! https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/dynamic-stretching

When should I stretch?

Knowing when to stretch can be tricky if you are new to the subject. 

When to use passive stretching

This type of stretch is basic and best if used after performing physical activity when the muscles are warm.

When to use active stretching

Best used in preparation for physical activities.

Below is a video from  Dare To Be Active with Dr. LA Thoma Gustin 

Dynamic Stretching

Below is a Dynamic Full Body Flexibility Routine from Tom Merrick

How long should I stretch?

We have all heard stories of the crazy people who fell asleep in splits or sat in a stretch for 30 minutes. Not only is this incredibly painful but it can extremely hinder you rather than help you!

Many studies have been done to address the length of time it takes a muscle to adapt to a stretch under plenty of different circumstances. 

The general rule of thumb is to hold your stretch for at least 15-30 seconds at a time and no longer than 90 seconds. 

Its definitely NOT COMFORTABLE but IT SHOULDN’T BE EXTREMELY PAINFUL.

Consistency is Key!

Stretching consistently is key to maintaining flexibility!

Just as it takes time for your mind to adapt to a new skill it takes time for body to adapt to new stressors.

You should look to create a stretch routine around your activities. This makes stretching less time consuming and more convenient!

Having a plan of what stretch you will perform when and for how long will keep you on track to your goals!

I want to give a helping hand so below I’ve included a chart where you can fill in 3 stretches a day and the duration of each stretch. 

You are welcome to do more than 3 stretches but when you are starting out its best to follow the KISS(keep it simple stupid) method!

Additional Flexibility Resources!

NASM Training Relevance of Flexibility