Static stretches are stationary stretches that isolate a muscle during the stretching process. Static stretches are composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen and elongate the muscle. They are typically held for several seconds before releasing and repeating the stretch. Examples include toe touches to stretch the calf and hamstring kneels.
Static stretches are typically held for at least 30 seconds but no longer than two minutes for the best results. If the stretch can be held for longer than two minutes without discomfort, a deeper stretch may need to be performed. Over time static stretching lessens the sensitivity of tension receptors, resulting in a relaxed muscle that can be further elongated.
Static stretching used to be the preferred method of stretching for athletes and dancers, but many have moved toward working more dynamic stretching (moving stretches that take the body through its whole range of motion) into their routines. Dynamic stretching is now said to be better at increasing flexibility and reducing muscle stiffness, which in turn decreases and prevents injuries.
Exercises that include static stretching can be very beneficial for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, as it can help loosen the plantar fascia and ease pain.