Dynamic Stretching: How to Warm Up Like a Pro Athlete For Killer Workouts
Dynamic Stretching exercises do look pretty strange to the uninitiated. I have gotten a lot of funny comments or funny looks when I perform my dynamic stretching routine like; are you preparing for the ballet now?
But dynamic stretching is catching on. Many people are starting to see the many benefits of dynamic stretching instead of the static stretching that has always been recommended.
Dynamic stretching versus static stretching
Classical static stretching exercises that we all know is where you stand or sit or lie in place and hold a position to stretch out the muscle. Like touching your toes and pulling up your leg behind you to stretch your quadriceps. A static stretch is technically defined as whenever a stretch is held for more than 6 seconds. Scientific studies over the past 10 years have revealed results that go against everything you’ve heard about stretching.
In 2010 the US Center for Disease Control released a paper summarizing over 100 studies on stretching, all reaching the same conclusion: pre workout static stretching is detrimental to your performance and decreases force production and muscle activation.
In plain English, this means that pre-workout static stretching actually causes the Central Nervous System to begin shutting down that weakens the signal to the muscles. It’s essentially like telling your muscles “Hey Guys, we’re done for the day. Let’s start to relax.” Stretching a muscle to its capacity before a workout invites injury, rather than helping to prevent it. Definitely not the way you want to start a workout.
Static stretching is great to do on off days from training or after a workout, but not before.
So if conventional stretching is bad for you, what should you do instead?
Pro Athletes do a series of Active Movements known as “Dynamic Stretching” or a “Dynamic Warm Up”. What exactly is the difference between a Static Stretch and a Dynamic Stretch?
Dynamic stretching exercises are… well.. dynamic. A Dynamic Stretch is done actively, with movement. A dynamic stretch shouldn’t be held for more than a few seconds. And it often involves swinging, hopping or mimicking the athletic moves of the sport or activity you are about to engage in. This prepares your body for physical activity; it raises your core temperature and wakes up the nervous system, while stretching and warming up the muscles.
Here are some dynamic stretching videos:
Dynamic stretching is valuable for: fitness, joggers, runners, weight lifters, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, hockey players, people who want to lose weight, gain weight, play racquetball, golf, squash, or anything else that requires physical effort. It is even great for sedentary people, workers and laborers.
The main points about Dynamic Stretching are:
- According to experts, conventional stretching is wrong to do before a workout, and can be dangerous.
- This has been documented in major media outlets such NY Times, MSNBC, USA Today, and published in over 100 medical and scientific journals.
- All Pro Athletes and Division I college athletes warm up with dynamic stretching, aka a Dynamic Warm Up. This is understandable because Dynamic mobility drills improve performance in sprints, jumping, endurance & agility and most importantly dynamic stretching activate the nervous system.
- Experts recommend dynamic stretching instead of static stretching.
- Dynamic stretching increase your range of motion, reduces likelihood of injury, increases explosiveness, decreases muscle soreness and gets you better prepared for a workout.
- Dynamic stretching also builds core strength and helps people lose weight/gain muscle faster.
A sample dynamic stretching routine
Ankle circlesLeg SwingsSide-to-Side Leg SwingsReverse lungesWindmillsArm circles – forward + backwardsShoulder Dislocations with broomstick
- Sets: 1-2
- Reps: 20-30
- Focus on quality not quantity, speed and reach. Doing the exercises correctly and often will improve your mobility.
- Take it slowly. Increase speed & range of motion as your muscles loosen. Don’t force movement from the start. Forcing a muscle into a new range by building up too much momentum will trigger the stretch reflex and the muscles will contract instead of relax.
- Move. These are dynamic stretches! Don’t stay in one position for a better stretch, move from rep to rep.
Notice how you feel after doing just a few Dynamic Stretches versus Static Stretches. See if your heart rate has increased, if your muscles feel more awake, more ready to be put into action. The great thing about a good dynamic stretch is that it activates your body, and you can feel the difference right away.
If you want to dig deeper into dynamic streching I have a free ebook that will teach you:
- 3 Conventional Stretches That Are Harming You And Their Dynamic Alternatives
- Top 5 Dynamic Stretching Mistakes to Avoid
- How to Warm Up Like a Pro Athlete And Get More Out Of Your Workouts
Download it below by “right click” with your mouse and select “save target as”
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