This month I would like to discuss the benefits of dynamic over more traditional, static stretching when it comes to warming up before training or competition.
Most of us are familiar with “static stretching” which consists of various techniques to gradually lengthen a muscle for up to 2 minutes while the body is at rest. Although this type of stretching has been routinely used as a way to loosen up muscles before exercise, research is now showing that static stretching can actually hinder one’s power output, joint stability, reaction time and coordination. When you think about it, why would one stretch while the body is “at rest” when within minutes you might need to explode from a starting block or hustle up and down a basketball court? Current research suggests that static stretching should be reserved for after work outs or sporting events and may have little benefit before your activity.
The use of “dynamic stretching” which involves stretching specific muscle groups while continually moving throughout a warm up is now considered to be a much more effective, efficient and fun way to warm up before intense exercise.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
1. Prepares your body for exercise by actually activating sport-specific muscles and joints you will be using during your workout.
2. Increases your muscles’ core temperature for improved power output
3: Helps you mentally transition from rest to competition by challenging your body awareness, balance and coordination.
4: Improves range of motion and flexibility around your joints which helps reduce chance of injury and improve performance