What exactly is dynamic stretching? Simply put it is a great way to make sure your body is ready for a workout. Dynamic stretching is using gentle motions to slowly increase the natural range of motion of a particular movement. It is becoming increasingly popular as a way to warm up because people have been realize that static stretching (holding a long stretch) does not do much to help prevent injuries before a workout or sports activity.
Instead with dynamic stretching you move the body as you would for an exercise or motion and slowly increase what you are doing without using muscle explosiveness. An example could be a baseball player standing close to a batting position and gently swinging back and forth. The motions start gently on a very minor range of motion and at each swing slowly increase as the muscles, joints, and tendons slowly warm up.
Static stretching is still very beneficial but more as a post-workout activity to reduce soreness and work with tightness and flexibility while the muscles are still warm.
The Runner’s Dynamic Stretching Routine
This routine can be done in about 10 minutes and is a great warm-up for a wide variety of workout programs. Movements are gentle and slow without bouncing or static holds. Do each stretch for about 45 seconds and run through the entire cycle twice. The second time through the circuit you should aim for a greater range of motion as the body will be warmed up.
Calves – Start in a push-up position but raise your hips up higher. Bend your knees slightly as your raise up your heels then slowly lower back down while straightening the leg back out. Try and push your heels down to the ground while raising your toes as you go down to increase the stretch.
Side Lunges – Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back flat and eyes forward as you step out to the left with toes straight ahead. Squat down into a side lunge by sitting down and back (the knee does not travel past the toes). Hold that low position for a two count and then straighten up. Do the next rep to the other side.
Glute Stretch – Stand with legs slightly bent. Bend your left knee and bring your ankle up over your right knee and hold it with your right hand. Sit into a semi squat using one leg while pushing on your left knee and pulling on your left ankle. Hold that low position for a two count and then straighten up. Do the next rep to the other side.
High Knees – Step forward with your knee high and grab your shin with both hands. Pull your knee to your chest while you stand straight and tall on one leg, pushing up onto the toe of your supporting leg. Hold that position for a two count and then release the leg. Do the next rep to the other side.
The Bird – Reach your arms straight out to the side. Fix your eyes on a point on the wall at waist height. Bend at the waist to lean forward while raising your left leg behind you, supporting your weight on your right leg. Try to lean forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. Hold that position with the toe pointed behind you for two seconds and then return. Do the next rep with the opposite leg.
Stand Tall – Stand with hands at your side. Slowly inhale as you raise your arms overhead. Reach your body as high as you can to try and touch the ceiling while stretching up on your toes. Hold for two seconds at the peak and then lower back down.