Do you static stretch before your trainings? Are you still trying to touch your toes from a standing position before you hit the gym? Are you standing upright while bringing your heel to your butt prior to starting your aerobic class? Well like they say in the Sopranos: “Forget about it!” Doing these static stretches before your workout can cause joint instability and decrease muscle response to the very exercise you thought you were getting prepared to do. It has become so evident that the American School of Sports Medicine has advised not to do static stretching before your workouts. So static stretching has gone the way of the Dodo: extinct, no longer to be found in the pre warm up to exercise.
So what do you do to get prepared for the next session of exercise? It’s called : “Dynamic stretching.” Say what? I know, sounds a little intimidating, but when really thinking about it, it makes sense. Let me define it:
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static-passive stretching ability. Phew.. a mouthful for sure. Let’s try imagining a movement that would prepare you to exercise.
The illustration below is depicting dynamically activating hamstring and quads in preparation for running or any other athletic activity that will actively employ these muscle groups.
Another good example would be walking lunges activates the butt, the quads, hamstrings, the Psoas, and the calves. This movement also increases the heart rate enhancing blood flow to tissues, while stretching and contracting muscles preparing them for ballistic movements.
So next time, prior to your workout, begin with dynamic stretching and get ready for an extra bounce in your workout!