We all do it, stretching before exercising, running on the treadmill or that weekend warrior basketball game but the real question is.. are we doing it right? There are two main types of stretching: Static and Dynamic. The question is which one is better and for what activities. Well, that answer is simple but slightly complex. Static stretching is the common stretching that most people think of when they stretching. It is the sitting hamstring stretch or the standing quad stretch we all used to do when in high school. Dynamic stretching are active stretches that help by warming up muscles with movement that applies a stretch with it. Muscles need to be warmed up before an activity so that they are limber and to decrease the occurrence of any injury. Dynamic stretching is the way to go before any activity while static stretching can help to decrease soreness after an activity or an injury that physically shortens the muscles.
Below are 3 different dynamic stretches/exercises that warm up muscles before activity and help with muscle activation.
1: Bear Crawl
Start on your hands and feet, keeping your arms and legs straight. Push your hips up into the air. Walk forward, keeping your back and spine in neutral. Right arm should move with the left leg. Keep your core engaged. Walk forward for 10 steps then repeat.
2: Dynamic Lunge
Start with feet place hips with apart. Take one large step forward into a deep runner’s stretch with both hands on the floor. Place your forearm on the floor between your forward leg and opposite hand and hold. Then return your hand to the outside of your foot, straighten both legs, and hold. Slowly stand up onto your forward leg and bring your other foot forward to repeat the exercise on the other side.
Straighten your legs, continuing to hold your feet. Walk your hands forward into a plank position, lift one foot of the floor, perform a push up, then switch feet and repeat. Then walk your feet in/up toward your hands, keeping your legs straight. Repeat.
The doctors at Fletcher Chiropractic has years of experience in exercise training and injury prevention for athletes so give them a call if you have any questions or need some help with improving your athletic performance.