Have you heard the discussion around warming up, static stretching, dynamic stretching and unsure what this means to you?
Recent research recommends the use of a dynamic active warm-up prior to exercise. Studies have found that dynamic stretching before exercise helps to increase performance and decrease the potential for injury.
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching involves a more active warm-up. During the warm-up, joints are taken through their full functional range of motion. These movements are initially performed slowly with a gradual speed increase, and with an arc of motion which mimics that of the sporting activity you are about to perform. Dynamic stretching is an exaggerated but controlled movement where the muscle remains active while it is being lengthened.
It is important that dynamic stretching not be confused with ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching involves trying to force a part of the body beyond its available range of motion in a bouncing or jerking movement. Dynamic stretching however involves much more controlled movements that are limited to the current range of motion of that particular joint.
How does it work?
Dynamic stretching has been found to provide a positive response to the neuromuscular system. This results in enhancing performance related to force and power production.
What about static stretching?
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that warm-up static stretching can actually be detrimental to performance.
Studies have found that static stretching can actually cause reduced muscle activation, depressed reflex activity, and a diminished maximal force production. When compared to dynamic stretching, static stretching had a negative influence on vertical jump performance.
It is therefore recommended that dynamic stretching and warm-up is to be used immediately before play, whereas static stretching is used as a cool down after exercise.
Tips to get the best out of your exercise session
- Perform an overall aerobic warm-up prior to any dynamic stretching (get that heart pumping!)
- Practice dynamic movements with one body part moving in relation to another
- Apply sport specific movement patterns (ie. if your about to kick the football do some dynamic leg kicks, if you’re about to run, do some dynamic ‘butt kicks’)
- Don’t forget about rotation! Rotation of the trunk and torso is a movement that is integral in connecting the lower limb with the upper limb. Good trunk rotation will allow force to transmit from the lower limb to the upper limb and vice versa; thereby helping reduce the risk of injury and improve overall force production.
Try these exercises below!
Please note that this method of stretching does require increased control and coordination when compared with static stretching. It is therefore important that you set aside some time to do these movements correctly. Start with a smaller range of movement and slowly increase your movement range.
Aim: To warm up the legs and elongate the hamstrings
- While standing, bring one leg forward in a kicking motion.
- Return and begin again.
- Be careful not to bounce or over-extend your back. Once warm, you can also try this in a walk.
Aim: To warm up the legs and elongate the quadriceps
- While standing, bring the foot of one leg towards the bottom.
- Return and begin again.
- Be careful not to bounce.
Walking Lunge with Rotation
Aim: To coordinate the leg and trunk movement and maximize trunk rotation. Great for any sport such as golf and tennis involving transferring of force from lower limb to upper limb
- Drop into a lunge and rotate the trunk over the forward leg.
- For more support, you can have your back knee resting on the ground.
Push Up to Walk
Aim: To warm up the chest, wrist, hand and elbows while also elongating and warming up the hamstrings
- Start in the push-up position.
- Then walk the feet toward the hands until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.
Call us today and discuss your warm up routine with one of our experts. We can personalize a program for all body types, sports and activities.