Dynamic stretching and static stretching both have a place in a training program, but what are their differences and when should you do them? DYNAMIC STRETCHING Dynamic stretching is when you stretch a muscle into its end range and return to a neutral position to perform repetitions of the exercise. Dynamic stretching is not to be confused with quick motions, such as swinging your leg forward and backward before squats, or flapping your arms back and forth like Michael Phelps in the Olympics before you do bench. Dynamic stretches are controlled with an effort to increase range of motion with each rep performed. When dynamic stretching is used Dynamic stretching is primarily programmed as part of the warm-up to let the body know, "hey, we're going to workout now!". Depending on the exercise, 1-2 sets of 6-12 reps per side could be programmed. A few examples of dynamic stretching are: cat cow, dynamic hip flexor stretch, or side lying t-spine openers. Benefits of dynamic stretching - Warms up muscles before exercise - Encourages injury prevention - Increases range of motion STATIC STRETCHING Static stretching is when you stretch a muscle and hold it in the stretched position for a duration of time. It is common to want to perform this type of stretching before a workout, although, I don't necessarily recommend that. Dynamic stretching is more beneficial than static stretching pre-workout, as the muscles have yet to get moving. There are a few cases when static stretching before a workout may be beneficial for some people if it's been identified by a Physical Therapist, but in general, dynamic stretching will be more helpful. When static stretching is used Static stretches are often used post-workout in a cool down. At this point of your workout, your muscles are warm, stretched, and strengthened. This is a great time to hold a stretch in a specific position for a duration of time. Generally speaking, hold each position for 20-30 seconds each. A few examples of static stretches are: standing quad stretch, figure four stretch, or hamstring stretch. Benefits of static stretching - Increases range of motion over time - Relaxation - Cues the body that the workout has concluded As you can see, both dynamic stretching and static stretching have a place in a training program. The ones you place in your program will be most beneficial if they are specific to your mobility needs and overall training goals. This is something we address right out the gate in my 1:1 coaching programs. To learn more about my online programming, click here.
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