Whoever has ever trained with me probably knows that I am 100% for Dynamic Stretching prior to physical activity, and static stretching after. You might also know that I hate the idea of static stretching prior to physical activity, especially with power activities such as running or lifting. I have many reasons why this is the case, some of which I will explain to you! This article will focus solely on dynamic stretching, with another post to come explaining static stretching.
First, to explain:
Dynamic Stretches- take the muscle though a repetitive, complex movement towards the outer range of joint movements, but not yet reaching the end range. These types of stretches use momentum to move through the movement, without holding a position for extended periods of time. These stretches are great for warm ups.
Static Stretches- holding a stretch in one position for an extended period of time (generally 30-90 seconds). These stretches are hold at the end range of a position, and are great for cool downs.
- If you’re training for power and explosiveness, static stretching before the activity will elongate your muscles, thus leading to less tension in them. This will lead to a decrease in elasticity with your power movements, which in turn, leads to less power.
- Physiologically, your body needs to be activated and stimulated. Dynamic stretches allow action potentials (packets of energy messengers) to be sent through your nerves to prepare your muscles for these movements. (Herda et al., 2008)
- Dynamic stretches get your blood flowing and temperature rising. This will prepare your body for the exercises to come, as your muscles will be more elastic, your heart rate will be higher and your blood will be flowing to your muscles.
- Increased blood flow to your muscles and connective tissues will allow your muscles to be able to adapt to quick speed, high power and increase flexibility and range of motion (Deguzman, 2016)
- Studies such as Parsons et al., (2006) found that dynamic stretching before a vertical jump test was able to increase vertical jump distance, when compared with either static stretching, or no stretching at all.
- Injury prevention- dynamic stretching will prepare your muscles for performance so they aren’t stunned by any high-intensity activity that you are about to do!
- Static stretching releases relaxin, which leads to relaxed muscles. This will decrease muscular endurance and muscular tension
- If you do feel like you need to statically stretch, however, especially if you are recovering from an injury (for example), than try to keep it under 90 seconds, and not reaching your end point (point of pain or discomfort). A meta analysis by Behm & Chaouachi (2011) has found that there had been no research to show that you will have decreased performance if you keep it under 90 seconds not to your endpoint
- For best practice before performing, do sub maximal aerobic activity followed by short bouts of dynamic stretches not to end range.
- Examples of dynamic stretches: butt kicks, high knees, PVC pipe or broomstick movements, arm circles, squat jumps, lunges, twists, side bends and leg swings.
- If you want videos of dynamic stretches just let me know and I’ll post some! I gave an example of my favourite dynamic stretch that combats almost all body parts and movements on my Instagram: kmsfitness_
- Go kick butt!
Stay fit xx
Behm, D. G., & Chaouachi, A. (2011). A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. European journal of applied physiology, 111(11), 2633-2651.
Deguzman, L. (2016). The immediate effects of self-administered proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, myofascial release, and dynamic stretching on range of motion (Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Northridge).
Herda, T. J., Cramer, J. T., Ryan, E. D., McHugh, M. P., & Stout, J. R. (2008). Acute effects of static versus dynamic stretching on isometric peak torque, electromyography, and mechanomyography of the biceps femoris muscle. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(3), 809-817.
Parsons, L., Maxwell, N., Elniff, C., Jacka, M., & Heerschee, N. (2006). Static vs. dynamic stretching on vertical jump and standing long jump.