Stretching has been around since the dawn of mankind. Have you ever noticed how we instinctively stretch, like when we yawn?
So, you have probably heard about dynamic and static stretching during your fitness journey.
Both pre (dynamic) stretching and post (static) stretching induce a blood flow to the muscles; the order in which they are done sets the stage for the most benefit!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Over the years I have used the “bookend” approach to stretching. At the beginning, “dynamic stretching” is most beneficial and at the end “static stretching” is a great finisher.
Dynamic stretching allows for more muscles to be involved at the onset thus allowing for increased flexibility, this allows for a shorter period of time where the muscle is lengthened, which leads to a more effective release of the muscle and therefore gain more range of motion with each repetition.
Therefore, preparing for your dynamic workout would warrant a more dynamic warm-up/stretch. That way your ligaments and muscles are ready for the load and movement pattern of the exercises.
Studies have shown that static stretching enhances the elongation of tendons and ligaments which can potentially produce a change in the stability of the muscles and bones.
So, it would be a great finisher to your workout, by producing a lengthening of the muscles fibers, helping with flushing (the body’s process of circulating/removing the byproducts of the breakdown of the muscle fibers), and allows a person to bring down their heart rate in a safe and deliberate way for their cool down!
You can try out the following and note the difference between the dynamic and static approach…
Sample dynamic stretches:
“Knee to Chest” while walking (alternating legs) travel about fifteen yards, then turn around and repeat as necessary. This is considered to be of a low intensity.
“Side Shuffle”, get into and stay in a low stance and maintain the same level while shuffling leading with either the left or right leg, then return to the starting point with the opposite leg leading, travel about fifteen yards in a given direction. This is considered to be of a medium intensity.
“Power Skips”, start from a neutral stance position, then push off with either foot to get started, execute an explosive knee drive with the foot that you are not pushing off on, while moving forward swing your arms and cross them in front of your body.
Then push off on the other foot skip and uncross the arms and swing them out to the side and back behind you. Repeat the skip movement pattern for about fifteen yards, and then return to the starting point. This is considered to be of a high intensity.
Sample static stretches:
Back of the legs and buttocks (Hamstring/Gluteus Maximus) stretch – While standing and with your legs straight and shoulder width apart, bend the knees slightly and bend forward at the waist and slide you hands down the front part of your legs.
Make sure that you keep an arch in your lower back. Stop at the point where your leg muscles stop you from descending further. Hold this position for the designated time 30 seconds.
Upper back stretch (Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Posterior Deltoid) – Grasp both hands around a post, bend forward at the waist, then bend the knees. Let the body weight and gravity bull you backwards and down. Hold this position for the designated time 30 seconds.
Front of the arms (Biceps) stretch – While standing, with your feet shoulder’s width apart, with palms facing forward pull your arms back, then rotate your palms so that they are facing backwards, then return them to a forward facing position. Repeat this rotation for the designated time 30 seconds.
In conclusion, stretching has a place in your regular workout plan, it will help you focus and minimize injuries, just remember to execute your ”pre” dynamic and “post” static workout stretch routine!