Dynamic stretching is all about taking your muscles and joints through a full range of active motions that will make them work at full flexibility. This helps to warm up your body before a workout or sporting activity.
The difference between dynamic and static stretching
Dynamic stretches and static stretches are different.
- Dynamic stretches are about getting your muscles and joints moving and not holding a stretch for an extended period of time. Dynamic stretches include activities such as lunges, arm swings, shoulder rotations, jumping jacks, hip circles and push-ups.
- Static stretches are those where we extend the muscles and hold them there for a specific period of time in order to elongate them. Examples of these are the butterfly stretch, triceps stretch and toe touches.
The importance of warming up before exercise
A proper dynamic warm-up is important. Warming up before exercise or any activity – such as running, weight lifting or soccer – improves your performance in addition to reducing your risk of injury. Your range of movement as well as blood and oxygen flow to your muscles, tendons and ligaments increases when doing a good dynamic warm-up. It can also help to activate your central nervous system. Dynamic stretches should be functional and similar to the movements of the activity you will be performing. A good dynamic warm-up should last up to 10 minutes.
Dynamic stretches for warming up
This movement will open up your hips and hamstrings. Hold on to a stable surface for balance support. Swing one leg back and forth a total of 10 times. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
This stretch targets the back of your body and helps to open up many muscles that get stiff from sitting for long periods of time. Start in a downward dog position with your hands and feet on the ground. Slowly walk your feet forward as much as possible while keeping your legs straight and hands on the floor. Now walk your hands out, until your body is extended in a push-up position. Lower towards the floor. Next arch your back so that your head and shoulders face the sky. Return into the downward dog position and repeat five times.
Fire Hydrant Circles
This stretches the hips and lower body. Get on your hands and knees and brace your core so nothing moves except for the working leg. Keep your working leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Take it out to the side then move it in a circular motion. Move your leg five times clockwise and then another five anti-clockwise. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Twisting Reverse Lunge
Your hip flexors and abdominal muscles will open up with this stretch. It will also challenge your balance.
In an upright stance take a big step back with your left foot. Lower down into a lunge, and then twist your body and extend your arms, over your right leg. Go back to your beginning position and then do it again on the opposite side. Do the exercise on each side ten times in turn.
Dynamic stretches should be used to warm up before exercising or sporting activities. Static stretches can be used to cool down after exercising.
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