When I asked one of my co-workers about her warm up routine she does at the gym the other day…it occurred to me that many people still, simply do not know the proper way to warm up the muscles before exercise.
I had forgotten(being an athlete for over eight years and counting..) that most people still do static stretching and stiff body positions before they start their workouts. This is an old and
wrong way of getting the body ready for whatever workout your about to get into. Most people either skip warm up stretches altogether or do a quick, stiff hold of only a few muscle groups before getting started. Both are not wise, for many reasons I’m about to delve into!
I’d like to FIRST tell you why you should do dynamic stretching BEFORE exercise and static AFTER. Then I want to give you some practical exercises of each that you can easily implement into any workout- in the gym or before a run/walk/bike outside.
So, what is Dynamic Stretching?
- Dynamic stretching is essentially any stretch that you do while keeping your body moving as you follow through with a controlled range of motion
- This type of stretching keeps the muscles elastic/loosened up if you will, also increases core temperature of the muscles- improving performance and reaction time
- Doing dynamic stretching before exercise gets your body ready by mimicking the type of movement you will do in the workout
- Since it’s all about controlled movement with the body, dynamic stretching increases proper form while effectively triggering the muscle contractions instead of stiffly elongating the muscle
What exactly is Static Stretching then..?
- Static stretching involves holding a fixed position with a muscle from anywhere from 10-60 second holds. (should be between 15-30 sec. for most of us but that’s a post for later!)
- Static stretches elongate the muscles and relieve tightness after movement
- Most of these stretches are held until point of tightness or discomfort(not pain!)
- Static stretching is done while the body is at rest, not movement
Why is Dynamic Stretching more effective before?
Dynamic stretching is crucial in prepping the body for any workout because it significantly reduces the chance of an injury occurring. Implementing dynamic drills before your workout will prepare you for the types of body movements you’ll be doing and increases the range of motion you have around joints. It will make each movement you need to do in the workout much easier this way because it’s a similar movement you’ll be performing during exercise.
Think about it- You don’t just stand still in a fixed position for 30 seconds in a workout do you? …No!
So shouldn’t your warm up correlate to the type of workout your given to do?
Here’s a great article I found on Runner’sWorld.com that gives you an idea of what some of these exercises might look like: http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/a-dynamic-stretching-routine
Why is Static Stretching better for post workout?
Static stretching is an older and often misunderstood form of stretching. It’s a great way to lengthen the muscles and get a good stretch for tighter muscles by holding them and slowly stretching. It does increase the flexibility of muscles, but slower and not explosively.The whole point of a static stretch is to “relax” the body and stretch the warmed up muscles. So why would we want to relax the muscles before we need them to fire on all cylinders? We wouldn’t right?
Think of that groggy feeling you get in the early morning when you get out of bed or maybe the afternoon slump you get that makes the thought of working out at all that much harder. Static stretching will keep you relaxed, not increase your explosiveness.
In my opinion, static stretching makes me feel even sleepier and not amped up at all before a session. I used to do static stretching when I was younger all the time- before and after exercise because I didn’t know any better.
Now, I know the way my body reacts and what I need to do to get max performance out of my workouts. I need to be moving and stay warm!!
Dynamic stretching is really a great catalyst in getting and keeping my muscles warmed up when I need them.
Think about a track meet:
Maybe you’ve been a spectator in the stands watching and see a bunch of athletes getting ready for their events. They can’t sit still!! They look like they’re hopping around, doing weird movements and you don’t get why they are moving so much and wasting energy BEFORE their race!!
They are participating in dynamic stretching! This active, constant movement is keeping the body temperature and muscles warmed up so they won’t pull something or feel shocked when the gun goes off.
Yes, dynamic stretching is the opposite of what you may “feel” like doing before exercise because of what you’ve known or done your whole life. BUT it’s the exact thing you need in your warm up routine to keep you from getting injured and maximize your performance.
If you can just add 5-10 minutes into your warm up for dynamic stretching, I know you’ll see immediate results. You’ll feel more energetic when your muscles fire, movements will feel more fluid and easier and your form will improve. All of these qualities will help to improve muscular flexibility, range of motion, form, strength and KEEP YOU FROM INJURY.
You don’t have to do a ton of exercises either or anything crazy and tiring. Just add a few, simple, CONTROLLED movements to your warm up and see how you feel before your next workout(In or Out of the weight room!)
There are also a variation of different stretching techniques you can do like- static-passive, active, dynamic-passive ect. But for the simplest goal of this post, I really wanted to discuss only the importance and difference between Dynamic and Static stretching.
Lastly, I will be adding more to this post later for you guys & adding some pictures for you to compare what I mean and adding videos too when I get a chance to film soon. I want my blog to have a special fitness section for you so that you all can use this as a tool and reference for your own training a growth!
I appreciate all of my readers following my posts as I further my fitness journey and improve myself and become more knowledgeable and share what I already know and practice for you to use as well.
Please comment on this with any questions or anywhere I post this blog or share it yourself! I want feedback and also more questions about health&fitness to spark my next #FitnessFriday Post<3 #LoloRunsFit