Endurance athletes have often been warned about the dangers of stretching before their workouts. This however is a bit of an oversimplification. Many forms of stretching have been shown to be beneficial before workouts to help improve range of motion, loosen up tight muscles, and increase body temperature, blood flow, and heart rate. This post will go over the differences between the two most common forms of stretching and give a stretching routine (complete with videos) that you can incorporate into your workouts to properly warm up and perform better then you ever have.
Static stretching is what we traditionally think of when it comes to stretching. In static stretching, the athletes gets in a pose and holds that position, elongating the muscles, for a given period of time. In that time period, there is not movement, which is why the position is static. Dynamic stretching on the other hand can be considered as stretching plus movement. By performing dynamic stretches in a slow and controlled manner, we get oxygen moving to the muscles we are stretching and increase range of motion. For the most effective dynamic stretching routine, you’ll want to stretch the muscles you will be using during your workout.
To perform a dynamic stretch correctly, gently extend or flex the muscle towards its maximum range of motion. It is important to note that this extension or flexion is not fast or forceful. Dynamic stretching is about bring the muscle gently to the point of resistance, then releasing and performing the stretch repeatedly. There is no magic number when doing dynamic stretches–this will depend on how tight the muscle is and how much of a warm up the individual needs. In general 10-20 reps on each muscle group should suffice.
Below are videos of dynamic stretches that would work well before a stretching training, running, or cycling.
1.) Knee Tuck Toe Raises
2.) Dynamic Quad Stretch
3.) Dynamic Lateral Lunge
4.) Dynamic Hipflexor Stretch
5.) Dynamic Hamstring Stretch
Including these stretches before your workout will warm up your muscles reducing the risk the injury and allow you to perform a your best during the workout. If you have any questions on how you can incorporate these and other stretches into your workout routine, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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