Static stretching is perhaps the most popular, or at least the most well-known, method of stretching. It involves passively stretching a muscle to the period of mild discomfort and holding it for an extended length of time. This has been proven an effective means for correcting muscle imbalances as well as preventing long-term injuries. It has also been shown that it may help prevent muscular injuries, but not bone and joint injuries. Some controversy arises from this when debate ensues as to which stretching method is the most effective. It is not recommended for athletes to use prolonged static stretching before competition or an important practice session. This is due to the fact that static stretching slows muscle activation for about an hour afterwards. DROM, or dynamic stretching, is better suited for athletic warm ups. Static stretching, however, is beneficial for increasing flexibility, and should be performed at the appropriate times, such as the beginning of a season, or separate from workouts or practice.
The use of static stretching is also the preferable method to facilitate an increase of range of motion in mature adults, as well as individuals with overly tightened muscles, such as the hamstrings (most common). Static Stretching has also been known to aid the decrease of body fat and reduction of cholesterol as well as the reversal of hardening of the arteries in adults with coronary disease. The optimum length of time to hold a static stretch seems to be 30 seconds. Any longer will still bring about the same results.