Why You Need Dynamic Stretching
The question of the best way to stretch is clouded by so many misconceptions and conflicting studies. I am here to tell you the best way to stretch and why you need to implement it into your routine to stay injury free, increase flexibility, and improve your overall running efficiency.
There are many ways to stretch, and ultimately you must find what works best for your body BUT through a TON of my own experience, research and working with world class running coaches, strength trainers, and physical therapists – I concur that the very BEST way is through Dynamic Stretching.
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic Stretching is defined as a stretch exercise in which momentum + active muscular effort are used to stretch + the end position is not held.
Not Stretching Can Slow You Down //
I’m the first to admit it’s tempting to skip over the warm up and stretch in order to maximize your workout time (it’s hard enough making time for that, right?). However, it’s time to re-frame your mind on this one; I’ve learned the hard way, it’s better to shorten your workout by those 5-10 minutes to get in a proper stretch than to squeeze in those last few reps or that extra mile (your body will thank you).
If that doesn’t convince you, here’s a fact that might:
Not stretching properly can worsen your running performance and ability before a race or workout, and cause you to be slower. That’s why growing numbers of elites have eliminated static stretching before their most important runs and replaced it with a series of dynamic stretching exercises!!
When we think of stretching, we tend to think of static stretching, correct? AKA, holding one stretch for 10-30 seconds….New research shows this causes a breakdown of the excitability of the muscle tissue. The immediate effects from static stretching actually include decreased muscle function.
Ralph Reiff, a licensed athletic trainer and director of sports performance for St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis, says that,
Try Our Great Dynamic Stretch Routine Below
You should never jump into stretching cold, instead, try as little as 3-6 minutes of dynamic exercises such as bounding, jogging, or jumping to get your body nice and warm, then you can go through your dynamic stretch routine. The whole process will only take about 10 minutes, and the difference in performance, and injury prevention is unmatched.
This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate static stretching for good, but it will be more beneficial to keep it as a post workout ritual when your body is fully warm and ready to reap the benefits of static stretching.
Bottom Line // Dynamic stretching recruits more of the body than static stretching and has a much higher return on investment.
+ Exercise Mat/Stretch Rope
WORKOUT STRUCTURE //
This dynamic stretching routine will warm up your muscles, lubricate your joints, increase your flexibility, and get you in the best shape to start your run or workout. Your body will be warm and at the most optimal state to workout effectively and decrease your chance of injury.
Duration 10 min | Type warm-up, mobility, stretching
Wrap the stretch rope around your foot and secure tightly. Lay flat on your back on your exercise mat and bend your knee towards your chest then use the rope to help straighten it as you pull towards your face. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then release back to the ground and repeat 4-6 times.
Using the rope, pull your leg towards your face keeping it completely straight. Hold at the top for 2-3 seconds, then release straight down and repeat 4-6 times.
Laying flat, pull your leg towards your face until about 90 degrees, then pull it across your body, hold for 2-3 seconds and release back. Make sure to keep it straight through the entire movement.
With the rope fastened around your foot, wrap it under your calf and through your legs so it ends inside your legs. This will allow you to pull your leg inwards and across your body. Now use the to pull your leg to the other side of your body and release it back again.
Take the rope and wrap it the opposite way around your calve so it ends on the outside of your leg. From flat, pull your leg outwards to about 90 degrees.
** Complete all movements on one leg, then repeat on opposite leg. Remove stretch rope when completed. **
Laying on the side of your body with legs bent keeping them near your chest, prop yourself up using your arm. Grab your top leg with the opposite arm and pull back and bring forward again. Repeat 4-6 times.
*Switch sides and repeat movement on the opposite leg*
Sitting upright with legs straddled outwards, bending knees so your feet are on the floor. Reach your hands and place them on the tops of your feet and hold them there. Curl your head towards your chest as your lean forward, then straighten your neck and back as your stretch tall to the sky. Repeat 4-6 times.