I am a firm believer of using dynamic stretches before ALL my personal workouts and for about 80% of my client’s workouts. I find it really helps prepare them for their workout and increases long term flexibility. This is nothing new to the sports and training world. Nearly all sports at various levels have some form of dynamic stretching routine prior to practice or competition. This was not always the case and it wasn’t too long ago that static stretching was the only form of flexibility work done during practice. In the 90s when I grew up playing sports, dynamic stretching was unknown. At least this was the case at the jr. high and high school levels where I lived. It was not until 2005 when I went through physical therapy I was taught these series of movements. They called them mobility exercises. Some may call them functional warm-up drills or movements.
Major benefits if done consistently over a long period of time.
Doing 10 minutes of dynamic stretching prior to physical activity can improve your flexibility, but it must be done often and over the course of months. I find that it works better than static stretching and it allows you to be flexible in an athletic way, as opposed to being just flexible. Improvements from dynamic stretching:
Dynamic over static stretching?
Before a workout, usually. Before competition, always. Now this depends on the type of workout being performed. For a sports practice, this is typically done in the beginning either before or after a light jog. For a general fitness workout it may or may not matter depending on the person and the activity being performed. I like to have my clients do them because it warms them up while stretching and allows them to practice general movements. Static stretching is typically not done prior to sports practice because it can make muscles too relaxed and less responsive. For this same reason they certainly should not be done before competition.
Static stretching still has its place in fitness
Static stretching is often recommended post-workout or at night. I was once told by an athlete who depends greatly on his flexibility that he felt static stretching was necessary because it helped him keep the flexibility he picked up that prior day/week during his training. By itself it didn’t help him gain flexibility. I feel the same. Stretching has helped me retain what I picked up in practice and helps me be ready for the next day. When dealing with injuries, static stretching is very much needed.
Do them before your next workout
The above video contains basic dynamic stretches seen in various sports warmups. Every sport has their own selection based on its demands. For the general fitness person these series of movements are a great way to warmup, gain flexibility, and improve general movements. Spend 5-10 minutes performing these prior to your workout.
Haff, Triplett, Essentials in Strength Training and Conditioning
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
4193 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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