Stretching is an incredibly important part of any solid, sustainable workout routine! Getting in a good stretch is not only great for muscle recovery, it can also enhance any workout session by priming your body for movement.
The stretching that you’re probably most familiar with is static stretching - which is getting a deep stretch in one position and holding it for a period of time. However, static stretching is best saved for after your workout, as it can hinder your performance during a workout, and your muscles are most pliable when warm anyways, so you’ll get the best stretch at the end of your session.
Dynamic stretching on the other hand is a great practice to add to any pre-activity warmup. Dynamic stretching encompasses a combination of both lengthening the muscles, as well as controlling movement through a range of motion. In other words, while dynamic stretching, you’re continually moving through a stretch, rather than holding a position.
It turns out this type of movement is excellent for preparing your body for exercise. Who would have thought? Warming up for movement, with gentle movement!
When and How-to Dynamic Stretch?
As I mentioned, dynamic stretching is best added into your pre-activity warm up. However, it’s also a great practice to add at any time throughout the day to both loosen and wake up your body. Tight neck, shoulders, and back at your desk? Take a quick break for a dynamic stretch!
For best results, perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps of each movement, or selected movements that hit the muscles you’re aiming to target.
Example Dynamic Stretches
Child’s Pose to Back Extension
Adductor Stretch with T Spine Rotation
Wide Stance Squat with Overhead Reach
Lunge with Rotation
Selecting Dynamic Stretches for Your Workout
If you’re short on time, select a few dynamic stretches that prepare your body for the movement you plan to do. For example, if you’re preparing for an Upper Body day, Cat Cow as well as T spine rotations are a great way to warm up, you might also include movements like overhead reaches, arm and neck circles. If you’re going for a run, you’ll want to focus on opening up the back and lower body, perhaps a side lunge with T Spine rotation, Cat Cow, Low Lunges, and Ankle Circles. On a day where you have more time, opening up your warmup to include more movements will only improve how your body feels throughout your workout.