Saturday, May 14, 2016

Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching

If you are among the many people who find yourself getting injured and /or pulling muscles during your workout routines, it could be due to lack of proper stretching. In fact it may be because in the last 10 years static stretching has simply gone out of style in favor of dynamic stretching. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds like touching your toes with your leg inclined on a stair.  Dynamic stretching is doing slow controlled movements through the full range of motion like shoulder circles and arm swings. Static stretching was abandoned because it was believed that it could potentially damage cold muscles and even reduce strength during a workout. However, a recent study showed that both static and dynamic stretching should be part of your regular warmup routine and that it can help reduce injuries and boost flexibility.  In fact, the most effective warmup is one that begins with dynamic stretching to warm up the muscles and ready the body for movement followed by static stretching which will then lengthen and stretch the muscles  and help improve range of motion. Also, any reduction in strength due to static stretching before strength training was negligible at only about 4.8%.  Not much of a trade off to protect yourself from injury. I have found personally that stretching your hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps can be of great value before you begin any cardio exercise. These are large muscle groups and are often quite stiff, especially if you are a person who exercises regularly. Always take the time beforehand because injuries will set you back even more time. As they say, "a stitch in time saves nine".