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All About Stretching

In a previous blog titled, "Split Tips", we talked about tips to improve your splits by stretching to increase your flexibility and mobility.


What is stretching? Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon is deliberately expanded and flexed in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Stretching is also used therapeutically to alleviate cramps and to improve function in daily activities by increasing range of motion.


Spin City Aerial Fitness states there are 5 types of stretches. These are: Static, Dynamic, Ballistic, Assisted and PNF or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching. 

· Static- Static stretching is a type of stretching exercise in which you stretch a muscle (or group of muscles) to its farthest point and then hold that position for an extended period, usually around 20-30 seconds. It’s typically done to improve flexibility and cool down after exercise.

· Dynamic- Making active movements that stretch the muscles to their full range of motion. These exercises often simulate functional movements and help prime the body for more intense training. It can warm up the body for exercise, improve muscle strength and prevent injury.

· Ballistic - a form of stretching that involves fast and sudden movements to increase flexibility. It is done by propelling or bouncing a part of the body beyond its normal range of motion

· Assisted- Assisted by another person or apparatus (ie yoga strap, chair)

· PNF or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching -  a technique that uses reflexes to produce deeper and more effective stretches. It can help improve flexibility and injury recovery in most muscles of the body. Putting muscles into a Hold-Relax; Contract-Relax; Hold-Relax-Contract; 


"Now, the question is, how does engaging your muscles help with your stretching? Simply put, without any engagement, injuries such as muscle sprains can happen more easily. Moreover, as an aerialist, it is important to have the endurance and muscles that can back up your flexibility," states Mijin, who teaches our "Stretchy & Flexy" classes at Fly. "If you are an aerialist, you would most likely use your shoulders and upper body the most. Without a doubt, having a strong upper body is important; however, this can often lead to stiffness and low range of motion in your upper body. For that reason, it is important to keep stretching and strengthening your shoulders as well as getting flexible with your legs." Mijin also added that, "Stretching can be stressful and a lengthy process; however, it is important to remember that even 5 minutes of stretching can make a difference in your future." 

Check out our SCHEDULE of grounded (Stretchy & Flexy, Yoga and Conditioning) as well as aerial classes and get your stretch on!


Written By Alicia Schroder

Fly Circus and Aerial Arts

Group Fitness Instructor and Aerial Coach

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