A common question our staff is often asked is: “which stretch is best for _____?” The question shouldn’t be which stretch is best, but rather what are we looking to achieve from stretching. Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through a range of motion (ROM) (Figure 1). Mobility is the capacity to which an individual can control movement within their available ROM (Figure 2). Each particular domain has its place in both the rehabilitation world, as well as outside the confines of a PT clinic.
Flexibility training, or stretching, has long been used as a method of warming up prior to physical activity. In recent years, it has been recognized in the rehabilitation and strength and conditioning realms that static stretching is not optimal prior to physical activity such as sports or resistance training. Stretching should be performed following physical activities or in a separate session as a cool down or to improve joint ROM.
Figure 1: Seated Calf Stretch
Mobility training, which encompasses dynamic movements, are utilized to improve movement through the available ROM, as well as provide increased blood flow to the surrounding tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and nervous tissue). Mobility training has been utilized more regularly in recent years by athletes and individuals of all levels and ages to better prepare for the demands of their respective physical activities.
Figure 2: World’s Greatest
It can often become unclear to know which form of exercise would be more appropriate for you to perform. The answer can be uncovered through a detailed assessment performed by one of our licensed physical therapists. Reach out to one of our facilities in Glendale, Kew Gardens or Manhasset to begin moving better today.