Achieve your fitness goals, become a better athlete, and recover quicker by adding a dynamic warm-up to the beginning of any physical activity.
Whether you’re just getting started in your fitness journey, trying to jump back into a routine, or looking to try a new sport – a proper warm-up and stretching routine is essential to your performance and injury prevention.
Is Your Warm-Up Stretch Routine All Wrong?
Bend down and touch your toes. Grab your foot behind your body. Lean left. Lean right. Lean into the wall to stretch your calf. Reach your arm across your body. Now reach your hand behind your head. “Ok, I’m ready.” – total time: 60 seconds.
If so – you’re not alone. This is typical for many people when warming up.
Unfortunately, this is often not enough to prepare our bodies to move correctly. An improper warm-up can lead to muscle strains and increased stress on our joints, resulting in pain or injury!
Can a Dynamic Warm-Up Reduce Injury and Enhance Performance?
A dynamic warm-up stretches and prepares the body before the workout through multi-joint, full range of motion exercises. This warm-up will increase your muscles’ blood flow, lubricate your joints, improve flexibility, and prepare your body’s nervous system to move better. Typically, the dynamic workout only requires a 10–20-foot space and gradually intensifies throughout a 5-10 minutes period. You should feel your heart rate begin to increase and your body start to warm up by the end. Now you’re ready!
Studies suggest a dynamic warm-up reduces the risk for soft-tissue injury and improves athletic performance compared to static stretching.
An appropriate dynamic warm-up should include movements that are specific to your upcoming task. It is recommended you consult with a physical therapist or personal trainer if you have questions about the best dynamic warm-up routine for you.
The following video highlights 18 different dynamic stretches you can implement into your warm-up routine: https://bit.ly/39LNDBJ
With All the Benefits of Dynamic Stretching, Is There A Place For Static Stretching?
Maintaining flexibility has long-term effects on our posture and joint health, but lengthening muscles takes time and consistency. The best time to perform static stretching is after your workout, when the muscles are warmed up. The American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for static stretching includes 2-3 days per week performing 2-4 sets of 15-30 second holds. Hold times of up to 60 seconds are more effective for those over 65 years old. You can apply these principles to any muscle group.
Need an EASY hamstring exercise? Try this:
Both dynamic and static stretching have a place in your workout. Dynamic stretches are shown to stretch your muscles and warm-up your body prior to your workout. Static stretching increases flexibility and should be done after your workout while your muscles are warm. In your next workout, be sure to include dynamic and static stretches to help enhance your athletic performance, prevent injury, and promote flexibility.
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- Page, P. Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2012;7(1):109-119.
- Small K, Mc Naughton L, Matthews M. A Systematic review into the efficacy of static stretching as part of a warm-up for the prevention of exercise-related injury. Re Sports Med. 2008;16(3):213-231.
- Ce E, Margonato V, Casasco M, Veicsteinas A. Effects of stretching on maximal anaerobic power: the roles of active and passive warm-ups. J Strength Cond Res. May 2008;22(3):794-800
- Fletcher IM, Anness R. The acute effects of combined static and dynamic stretch protocols on fifty-meter sprint performance in track-and-field athletes. J Strength Cond Res. Aug 2007;21(3):784-787