Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching
In order to avoid injury and perform optimally, it is imperative that you keep your muscles loose and warm prior to your workouts. To avoid excessive soreness, stretching after a workout is key. So, what is the best way to stretch prior to your workout and after a workout? Here’s what you need to know about all things stretching.
What’s the difference between dynamic stretching and static stretching?
The main difference between static and dynamic stretching is that static stretches are held, while dynamic stretching involves movement. Static stretching is what most of us think about when we stretch. You hold a position for a few seconds, then move on. Dynamic stretches utilize movement to increase blood flow and improve flexibility, all at the same time.
When is the best time to use dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching is best used pre workout. This type of warm-up is designed to increase range of motion and improve movement through the joints. In addition, dynamic stretching increases your heart rate and improves blood flow, balance and stability, all while waking up the central nervous system. Doing these types of stretches prior to your workout will improve your force and power during your workout, which makes dynamic stretching incredibly powerful.
Common dynamic stretches include: butt-kicks, skips, lunges with a rotation, step hops, arm swings and kicks.
When is the best time to use static stretching?
Static stretching is best done post-workout. Like dynamic stretching it improves flexibility. However, static stretching does not increase heart rate or core temperature. In fact, it will likely lower both of those. In addition, static stretching slows the central nervous system, which causes your muscles to relax and lengthen. This type of stretching has actually been shown to reduce explosiveness and power, so it’s best used to cool down the body post workout.
When utilizing static stretches you are mostly relaxed while stretching. Be sure to hold each stretch for a maximum of 30 seconds to access the full benefit of each stretch. You can also use foam rolling post workout in place of static stretching to release fascia and improve soreness the next day.
Both dynamic and static stretching are critical to maintaining flexibility and preventing injury. They also play a role in your body’s ability to complete a workout and how sore you will be after a workout. So, don’t skip out on the stretching. Make sure you include both static and dynamic stretching into each workout.
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