When should you be stretching and when should you be foam rolling? In reality, there’s a lot of overlap between the two and combining both together can often provide beneficial results. However, there are instances when one may be more appropriate over the other.
This is dependent on what sport or activity a person is engaged in.
The two most common types of stretching are static and dynamic stretching. They both involve lengthening the muscle being stretched in order to improve flexibility and range of motion but differ in the way they are performed.
Static stretching involves holding a position for a certain length of time, typically 20-30 seconds. This type of stretching is great for sports and activities that require a lot of flexibility such as gymnasts, dancers, yoga, or at the end of a workout for general fitness. However, it’s best to avoid this type of stretching before activities where speed, power, and agility is needed.
Dynamic stretching involves actively moving the body through different ranges of motion for a number of repetitions, usually around 10-15. This is great because it increases blood flow, circulation, and oxygen delivery to the muscles and surrounding tissues to warm-up the body for a workout. It can be performed before or after basically any sport or activity.
Foam rolling is great for a variety of different things. It can be used to improve flexibility in the muscles, improve joint mobility, and help work out adhesions and trigger points that can develop with age, activity, or injury. It’s like an all-purpose tool that can be used before activity, as a cool down after activity, and any other time throughout the day.
Dr. Ryan Donahue was born and raised in Sioux City, IA. He attended the University of Iowa where he received a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Physiology before graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern Health Sciences University as a Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Donahue is a Certified Provider of Active Release Technique, RockTape kinesiology tape, and SMART Tools (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization). He has also had extensive post graduate training in various treatment and rehabilitation approaches that include McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).