Optimal Systems of Stretching

“no hate…just we need to get specific here…why and how, not do this.” [Clemson]

I liked this post so much I thought I’d start a thread on the subject…

WHY & HOW do forum members include stretching into their training programs?

What ‘systems’ of stretching are people using, and does this vary depending on the training emphasis of the day, in terms of stretching pre-session to prepare and stretching post session to aid recovery & regeneration?

Clemson has alluded to the synergy that may exist between low-intensity training (e.g. tempo) and low-intensity stretching (e.g. Microstretching) and, equivalently, high-intensity work (e.g. sprints/ weights) and more ‘aggressive’ forms of stretching (e.g. PNF):

“…PNF stretching is one of the most effective methods to reduce neurological and structural tightness…”


Personally, I had been contenting myself with primarily dynamic work pre-sessions and a rather informal, unstructured 20-30 minute ‘stretch-out’ post session. But I am now begining to question the effectiveness of this, however, with so many ways & means of stretching proposed developing an appropriate flexibility/ stretching programme is all a bit confusing.

Maybe an answer in terms of emphasis of the day and stretching activilty pre- and -post activity would illustrate your personal ‘system’ best.

Would really appreciate the thoughts of Senior Members. Look forward to the responses.


Some points to consider…

(1) Training program

(2) Athlete individual responses

(3) the education of the athlete and coach

(4) the time and expertise available…

when that is set, we can build a stretching program from there.

I mentioned that I feel that PNF is usefull, yet some coaches said I was stuck in the 80’s and need to learn the new stuff…I do know the “new” stuff, but 9.79 in 1988 is faster then all of those moes, and the eighties had both Transformers and Night Rider!

I agree with Clemson on the PNF issue. I used PNF extensively with all of my athletes. I do take some liberties with the PNF and go outside conventional PNF stretches, working different angles and muscle groups. I also try to be very aware of the needs and comfort level of the athletes, and vary the tension/holds as appropriate.

However, as with any training tool, overly aggressive PNF in the hands of an ignorant coach can be very hard on the athlete.

If you are one coach…how many athletes can you do PNFwith?

As for the “synergy”…I feel that it is more then a proper placement such as time and type.

My stretching program consists of a specific set of light dynamic limbs rotations which i do about 4-5 times a day (my first MA instructor told me that the more you stretch, the less you are tight, although obvious it really works)

Then before the track/gym/etc i add some specific hip stretchs and some stretch kicks. After the workout, i do the dynamic set and add some static stretch and PNF.

I tend to do this mostly for maintanence (minus my inner hip), as i can kick as high as i will ever need to and i am worried what would happen if i could do the splits :slight_smile:

As to PNF, i really like doing them, but it is hard to find someone to help me with them.

Clemson, the 80s were cool. The Transformers were one of my primary influences into being a engineering major :slight_smile:

It is interesting to see the variety of different ideas out in the scholastic world. While I’ve been trying to do research fro my masters thesis, I’ve come across many differing “studies.” The overall idea that the majority seem to alude to is that PNF, when performed by a sound partner, is the most effective for increasing ROM. In terms of static stretching, one time at 15 seconds has been found to help ROM just as much as multiple times 15 or one time 30 seconds.

I prescribe to what Charlie wrote in saying that PNF works best, but if an athlete is extremely tight, then static stretching may be the best prescription.

With over 8 types of PNF…where to begin? Also not all PNF requires partners! Thanks to the lab rats and specialits I found that 12 are very effective.