Static Stretching

Static stretching is the most common type of stretching we think of when we hear the word stretch.

This type of stretching increases muscle extensibility, in turn, increasing that joints' range of motion (ROM).

Following a short jog, a few jumping jacks or even a heating pack to increase muscle temperature, complete the recommended stretches holding the stretch for 10-30 seconds feeling a light tingle or slight discomfort. Consider a scale from one to ten, one being barely anything, to ten being a muscle pulling, burning sensation; you only want to hit a 2 on the 10 scale. Repeat the stretch 2-4 times for an accumulation of 60 seconds maximum per stretch.

Dynamic Stretching

When you think about dynamic stretching the first thing that comes to mind might be

movement. According to Blahnik (2011), dynamic stretching is a stretch that is performed by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly, usually 10 to 12 times. This movement-based approach is favored among athletes and can help to improve ROM and mobility. These benefits make this type of stretching a useful tool for beginners as well as experienced athletes. With Dynamic stretching, we hope to put the muscle and joint through its full range of motion in order to warm up the muscles and body prior to the activity. Knowing this, dynamic stretching should not bring the muscles into positions where there is too much stretch.

Assistive Stretches 
While Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR) are very similar, but 

they have slight differences which can increase or decrease the impact of your treatment. In PNF stretching, there is 

often a much more aggressive approach. During the isometric phase, resistance can b
e upwards of 100% of the muscles 

maximal force (Emary, 2011). PIR typically is gentler and is tailored more towards the patient’s muscle relaxation to 

increase flexibility.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

PNF stretching is most typically a hands-on stretch, where the muscles to be stretched are moved by the practitioner. The

muscle will be moved into its end ROM facilitating a light stretch, followed by isometric muscular contractions to work the

muscle being stretched. Typically, you can expect to hold each active stretch portion 20-30 seconds with 3-6 second

bouts of isometric contraction. Repeating the protocol 3 times. This type of stretch is beneficial as there is a static

contraction that increases the relaxation response of the muscle tissue.

Post-Isometric Relaxation technique (PIR)
PIR stretching is a gentle stretch that is used for joint mobilization and to achieve muscular relaxation. This technique is

looking to reduce pain, improve flexibility, and joint function and range of motion. The protocol for PIR includes a stretch,

an isometric phase, and a relaxation phase. As explained by Emery, 2011, the muscle will be put into a stretched position

and lengthened until the first sign of muscular resistance is present. The second phase is the resistance phase, this is

where the client puts minimum resistance in to muscle to be stretched. The stretch is completed with muscular relaxation.

A true muscular relaxation is highly recommended, do not rush this phase!


1.        Baechle TR, Earle RW. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Second Edition. Champagne, IL: Human Kinetics; 2000.

2.        Blahnik, J. (2011). Full-body flexibility. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

3.        Clark MA, Lucett SC. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Second Edition. Location: Bartlett and Jones;2014

4.        Emary, P. (2012). Use of post-isometric relaxation in the chiropractic management of a 55-year-old man with cervical radiculopathy. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association56(1), 9–17.


Emily McDonald is a student at Mohawk College in the Health, Wellness and Fitness diploma program completing her placement at MMD Chiropractic.