In last week’s blog Improving your Flexibility I spoke about avoiding static stretching prior to your workouts and instead recommended using dynamic stretching to warm up; leaving static stretching to either finish your training or to be done another time.
Static stretching is a very common form of stretching and is great for helping improve flexibility and keeping muscles and joints mobile. You can think of static stretching as taking a muscle and joint to its end range of motion and holding for a period of time, trying to increase that range of motion. Static stretching typically can be held anywhere from 20sec to 2-3min. This form of stretching is a great tool for recovery and warming down post-exercise/activity.
Dynamic stretching takes static stretching and incorporates low-intensity movements to prepare the muscles, joints, and other soft tissues for activity. Dynamic stretches get you moving through your full ranges of motion in a controlled manner. They can be performed over a given time or a set amount of reps. Usually, 10-15 reps or 60-90sec is enough to prime the movement. The reason dynamic stretches are preferred prior to training over static stretching is because of their ability to warm up the muscles, joints, and tissues, preparing the body for movement.
Now to apply this use dynamic stretches to warm up; moving through your stretches in a controlled manner for 10-15 reps or a set amount of time. Aiming to complete enough stretches to warm up the whole body. To finish your session and warm down, pick a few stretches to hold, taking yourself as far into the stretch as you can without pushing it, and hold for 30-90sec.