EVERYONE knows you should stretch before you exercise – but are you doing it right?
According to a top personal trainer, this is not the case for most people.
Many fitness enthusiasts choose to do multiple static stretches rather than dynamic ones.
According to Jessica Chellsen, this means they haven’t increased their heart rate or warmed up their muscles to prepare for physical activity, putting them at risk of injury.
The fitness trainer says it’s far better to do a pre-workout dynamic warm-up, which includes jumping jacks, inchworms, and hip openers, and a static warm-up, followed by a cool-down and relaxation, with toe touches and side bends.
Jessica told women health Your customers will see huge improvements by following their advice.
She said the biggest benefits of dynamic stretching are:
- Increases freedom of movement
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Prepares your brain for movement
- Promotes blood circulation
- Optimizes joint health
- Improves overall performance
The 10 dynamic stretches to do as part of your warm-up are as follows, according to Jessica, with help from Physical Therapy Physician Kendall Green and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Joseph Bryan Lipana.
1. Jumping Jacks
Most people know what jumping jacks – or star jumps – are.
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But if it’s been a while, the movement is done by standing with your arms and legs outstretched, then jumping your feet out and raising your arms.
This is then repeated again and again. The faster you walk, the faster your heart rate increases.
Lipana said it’s a great way to prepare the entire body for a workout, as it targets the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and glutes.
2. Customs worm
“To warm up your core, shoulders and chest, try an inchworm,” Jessica said.
Stand up and slowly roll down until you touch the floor.
Keeping your legs as straight as possible, stretch your hands out so you’re in a plank position, and then slowly rotate them back up. Repeat.
3. Side lunge with reach
Bend forward with your legs apart and touch each foot with your other hand while your other arm is stretched in the air.
Keep switching sides to open up your inner thighs and groin, and work your back and obliques, Green says.
4. High knees
One of Jessica’s favorite high knee dynamic stretches.
You simply run in place and lift your knees to touch your hands at hip level.
She said it increases body temperature and heart rate, and also warms up the core, quads, and hip flexors.
5. Stool descents
Sit on the edge of a bench, chair, or step and support your weight with your hands.
Position your feet away from the bench and keep your legs straight.
Lower yourself until your heels touch the floor, until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and then push yourself back up.
Green said, “The chair inclines open the front line of the body and specifically target the pecs, biceps and posterior deltoids, further promoting lengthening of the front of the body to avoid a slouched posture with rounded shoulders.”
6. Down-Facing Dog with Toe Tapping
Green said another great way to prepare for training is to try toe tapping with downward-facing dog.
In a plank position, raise yourself into an inverted V pose, then reach down and touch each toe with your other hand.
This stretches the muscles at the back of the legs, she said.
7. Squat with heel raise
Instead of just squatting up and down, try lifting your heel.
This puts a load on your calves, which Green says is especially good before a run.
8th. Knee powered backward lunge
Another move to try before a run is the knee-powered reverse lunge, Green said.
Stand up straight, feet together, and take a big step back with your right foot.
Bend your knee and lower your hips so both legs form a 90 degree angle.
Push yourself back up and take a small hop while lifting your right knee to chest level. Repeat on the other side.
9. TYW Weapons
This stretch opens muscles in the front of the body, including the pecs and biceps, while also activating the shoulder blades and spine, Green said.
With your feet slightly apart, bend at your knees, bend forward and move your arms into a “T” shape, then a “Y” shape, then a “W” shape. Repeat.
10. Hip opener
Jessica said hip openers help prepare the body for single leg movements and help prevent injury.
Simply stand up, lift your right leg with your knee bent, and circle it inward, upward, and all around. Repeat on the other side.
Lipana said, “It’s especially important to perform dynamic stretches before activities or sports with a higher risk of injury (think CrossFit, heavy lifting, or sprinting).”
Jessica, Founder of Vibrant Coast Physical Therapy & Wellness in Fullerton, California added, “With weightlifting, your goal is to increase your strength and power through your functional range of motion, and dynamic stretching allows you to prepare for that, too.” Warm up your body to reduce the risk of injury.
Dynamic vs. static stretching
Dynamic stretching refers to any stretch performed with movement.
This can be swinging, hopping, or increasing the range of motion.
This is best done before physical activity such as running, circuit classes, and tennis.
Examples include jumping jacks, inchworms, and hip openers.
Static Stretching occurs without movement and involves holding positions still for specified periods of time.
It is performed to reduce muscle stiffness and is therefore usually performed after a workout.
It works best when the muscles are relaxed.
Examples include toe touches, knee-to-chest bends, and side bends.