Stretching is a buzzword that is thrown around everywhere. But do you really know what or when you should be doing them or even why?
Your stretching routine can, and should be, tailored to your workouts so you can get the results you want faster. In this article, we will delve into what you need to know about stretching for your fitness or recovery.
What is the difference between dynamic and static stretches?
Dynamic Stretching Explained:
Just like the word itself, dynamic stretching involves a wide range of movements. Dynamic stretching is the act of using both your joints and muscles in a broad range of motion.
These types of stretches are essential in warming up your body for athletic or fitness training sessions.
Try not to hold a dynamic stretch for more than 60 seconds as this could be too harsh on a cold muscle. Aim for 30 seconds.
Static Stretching Explained:
These stretches were also aptly named. Static stretching involves stretching the muscles out completely without involving a lot of motion.
With static exercises, you will stretch out your muscles and hold them in that position for an extended amount of time (around 45 seconds).
Static stretching is the most beneficial type of stretching for recovery. It increases motion recovery, flexibility, and allows the body to continue functioning after training.
Should you stretch before working out, after working out, or both?
Stretching before and after workouts or athletic events is essential. If you don’t stretch before a workout, your risk of injury is significantly increased.
However, it can be confusing to know when and which type of stretch you should be using.
The simplest way to remember which is which, is by remembering the words themselves.
Dynamic stretches (like the name implies) are full of energy and will make you ready to take on the world and workout like a fitness guru! While static stretches are a little slower and more easy-going, just like you should be after a workout.
Always remember dynamic first and static last!
Why is the order of stretches important?
The order in which you workout is key for a number of reasons. Dynamic stretching before a workout will help activate your muscles and prepare them for an intense workout. Through this, you can lower your risk of sports-related injury while performing at your best during and after a workout.
You can think of dynamic stretching as coffee for the body.
Some people require a good breakfast or a cup of coffee before they can start the day off. Your muscles are the same. They also need a wake-up and a warm-up before they can fire on all pistons.
Dynamic stretching prepares your body for intense movement and exercise.
4 Basic Warmup Dynamic Stretches to Try:
When going through a dynamic stretching routine, consider using a set of resistance bands like the ones at Victorem to get an extra deep stretch in. This lowers your risk of injury if you plan to do a high-intensity workout such as calisthenics, cardio, or simply a hardcore gym session.
Here are a few examples of dynamic stretches you can include in your pre-workout warmups.
#1 Pull apart stretches
- Standing with your resistance band one end in each hand.
- Raise your arms to the front at shoulder height and pull them apart until your furthest point.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Slowly release back to the front.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- Place your resistance band underneath your foot’s arch, and with your resistance band in each hand, raise them upwards facing out. The resistance band should be behind your shoulders.
- Place your leg behind; make sure it is aligned with your hips.
- With your weight evenly distributed, drive your hips down, lower into a lunge, and push back up.
- Keep your arms firmly placed at 90 degrees.
- Repeat and alternate legs.
#3 Sun Salutation
This handy yoga sequence is not just for a relaxed yoga session.
- Standing up straight, with feet hip-width apart, bend forward and touch your toes.
- Stretching out, place your hands on the ground in a down-dog pose.
- From this point, walk your feet forwards as much as possible.
- Hold for 5 seconds, and walk your hands forward; once they are here, slowly lower your body into an arched upward dog pose, inverting the pose.
- Repeat this process 5 times for a proper warm-up.
#4 Lateral Band Walk
Grab your booty bands and get walking.
- Place a booty band around the middle part of your thighs
- Bend the knees slightly and walk sideways to the left for 10 steps, and then to the right for 10 steps.
- Lower the band to around your ankles, and repeat the sidestepping.
- Repeat from the beginning.
This will ensure your leg muscles are activated and ready for your workout!
How to do static cooldown stretches:
With any sports activity or exercise, you shouldn’t go from a lot of movement or an intense workout straight into your daily life. Your body needs to cool down properly for it to kick start the recovery process.
Static stretching can help lessen the amount of muscle stiffness and allow you to go about the rest of your day without residual pain.
Static stretches should not be as intense as dynamic stretches otherwise, you run the risk of overextending yourself and causing muscle damage or injury.
Skinny Yoked Summary
Both dynamic and static stretching have their places and benefits. Make sure you understand the why behind each movement you are making in your warmups and cooldowns and you will be well on your way to hitting your peak performance!