Have you ever been told you need to stretch more by your doctor, family, or a professional? Were you aware there are different types of stretching and they should be used at certain points pre- and post-workouts to help with flexibility, performance and injury prevention?
Well, there are…
Dynamic stretching is stretching through controlled movement that mimics function. Ideally, you want to get blood flow and pliability to your muscles prior to workouts. Research has found dynamic stretching before a workout can help you lift more weight and increase overall athletic performance and power compared to no stretching or static stretching.
- Activating muscles that will be used during your workout
- Improves Range of Motion
- Improves Body Awareness
- Enhances muscular performance and power
Now it sounds like I gave “regular” stretching a bad rap, in which you put a muscle on tension to try to lengthen the tissue. Quite the opposite. The reason you don’t want to do static stretching prior to a workout is that your muscles are, so to speak, cold. Not having adequate blood flow, in fact, stiffens the tissue. If you attempt to stretch and hold tight tissue without warm-up, you increase the risk of tears and ultimately decrease function, efficiency, and power. However, after your warm-up and workout is when static stretching along with foam rolling (see the previous blog on foam rolling) would be most appropriate because the muscle has been worked and is more pliable and receptive to lengthening. Hence post-workout static stretching brings the muscle back to an optimal resting length to be able to fire efficiently in the next workout.
Both types of stretches are important and should not be neglected regardless of the workout or athletic event. But remember dynamic pre-workout and static post-workout.
Check my YouTube video on some general helpful dynamic stretches for the hip and spine.