Ready to workout? Game time? It’s important to get moving before you get moving. Stretching is vital for sports and fitness. – in other words, they’re advocating dynamic stretching.
All stretching is effective – so whether you want to run and jump, or do toe touches and hamstring pulls, your preference should relate to the type of exercise and areas of the body you intend to work. The latter falls under static stretching, which is a warm-up that involves staying still. The former falls under dynamic stretching.
However, there is a distinct difference between the two.
What is dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching is an active warm-up in which you prepare your body for the movements it is about to perform. It’s a more effective way to brace your muscles for action than standing still since it increases your range of motion as well as blood flow and muscle temperature.
Although the list of benefits of stretching is endless, it’s often overlooked by overly-confident athletes who are eager to jump right into their record-breaking lift. Here are some of the benefits unique to dynamic stretching:
By stretching, you’re not putting your muscles into shock right away – which puts you less at risk for injury. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) conducted a study among young female soccer players and found that “a comprehensive warm-up program designed to improve strength, awareness, and neuromuscular control can prevent injuries.” Their stretching plan included running, jumping, and other dynamic exercises. The study also concluded that “the risk of injury can be reduced by about one third and the risk of severe injuries as much as half.” This could be due to the fact that by dynamic stretching, you’re accessing more muscles than you would by static stretching, which usually focuses on a specific muscle or muscle group.
Studies show that dynamic stretching can not only prepare you for your workout – but also energize your workout. According to one study, “static stretching has a negative effect on balance and agility performance compared to dynamic stretching.” The BMJ also discovered that “high-load dynamic warm-ups enhance power and strength performance.” This is the reason you always see professional athletes of all sports squeezing in all sorts of dynamic stretches before the big game.
Since dynamic stretching literally gets the blood flowing quicker, it makes for a more effective warm-up. What it also does is improve your mobility, even if your goal is just to get some muscle gains. This study shows that a dynamic warm-up model increased hamstring flexibility, while a static model had no effect. By priming your muscles by introducing their whole range of motion early on, that could enhance flexibility in the long run. Not to say that you’ll be doing splits after some shuttle runs, but improvements are inevitable with consistency.
Examples of dynamic stretches
- Arm/Leg swings
- Hip circles
- Half squats
- High kicks
- Trunk rotations
To learn more about injury prevention and how to increase mobility and athleticism, contact the certified personal trainers at Thrive Fitness by emailing us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.