Dynamic stretching

In case you have not heard of it before I am going to introduce to you a very specific type of stretching called ‘Dynamic stretching’. Quite simply dynamic stretching is stretching with movement. This type of stretching has been around for several years however, is has taken a while to catch on. Typically when we think of stretching we think of static stretching which is stretching with no movement. Both dynamic and static stretching have their benefits however, it is important that we understand when exactly we should carry out dynamic stretches and when we should do static stretches.

Why stretch?

When we stretch we gradually lengthen the muscles, which provides us with a more effective range of motion and reduces our risk of injury. Longer muscles also allow us to move more efficiently and enable us to maintain a healthy posture. When we engage in exercise we increase the tension on the muscles, so in order to reduce injury risk and prepare ourselves for the session we need to warm up. This is where our dynamic stretching comes in.

Warming up

The aim of a good warm up is to raise the temperature of the working muscles, lengthen the muscles, lubricate the joints, rehearse movement patterns and get our heads in the game (psychological preparation). Dynamic stretching will tick all of those boxes.  When planning your dynamic stretches make sure you cover the joints and the muscles that you will training within the session. That being said it doesn’t hurt to warm any others up too. You may choose to write a dynamic stretch routine that covers the whole body. A short dynamic stretch routine carried out each day for the whole body will work wonders for your mobility and posture.

A simple dynamic stretch routine

The following is a very simple stretch routine for beginners new to a dynamic warm up. Try 10 reps of each stretch one after another then repeat for a total of three circuits.

1. Dynamic pectoral stretch

Muscles being stretched:

  • Pectorals (Chest)
  • Rhomboids (Back)
  • Mid Trapezius (Back)

Teaching points:

  • Stand tall with feet hip width apart
  • Horizontally extend the arms and open up the chest
  • Horizontally flex the arms back and round the upper back and shoulders

2. Squat to overhead arm swing

Muscles being stretched:

  • Quadriceps (Front of thigh)
  • Glutius maximus (Bum)
  • Lattisimus dorsi (Back)
  • Soleus (Calves)
  • Iliopsoas (Hip flexors)

Teaching points:

  • Squat down and swing the arms down and back
  • Return to the standing position with arms stretched overhead

3. Squat to overhead arm swing with rotation

Muscles being stretched:

  • Quadriceps (Front of thigh)
  • Glutius maximus (Bum)
  • Lattisimus dorsi (Back)
  • Obliques (Torso)
  • Soleus (Calves)
  • Iliopsoas (Hip flexors)

Teaching points:

  • Squat down and swing the arms down and back
  • Return to the standing position with arms stretched overhead while rotating the upper body to one side 

4. Posterior step with overhead reach

Muscles being stretched:

  • Rectus abdominus (Abs)
  • Lattisimus dorsi (Back)
  • Iliopsoas (Hip flexors)
  • Gastrocnemius (Calves)

Teaching points:

  • Stand tall with feet hip width apart
  • Take a small step back with arms stretched overhead and abs braced
  • Touch the floor with the lunging heel
  • Push back with the posterior foot and return to start position

5. Lunge with rotation

Muscles being stretched:

  • Quadriceps (Front of thigh)
  • Glutius maximus (Bum)
  • Obliques (Torso)
  • Iliopsoas (Hip flexors)

Teaching points:

  • Stand tall with feet hip width apart
  • Lunge forward while rotating the torso towards the lunging leg
  • Push back with the lead foot and return to start position

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