stretching downward facing dog by pool

Dynamic or Relaxing? Two Very Different Methods of Stretching

Stretching is just stretching, right?

You wouldn’t be alone if you thought this. However, the process that is stretching the soft tissues of our body is more widely varied than many may think and its importance often goes overlooked.

Stretching comes in a multitude of formats with each method designed for a variety of purposes that will provide you with different experiences and results.

Dynamic and Relaxing stretching both stretch out the muscles in the body, however, they each do this is different ways.

Dynamic stretching

When engaging in Dynamic Stretching, you are working and stretching the muscles at the same time. Essentially the stretch occurs through active movement of the body.

Why Is It Dynamic?

Dynamic stretching sees the body moving dynamically. The limbs are being pushed and pulled back and forth in a strong yet controlled manner.

As the movement continues, it gains greater reach and speed. This in turn gently increases your range of motion.  

There is not bouncing or jerky movements in Dynamic Stretching. The aim is not to move beyond your range of motion, but to reach a full stretch actively and safely.

How Dynamic Stretching Can Help You

Dynamic Stretching is perfect for warming up prior to exercise. It helps to prepare the body for an increase in both physical and mental stress and intensity.

Knoff Yoga and Pilates are methods that utilise Dynamic Stretching. The benefits of these practices are extensive. Not only do you see short and long term improvements to mobility and reduced risk of injury., but you experience notable advancement in strength.

Dynamic Stretching is incredibly strengthening for the body. The act of stretching and strengthening the muscles at the same time deeply activate and reinforce the muscle fibres. This process corrects posture and alignment and produces in a strong, well-toned body.

Relaxing Stretching

When engaging in Relaxing Stretching, the body is still and the muscles are not contracted. This type of stretch lengthens the muscles without stimulation or activation.

Why Is It Relaxing?

Relaxing Stretching is often referred to as Passive Stretching. It is labelled as such because you assume a position and hold it, bringing yourself into a state of grounded stillness.

Passive Stretching removes tension and intensity and provides space in the body. By relaxing all the muscles around the bones, leaning into the stretch and holding it for some time you are gently pulling the bones apart and creating space and the feeling of ease within the joints.

When engaging in Relaxing Stretching your entire body does not have to be passive at the same time. You can increase a static stretch with the aid of another part of your body, such as engaging the arms as your reach for your foot to enhance the stretch down the back of your leg.

Props, such as bands and straps, and other people can also assist in moving your body to the end of its range of movement. Once you reach the upper end of your range limit, you rest there. Over time the muscle fibres will release tension and the stretch can slowly and safely occur.  

How Relaxing Stretching Can Help You

Relaxing Stretching is very therapeutic. It is perfect for cooling down the body and mind after exercise, releasing tension and loosening any stiffness in the body.

The form of these passive stretches are easy to learn and are extremely effective in reducing any fatigue, soreness or spasms you experience after active or sustained activities.

Various types of yoga include Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga use Relaxing Stretching to nurture the body. Not only does it bring deep release to the muscles but it also invites peace to the mind and healing from the inside out.

Stretching in all forms is extremely nourishing and detoxifying for the body. Include safe stretching as a part of your conscious practice or exercise routine for a boost to your holistic health and physical performance.