What is Dynamic And Static Stretching?
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching has become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. This warm up technique helps to prevent injuries that could occur during workouts or sports competitions. It is an essential warm up activity when speed and explosive power are required during physical exertion.
Consequently, dynamic stretching has become a vital part of enhancing physical performance.
Dynamic stretching can be simply described as the act of using momentum or active movements to stretch various muscles. It is the exact opposite of static stretching, which involves holding a stretch while maintaining a stationary position.
You’ll learn more about static stretches in a later blog post, but the scope of this discussion will focus more on dynamic stretching.
Examples of Dynamic Stretches
There are many types of dynamic stretches, but most of them are modeled around specific workouts or sports. A common dynamic stretch for the lower body is high knee raises while walking in place. This is a classic example of how runners prepare the leg and lower back muscles for sprinting.
Another common type of dynamic stretch for the upper body involves spreading out both arms and swinging them in circular motions. You will often see athletes in sports such as swimming, baseball and tennis performing arm circles to prepare the upper body and lower back for arm movements like throwing and swinging.
There are many other dynamic stretches such as but kicks, windmills, side twists, ankle rolls and so on. Athletes who benefit the most from dynamic stretching are those engaged in sports that require abrupt bursts of movement from a standstill position. Stretches that mimic actual athletic activity help the body to become accustomed to these movements during workouts and sports.
For example, a soccer player doing kicking stretches will effectively warm up the limbs and body to anticipate challenges that are specific to football.
What is the Importance of Dynamic Stretching?
Many coaches and fitness trainers recommend dynamic stretching prior to workouts or competitive games as a way to prepare the body for the workload it is about to do. The science behind how active movements stretch the muscles and set up the body to perform at its optimal best is quite simple to understand.
Dynamic stretches activate and stimulate a series of physiological mechanisms.
To begin with, the brain signals muscles and connective tissues in use to prepare to do work the moment you stretch through active movements. Energy is then generated to support the muscles being used, your heart starts to pump faster and you begin to breath deeper.
A rise in temperature also occurs, which allows the muscle tissues to better handle sudden movements than how a cooler and unprepared body would. Targeted muscle fibers and connective tissues continue to gain more flexibility and range of motion as the body temperature rises.
On the other hand, blood flow increases to ensure that oxygen reaches the cells to burn glucose and make ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) or energy.
Whether you are an athlete or simply workout to keep fit, warming up through dynamic stretches will go a long way in improving your performance.
It is important to remember that although there are many different dynamic stretches, no single routine or way of stretching is better than the rest. Each type of stretch has its own set of pros and cons depending upon the target muscles it engages.
The key to getting the most out of dynamic stretching lies in choosing stretches that support the purpose or goal you are trying to achieve.
That means if you are a runner, do some research to find out the best dynamic stretches for runners and if you are a weightlifter, design a warm up routine that best works for your particular sport or workout program.
What is Static Stretching?
Static stretching is an exercise that involves extending muscles to its limit and then holding it at that position for some time. This exercise is done while the rest of the body is at rest. The duration of holding a given stretch depends on the age of the participant, preexisting conditions, the level of activeness, and pre-existing injuries.
During the holding duration or immediately afterward, one experiences a mild discomfort in the muscles involved. When done after a workout, it cools the body and improves the flexibility of the muscles.
Examples of Static Stretching
- Head bend
- Shoulder and triceps stretch
- Chest stretch
- Biceps stretch
- Trunk rotation
- Hamstring stretch
- Upper back stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Side bends
- Calf stretch
- Groin stretch
Benefits of Static Stretching:
- Static stretching improves your flexibility and this basically means that your range of motions around a given joint is improved. It enhances free and efficient movement.
- Additionally, static stretching relaxes the body and mind of the participant. Taking deep and slow breaths while stretching reduces stress in some people. For many others, the release of muscle tension relaxes them.
- Static stretching helps improves the balancing of the body. When some muscles have reduced flexibility, this causes muscular imbalances. Muscle pulls can also cause a change in the alignment of your body, and this can be prevented by simple stretching exercises.
When to Stretch
Before static stretching, it is good to start with an aerobic activity like swimming or cycling for several minutes to warm the muscles. Afterward, a static stretch is encouraged for 15 to 45 seconds for two or three times. If you want to swim, be sure to static stretch your lats. Alternatively, if you want to do full-range squats, static stretch your calves. After finishing your training session, static stretch the muscles that you want to increase the range of motion.
Stretching workout is recommended for participants in any sport or exercise with tight hamstrings because they are more exposed to hamstring strains.
The static stretch should be done thrice on daily basis. For young people, 15 seconds hold is enough. For people under the age of forty, 30 seconds stretches are sufficient. For those over seventy years old, 60 seconds stretches are more beneficial than the 30 seconds one.
Static stretches should be relaxing and not cause undue discomfort. A physical therapist should be consulted before starting the program in case of any pre-existing injuries.