I have come to notice that I would almost always do a dynamic stretching warm up prior to races without even realizing it, but almost never prior to a training workout. Your warm-up will have a direct affect on your ability to perform at maximum ability. A dynamic warm-up plays a major role in maximizing your performance levels and should be a key part of your pre-workout routine.
What is dynamic stretching? Dynamic stretching are continuous movements of muscles that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end or extended position.
Key benefits of dynamic stretching versus static stretching:
1. The purpose of warming up is to prepare your muscles for you exercise routine. Dynamic stretching will increase your muscles core temperature and prepare them for the activity that lies ahead. In contrary if you do static stretching, the muscle core temperature drops. Although your muscles may be stretched and feel loose, they will actually be less elastic and not as powerful.
2: Dynamic stretching will prepare your muscles in a sport specific way. While static stretching warm up may loosen up the muscles, it has no relevance to what you are actually about to perform. Whether you are preparing swim, bike or run. Your body needs to be prepared for the intensity of whatever workout is ahead. Warming up with dynamic stretching will prepare your body for the different types of movement that your body is about to endure.
3: Dynamic stretching gets you mentally and physically prepared for the exercise ahead. A static stretching warm up is more relaxing and is usually best done after your exercise routine.
4: Dynamic stretching helps to improve the range of motion around your joints. This will help reduce the chances of injury. Over time this will improve your performance and maximize your movements due to the increase in flexibility of your joints. If you combine dynamic stretching and static stretching at the end of your exercise routine will greatly reduce injury and increase flexibility.
It is clear that dynamic stretching as part of your pre-workout routine will greatly enhance your workout and should become part of your workout routine.
Several examples of exercises to do as part of your dynamic workout prior to a run should include some variation of:
- Knee to Chest
- Lunge with a twist
- Hip Rotation
- Straight leg kick
- Arm Circles
- Butt Kicks
- High Knees
- Speed drills or cadence drill
There are little hundreds if not thousands of dynamic stretching exercises you can do to prepare yourself for your workout. Don’t find yourself stuck on doing the same routine day in and day out. Create a variation to your dynamic stretching warm-up that targets the exercise that is about to be performed.