If you are an athlete or you are into strenuous workouts that involve lifting weights, then your trainer would have taught you the basics of dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching has gained popularity because of its ability to improve performance in sports and other activities.
If you are looking to get the most out of your body during a workout or during your big game, then dynamic stretches are something you should involve in your warm-up sessions.
Let’s examine the difference between dynamic and static stretches and what advantages the former has in store for your body.
Dynamic Stretches Vs. Static Stretches
Dynamic stretching is best described as stretching while in motion. This type of stretching is not only a good warm up for your muscles but also improves the flexibility of your muscles, thereby, preparing them for a strenuous workout or sport.
Static stretching, on the other hand, involves stretches that you hold for 15 to 20 seconds without moving. These stretches can reduce stiffness or cramping up of muscles and their results are best experienced after a workout.
Both dynamic and static stretches fit into the fitness and training regimen. The difference is that they serve different purposes – static stretches maintain mobility, while dynamic stretches improve the performance involved in a sport or workout.
Benefits Of Dynamic Stretches In Workouts
If you are wondering what’s the best warm up before a vigorous exercise or any other physical activity, dynamic stretching is the answer. These have benefits that will help your body perform a sport or exercise better.
1. They Activate The Muscles
Dynamic stretches can help activate your muscles that are involved in the exercise or any other activity.1 These stretches also prepare the body for the sport or exercise at hand. With consistent dynamic stretching, you may be able to avoid injuries because the body is free from stiffness. For instance, if you are headed to the gym to perform weighted lunges (an exercise that tones your thighs, front and back muscles, butt), you are required to perform a dynamic stretch that involves your hips, legs, and core muscles.
2. They Improve Your Motor Skills
Dynamic stretching also improves your motor skills. Motor skills are nothing but the actions that involve the movement of your muscles in the body. Dynamic stretches involve those muscles that are required for a particular sport or exercise. With these specific stretches, the body becomes accustomed to the motions over time. The result is an improvement in your motor skills and better performance at the game or in your exercise.2
3. They Prepare You Mentally
Dynamic stretches also play a role in preparing your mind for a sport or an exercise. This is because dynamic stretches increase the temperature of your muscles and also increase the blood flow. This helps reduce any stiffness that you may experience before a vigorous movement. Static stretching, on the other hand, keeps your mind calm and does not prepare your body for the high-intensity movements involved in the sport or exercise.
4. They Boost Your Performance
Studies have reported that those who perform dynamic stretches are able to perform better and for a longer duration.3 These stretches improve the muscle power and also loosen up the muscles, thereby allowing you to use your full range of motion. Dynamic stretches also help in better coordination of the muscles in your body.
3 Simple Examples Of Dynamic Stretches
1. Lunge With A Twist
This is a combination of two stretches. The lunge activates the legs, glutes, and hips while the twist activates the upper and the middle back muscles and activates core rotation.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a step forward with your right leg, bend both your knees, and rotate your torso to the right.
- Return to the initial position and repeat this with the left leg.
- You can repeat this ten times on each side.
2. Knee To Chest
This exercise stretches your hamstrings, back, and glutes. It provides flexibility and an increase in the range of motion in your joints. You can use this exercise to ease any muscle tension.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Bring one knee to your chest, while keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
- Keeping your lower back pressed to the floor, hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Relax and lower the knee to the initial position.
- Repeat the same for the other leg.
3. High Kicks
This is a good warm up exercise for your legs and glutes. It increases the strength of your lower body and core.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift one leg as high as possible.
- Return to the initial position and repeat with the other leg.
- For better results, do this warm up exercise with a fast pace.
So, now that you know how a dynamic stretch can benefit your physical performance in a sport or during a workout, practice them regularly. However, consult a trainer or a physical therapist before you perform any new stretches.
|↑1||Page, Phil. “Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation.” International journal of sports physical therapy 7, no. 1 (2012): 109.|
|↑2||Little, Thomas, and Alun G. Williams. “Effects of differential stretching protocols during warm-ups on high-speed motor capacities in professional soccer players.” Journal of strength and conditioning research 20, no. 1 (2006): 203.|
|↑3||Herman, Sonja L., and Derek T. Smith. “Four-week dynamic stretching warm-up intervention elicits longer-term performance benefits.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22, no. 4 (2008): 1286-1297.|