What Is Dynamic Stretching?
There are many fitness-minded individuals who take the time to stretch as much as possible. Some people might commit to stretching to improve their blood flow throughout the day, while others might focus on stretching to warm up before an intense workout. Regardless, there are many benefits to stretching. However, many of those who stretch aren’t aware of the concept of dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching is meant to get the body moving, but the idea here is that dynamic stretching is more of an active form of stretching. Static stretching focuses on extending muscles for a specific period of time, while dynamic stretching involves more active stretching. Specifically, dynamic stretching doesn’t require extending or stretching your muscles for a specific period of time. Let’s delve into dynamic stretching and what it entails.
When Should I Do Dynamic Stretching?
Many people take the opportunity to stretch for a variety of reasons. Let’s say that you sit at a desk for hours a day while you work. There’s a good chance that you might take the opportunity to stand up and stretch after a couple of hours to make sure that your blood is flowing. Dynamic stretching is a bit more functional, and it should be done before any exercise routine.
That’s right: you can turn to dynamic stretching before sports or athletic events of any kind. If you are a high school student or a college student that runs or swims competitively, you might want to consider dynamic stretching before these events. Also, athletes at every level should consider dynamic stretching before weightlifting, prior to any kind of sport, and as a warm-up to cardiovascular exercise.
Dynamic stretching can also be a great way to ready your body for other physical activities, such as yoga, ballet, or gymnastics. If you are involved in any sort of activities or hobbies that require flexibility, dynamic stretching can help.
Dynamic Stretching Examples
You might understand static stretching but still be confused about how dynamic stretching works. There is a variety of stretching exercises for beginners that can work before you start exercising or performing. Here are some of them.
First, you may want to consider hip circles as a dynamic stretching exercise. Why should you do hip circles? Well, they can be excellent when it comes to activating your hips and glutes. Hip circles require that the individual stand up on one leg. You can use a fixed object to hold on to for support. Then, you should gently swing your leg from closed to open, with the knee bent, in small circles on one side.
Once you perform 20 of these hip circles, switch to the other leg. Over time, as you become more flexible, you can increase the size of these circles in your later dynamic stretching exercises.
Dynamic stretching isn’t just for your lower body! Arm circles are smart to incorporate into your dynamic stretching routine, and it can help if you are trying to build muscle tone in your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. One of the best things about arm circles is that they can be done anywhere. Obviously, this dynamic stretching exercise is meant to activate your upper body.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, hold your arms out to the side at shoulder height. Circle your arms slowly, and start with 20 circles. You can try to make the arm circles larger as you gain experience with this dynamic stretching exercise. Then, reverse the direction and perform 20 more “arm circles” to round out this dynamic stretching routine.
Many runners turn to dynamic stretching exercises before a workout, and it’s a great way to get the blood flowing and improve balance. Dynamic stretching can help both long-distance and short-distance runners. A leg pendulum is one of the most helpful dynamic stretching exercises for runners. This dynamic stretching exercise is meant to activate your lower body.
You should first balance on one leg and then swing the other leg back and forth, keeping it straight (hence the “pendulum”). Make sure to swing your leg back and forth at least 5-10 times. Bring that leg down and swing the other leg 5-10 times. If you are interested in more dynamic stretching after this, consider facing the wall and swinging your legs from side-to-side
In this dynamic stretching exercise, you must start standing up with your arms extended out at shoulder-height. Walk forward and swing both of your arms to the right. Your left arm should reach in front of your chest while your right arm should be reaching out to the side at this point. Your torso should be facing straight at all times. This dynamic stretching exercise is meant to activate the upper body.
Only turn your shoulder joints in this dynamic stretching exercise. Keep walking, and then reverse the direction of the arm swings once you repeat the exercise 5 times. Switch the arms every 5 times that you complete this dynamic stretching exercise. This dynamic stretching exercise helps not only with balance but with blood flow and energy conservation, as well.
It should be noted that you might not want to think about dynamic stretching if you are injured in any way. In this situation, it is best to stick to static stretching. If you are injured, make sure that your doctor or physical therapist recommends dynamic stretching exercises.
If you are over 65, you also might consider static stretches over dynamic stretching. It should be noted that dynamic stretching is commonly done as “warm-up” stretching rather than a “cool down” stretch after an intense workout or exercise session. Dynamic stretching does not appear to reduce the risk of injury. When compared to static stretching, dynamic stretching has been shown to improve performance and speed in athletes and individuals. Also, dynamic stretching can improve muscle and joint elasticity.
Dynamic stretching is focused on increasing blood flow while also loosening up muscle fibers. One of the reasons that so many athletes and fitness-minded individuals turn to dynamic stretching is because it is known to increase blood flow much better than static stretching.