How long do I need to stretch to create change?

What Is Static Stretching?
Static stretching is a form of stretching that deliberately lengthens a particular muscle or tendon in order to improve that muscle’s elasticity and muscle tone. It allows individuals to feel an increase in muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion.

But how much stretching is needed to get results and effectively lengthen our muscles?

Recently, a study was done by Shruh Nambiar, a master in clinical sports physiotherapy, which aimed to investigate the impact of static stretching. She found that holding your stretch for 30 seconds for 6 sets, 5 times a week for 6 weeks resulted in a significant increase in the length of the muscle. Another study found that holding the stretch for 2-3 minutes was also beneficial.  So each muscle group needs 120-180 seconds of stretching in total to get a lasting stretch effect.

Most clients that we see with tight muscles, only do 1-2 quick stretches at the most. This does not have a very effective impact on your muscles. Taking 15 minutes out of your day to hold and count your stretches will have a significantly larger impact on your well-being in the long term and will help to prevent a lot of injuries.

Remember: When you are stretching, you should move a muscle as far as it can go without feeling any pain, then hold that position. It may feel uncomfortable but it should not be painful.

If you need some help getting started, feel free to book an appointment with one of our trained professionals here at Back To Health Physiotherapy, or give us a call at 9997 4970.

Reference Paper: Panidi, I. et al. (2023) ‘Muscle architecture adaptations to static stretching training: A systematic review with meta-analysis’, Sports Medicine – Open, 9(1). doi:10.1186/s40798-023-00591-7.