Dynamic vs Static Stretching
In preparation for any type of exercise or activity - cardio exercise, lifting weights, playing tennis, etc - you need to have your muscles ready for action. To do this, we have two types of warm ups, static stretching and activity-based, dynamic stretching.
Static Stretching - This is what most of us have grown up with; gradually lengthening a muscle, holding the stretch for up to 30 seconds. What comes to mind, is an image of a runner bending over their leg, reaching for their toes, stretching the hamstrings. The idea is to release tension, making the muscle feel longer and more pliable, reducing the risk of a tear or strain.
Dynamic Stretching - Otherwise known as, an active warm-up, this activity focuses on movement-based stretching replicating the activity you are about to perform. Examples of this include: bodyweight lunges, skipping, jogging, trunk rotations, shoulder circles and agility drills. Performing these light effort exercises primes the body for action, more specifically mimicking the tasks that will be performed in your exercise. Dynamic stretching has certainly become the choice when it comes effectively warming up.
The benefits of active, dynamic warms-ups, especially those involving dynamic stretching, include boosting the blood flow to your muscles, activating the central nervous system, enhancing strength, function, power and range of motion. As a result, this offers immediate and longer-term benefits.
Research has found that while static stretching can provide recovery benefits at the end of a workout, it can inhibit performance when performed as a warm up. This occurs by relaxing the muscle, reducing strength, reducing blood supply and decreasing the nervous function. Static stretching is more effective as a cool down stretch or as a prescribed stretch to lengthen a short, problematic muscle, directed by a health care practitioner.
So next time your about to embark on an exercise of choice, try a dynamic warm-up. If you are suffering tight muscles, then see one of our team at Advanced Health to prescribe the most effective and appropriate stretch for you!
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