As athletes and active people, we all know the importance of a good warm-up and stretch before engaging in physical activity. But what is the best kind of stretching routine? We’re mostly familiar with static stretching; holding a position for 20-30 seconds while applying light force (without bouncing) to lengthen muscle and connective tissue. However, this type of stretch can actually hinder performance and hasn’t been shown to do much as far as injury prevention. Static stretches are best done at the completion of activity to help lengthen muscles and increase flexibility.
Dynamic stretching proves to be more beneficial when done before your game or workout in combination with a warm-up. These are basically slow-controlled movements; such as arm circles, side lunge stretch or straight-leg kicks, and will help preserve power, improve range of motion and reduce the chance for injury. Dynamic stretches also help raise the muscle’s core temperature and prepare them in a sport-specific way. A program can be tailored to include movements similar to what you will do during your sport or workout. When done on a regular basis proper dynamic stretching can also improve overall flexibility, speed, endurance, power and strength. Please click the photo below for a video showing some dynamic stretches to get you started.