Dynamic stretching is a type of stretch that uses the momentum of a movement to complete its extension of the muscle groups. Dynamic stretches are also called dynamic warm ups. If you want to perform at your best, you should first properly warm up. These stretches maximize your performance and decrease risk of injuries. A good dynamic warm up routine is multi-directional, challenges mobility, stability and coordination, and elevates your body temperature before a competition or practice. In the beginning, it is highly suggested that these routines are done under the supervision of an instructor. Once you have received some practice then you can do it yourself.
A dynamic stretch takes a specific movement and makes it a stretching activity either by deliberate extension of the limb and corresponding muscle groups or through other precise ranges of motion. Anything beyond this range of motion becomes ballistic stretching. It is a type of stretching while moving.
The following are the common examples of dynamic stretching;
- Arm circles: Before starting any exercise, circle each arm backwards several times and then forwards. Our shoulders have the highest range of motion of any joint in our body so it’s important to properly warm it up.
- Knee to chest: Bring your knee to your chest and meanwhile raise the opposite foot off the ground like a calf raise. This helps you bring your knee those extra few inches higher to accentuate the stretch.
- Straight kicks: These are straight forward. Stand upright and kick your legs up. This is a good stretch for hamstring muscles which also brings the core stability into play.
- Lunges : This movement helps loosen up the psoas muscle and hips It also engages the quads, hamstrings, glutes and even the calves.
- Carioca: Moving laterally to your left, cross your right foot in front of your left foot, then step with your left foot, then you’re your right foot behind the left and repeat. This stretch is good for hip rotation.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
There are many benefits of dynamic stretching. Some of these benefits include:
- Prepares the body for physical exertion and sports performance. The chances of injury decrease and performance typically increases.
- Increases range of movement.
- Increases blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion.
- Increases stretching ability of person who regularly practices dynamic stretching.
- Prepares the body for high intensity movements by elevating your core and muscle temperature.
- Gives resistance to motion in other areas like knees and lower back.
- Stimulates speed-specific flexibility response as well as your stretch reflex. These are how your body stores and releases energy for explosive, powerful movements like jumping, and sprinting.
- Improves kinesthetic awareness. Kinesthetic awareness is the understanding of where your body is in space and time. For example, if you try to touch the tips of your fingers together on both hands, this would be kinesthetic awareness.
Learn more about other types of stretching, such as static stretching!
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